Merkel sheds light on confidential talks with Tsipras

EU Active - 23 april, 2015 - 23:24

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday (23 April) everything must be done to prevent Greece running out of money before it reaches a cash-for-reform deal with its international creditors, amid heightened concern that Athens is nearing the brink.

Merkel, Europe's pre-eminent leader, was speaking after a meeting she called "constructive" with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Brussels. She said they had agreed to keep the contents of their discussion confidential.

Juncker suffers double blow on immigration at summit

EU Active - 23 april, 2015 - 23:20

EU leaders tonight (23 April) dealt Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker a double-blow on immigration at their meeting to discuss the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean.

Juncker tried to use the meeting of heads of state and government to push EU policy on legal immigration.

"My proposal for legal immigration was not supported," he told reporters at a press conference after the summit.

[Ticker] Norway pledges money and a boat to EU sea mission

EU Observer - 23 april, 2015 - 19:23
Norway on Thursday pledged €6.25 million and a boat for the EU's Mediterranean surveillance mission, Triton. EU leaders are discussing proposals to increase assets and resources for the mission. Triton currently has four fixed-wing aircraft, one helicopter, four open-shore and one coastal patrol vessels, and two patrol boats.

[Ticker] EU mulls tripling of Mediterranean surveillance funds

EU Observer - 23 april, 2015 - 19:09
EU leaders are discussing tripling the monthly budget of the EU's Mediterranean Sea surveillance mission, Triton. The operation has a €2.9mn budget. But a plan presented by the European Commission would increase it to around €9mn a month. The extra money would come from the European Union's budget reserve.

[Ticker] EU Parliament could block next EU budget over international aid

EU Observer - 23 april, 2015 - 18:21
EU Parliament president Martin Schulz asked the EU to increase funding for humanitarian and development aid or face the possible blocking of the 2016 budget. He said during the EU emergency summit that "some Parliament's group leaders" wanted "a fundamental increase" as a condition for agreement on the EU's budget.

[Analysis] From 'handouts' to 'hands on' - remodelling EU-Africa relations

EU Observer - 23 april, 2015 - 17:40
As EU and African leaders weigh up how to cope with a migration crisis in the Mediterranean, is partnership the best model for EU-African relations?

EU summit skirts asylum rules debate

EU Observer - 23 april, 2015 - 17:17
Almost two years have gone by since EU heads of state first declared their “determination to reduce the risk of further tragedies” following the drowning deaths of over 300 migrants off the Italian island of Lampedusa.

EU ombudsman to announce probe into secret law-making

EU Observer - 23 april, 2015 - 17:03
The EU’s transparency watchdog is poised to launch a new wave of investigations into secret EU lawmaking in May.

[Ticker] Tsipras wants agreement with EU next week

EU Observer - 23 april, 2015 - 16:46
The meeting between Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and German chancellor Angela Merkel before the EU summit was "positive and constructive", an official told EUobserver. Tsipras asked for an acceleration of talks "to reach and interim agreement" before the end of the month and expects "a sign" from Friday’s Eurogroup.

Timmermans takes swipe at MEPs on transparency

EU Observer - 23 april, 2015 - 16:27
EU commission vice-president Frans Timmermans has taken a swipe at MEPs who preach transparency but have not implemented the same rules as the commission when it comes to meetings with lobbyists.

Migration: What the European Council should decide after the tragedy in the Mediterranean

EU Active - 23 april, 2015 - 16:16

The European Council will have to make crucial decisions regarding the future of the EU in the fields of migration, asylum and border protection, said Elmar Brok MEP. Otherwise, the Mediterranean will remain the deadliest route on the globe.

Elmar Brok is the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament and the President of the Union of European Federalists (UEF).

Coal overshadows EU membership prospects of the Western Balkans

EU Active - 23 april, 2015 - 14:59

EU accession for Western Balkans countries must go hand in hand with environmental and climate action, writes Dragana Mileusnic.

Dragana Mileusnic is energy policy coordinator for South East Europe at Climate Action Network Europe

Countries of the Western Balkans seeking to join the EU have made almost no progress on aligning their environmental and climate policies with the EU principles. In fact, they are diminishing prospects of their EU membership by supporting environmentally and socially damaging coal investments.

The Google case shows why competition policy in the digital economy needs to change

EU Active - 23 april, 2015 - 14:55

The European Commission’s antitrust case against Google is the latest in a series of attempts to prevent tech giants from monopolising EU markets. But past cases against Intel and Microsoft illustrate the need to review the EU’s outdated competition policy, argues Diego Zuluaga.

[Ticker] EU must 'fix mistakes' over Libya, says Hollande

EU Observer - 23 april, 2015 - 14:46
"If the world remains indifferent to Libya", efforts to secure the Mediterranean and help migrants will be worthless, French president Francois Holande said before the EU emergency summit. "We have to fix yesterday's mistakes", he added, blaming a lack of planning after the Franco-British intervention in the country in 2011.

[Ticker] Austrian minister criticises EU's plan for GMOs

EU Observer - 23 april, 2015 - 14:39
Austria's agriculture minister Andra Rupprechter on Thursday called the EU commission's proposal to give member states the power to ban the use of genetically modified ingredients in food products, "a sham [which] only looks like a step forward". Austria is one of the EU's strongest opponents of GMOs.

[Ticker] UK ready to send ships to save migrants

EU Observer - 23 april, 2015 - 14:38
The UK will send its Navy flagship HMS Bulwark, 3 helicopters and 2 border patrol ships, PM David Cameron said arriving at the emergency EU summit in Brussels to help with the operations. He said migrants picked need to be taken to the nearest safe country, "most likely Italy".

Wiretap scandal threatens democracy in Macedonia

EU Active - 23 april, 2015 - 13:52

Fourteen years since NATO pulled Macedonia from the brink of civil war, the ex-Yugoslav republic once hailed as a success-story of Western intervention is embroiled in a scandal that critics say has exposed its democracy as hollow, and could potentially reopen a dangerous ethnic divide.

Macedonian magazine editor Mladen Cadikovski received his "file" in a binder -- page after page of transcribed telephone calls with colleagues and friends, leaked to him by the country's opposition leader who is publishing scores of such wiretaps.

[Ticker] Merkel says emergency summit is about EU values

EU Observer - 23 april, 2015 - 13:39
German chancellor Angela Merkel said the emergency EU summit in Brussels Thursday is to see "how the EU must and can react" to the death of migrants in the Mediterranean. The summit will be "a question over EU acceptance [of action] and our values", she said arriving at the summit.

[Ticker] EU states must 'sacrifice national interests' to deal with migration

EU Observer - 23 april, 2015 - 13:38
European Council president Donald Tusk said that EU member states "must show solidarity" to protect the lives of migrants. "It will be a discussion over readiness to sacrifice national interests for the common good. It is always the most challenging moment," he said arriving at the emergency summit in Brussels.

Cameron: Operation Triton is a failure

EU Active - 23 april, 2015 - 13:25

Britain will ‘make a contribution’ to more search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean according to David Cameron, who admitted current policies “haven’t worked”.

The prime minister stopped short of calling for the return of the full scale Mare Nostrum search and rescue mission that was abandoned last year. It was replaced by Operation Triton, which focuses on border surveillance rather than search and rescue, and has a budget of roughly a third of Mare Nostrum.

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