[Ticker] Dimas fails in first vote to become Greek president

EU Observer - 18 december, 2014 - 09:15
The Greek parliament failed on Tuesday to elect the government's candidate, former EU commissioner, Stavros Dimas, as new president. Dimas got 160 votes, 40 less than needed. If no president is elected during three rounds of voting parliamentary elections must be called, which could bring the left-wing opposition to power.

EU welcomes thaw in US-Cuba relations

EU Observer - 18 december, 2014 - 09:14
The European Union has welcomed the agreement between US and Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations, a move which matches with its own approach to Cuba.

[Ticker] Unclear if Dutch PM will be at Brussels summit

EU Observer - 18 december, 2014 - 09:14
It is unclear if Dutch PM Mark Rutte will attend the EU leaders summit in Brussels today because of unrest within his coalition government. Rutte has been holding talks since Tuesday evening on saving the coalition with the Labour party. The EU summit starts Thursday afternoon.

[Ticker] ECB considering new moves to boost euro economy

EU Observer - 18 december, 2014 - 09:10
The ECB is moving towards large-scale asset purchases to raise inflation and boost the economy, executive board member Benoit Coeure has indicated in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The ECB's Governing Council will hold a monetary policy meeting on 22 January, where the decision may be taken.

[Ticker] EU summit to call for conclusion of TTIP talks in 2015

EU Observer - 18 december, 2014 - 09:00
The EU wants to speed up talks with the US on the transatlantic trade pact, TTIP, and strike a deal already by the end of 2015, according to the draft conclusions for Thursday's EU summit in Brussels. If delayed, preparations for the 2016 US presidential elections risk complicating the negotiations.

[Ticker] Turkish leader continues to attack EU

EU Observer - 18 december, 2014 - 08:52
Turkish president Erdogan Wednesday continued to rebuke the EU for its criticism of his arrests of opposition journalists. He said EU officials cannot "wag their finger", or make Turkey into their "doorman". He also said the EU should learn democracy from Turkey due to rising "racism and Islamophobia" in Europe.

[Ticker] Israeli PM in anti-EU tirade

EU Observer - 18 december, 2014 - 08:49
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has said Europe "learned nothing" from the Holocaust, is guilty of "appeasement" of "[Muslim] forces that threaten Europe itself" and "hypocrisy" in reaction to an EU court ruling to delist Palestinian group Hamas on Wednesday. The same day MEPs and MPs in Luxembourg endorsed Palestine recognition.

[Ticker] EU strikes deal to cap credit card fees

EU Observer - 18 december, 2014 - 08:47
Bank fees on credit card transactions will be capped to 0.3% of the transaction value under new EU rules agreed in a meeting Wednesday night between negotiators from the EU member states and the European Parliament. The draft deal needs formal approval by EU member states and the European Parliament.

Nickel boss: 'Economic benefits of CETA outweigh the criticism'

EU Active - 18 december, 2014 - 07:58

The free trade agreement between the EU and Canada (CETA) will provide European companies with long-term access to essential raw materials, Nickel Institute President Tim Aiken says, hoping to create more pro-business EU laws with CETA. EurActiv Germany reports.

Juncker admits the EU has limited capacity to help Ukraine

EU Active - 18 december, 2014 - 07:57

The International Monetary Fund estimates Ukraine needs another $15 billion (€12 billion) in financing to withstand an economic crisis, but the European Union has only limited capacity to help, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said yesterday (17 December).

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk appealed to the EU in Brussels this week for urgent financial aid. He says Ukraine, facing a pro-Russian rebellion in eastern territories that has killed over 4,700 people and disrupted the economy, risks defaulting unless Western donors come up with more funds.

Developing countries lose $2 for every $1 they earn

EU Active - 18 december, 2014 - 07:53

For every dollar that developing countries have earned since 2008, they have lost $2, which proves that the global financial system is failing poorer nations, writes Jesse Griffiths.

Austrians resist EU funding for UK's Hinkley Point nuclear project

EU Active - 18 december, 2014 - 07:50

Austrian premier Werner Faymann will today (18 December) protest at the British inclusion of landmark nuclear energy projects – including Hinckley Point – within its list of infrastructure eligible for funding under the proposed €315bn Juncker investment plan.

The UK has listed several nuclear-related projects within the Juncker plan, a list of 2,000 projects drawn from across all member states, which will be considered for funding under the investment plan.

UK's Osborne accused of claiming false victory in EU budget row

EU Active - 18 december, 2014 - 07:48

British finance minister George Osborne was criticised by the head of a parliamentary committee on Wednesday (17 December) for claiming victory in a row with the European Union over an unexpected bill that triggered a diplomatic bust up with EU officials.

EU reaches initial deal on capping card payment fees

EU Active - 18 december, 2014 - 07:45

An initial deal on capping fees charged for paying with debit or credit cards across the 28-nation European Union has been reached by negotiators from EU governments and the economic committee of the European Union parliament, the parliament said.

The cap would apply to both cross-border and domestic card-based payments and should result in lower costs for consumers, the parliamentary statement said.

Currently, such interchange fees for card-based payments, paid by the merchant's bank to the bank that issued the card, are not transparent and differ between EU countries.

European Parliament passes watered-down Palestine resolution

EU Active - 18 december, 2014 - 07:41

The European Parliament has voted in favour of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. The final resolution was heavily watered down in order to obtain the support of Europe's right wing parties. EurActiv France reports

First attempt to elect Stavros Dimas president of Greece fails

EU Active - 18 december, 2014 - 07:35

Greek lawmakers failed to elect a new president in a first round of voting yesterday (17 December), leaving Prime Minister Antonis Samaras looking for as many as 20 votes from independents and small parties, in order to avoid snap elections early next year.

With two more rounds still to come, a win for the government had not been expected on Wednesday. But the result was below many expectations, just meeting the minimum threshold officials had seen as adequate before the vote.

Swedish far-right party rewarded for bringing down government

EU Active - 18 december, 2014 - 07:28

The Sweden Democrats, the far-right party that chose to bring down the newly-elected Swedish government earlier in December, is surging in the latest polls.

Tusk prepares first EU summit with light discussion menu

EU Active - 18 december, 2014 - 07:11

Europe's heads of state will review the proposed €315bn Juncker investment plan at the EU summit opening today (18 December). The issue threatens to divide the Council, with Tusk planning to finish the discussion before midnight. EurActiv France reports

EU nations face mounting pressure over CIA black sites

EU Observer - 17 december, 2014 - 18:48
Pressure is mounting for member states accused of hosting CIA rendition and torture camps to be held accountable for their role.

Ministers 'unanimous' against ditching of Circular Economy

EU Active - 17 december, 2014 - 18:33

EU environmental ministers were unanimous in their opposition to the European Commission’s decision to withdraw the pending Circular Economy package, as part of the executive's drive for “better regulation”.

Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans yesterday announced the package, which includes rules on waste, recycling, incineration, and landfill, would be dropped from the executive’s 2015 work programme.

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