UN chief says EU boat-sinking plan won't work

EU Observer - 27 mei, 2015 - 17:41
UN head Ban Ki Moon has criticised EU plans to destroy migrant-smugglers’ boats, while urging Europe to take in more people.

[Ticker] EU: More than four espressos a day damages health

EU Observer - 27 mei, 2015 - 17:32
Drinking more than four espressos a day is harmful to health, the EU food safety agency EFSA said Wednesday. EFSA recommends that an adult's daily caffeine intake should be below 400 milligrams a day, and warns about heavy consumption of RedBull-style energy drinks.

EU-Swiss accord to end banking secrecy, curb tax evasion

EU Active - 27 mei, 2015 - 16:46

The European Union and Switzerland signed a major accord on Wednesday (27 May) to end banking secrecy for EU residents and prevent them from stashing undeclared income in Swiss banks.

The agreement deals "another blow against tax evaders, and (represents) another leap towards fairer taxation in Europe," said Pierre Moscovici, the EU commissioner for tax issues.

Queen Elizabeth paves way for Cameron's EU referendum plan

EU Active - 27 mei, 2015 - 16:45

Britain's Queen Elizabeth on Wedensday (27 May) set in motion Prime Minister David Cameron's plans for a European Union membership referendum on Wednesday as he faced pressure to explain when it will be held and what changes to the EU he wants beforehand.

Cameron, who says he would prefer to stay inside a reformed EU but isn't "ruling anything out" if it fails to change, was re-elected on May 7 on a pledge to reshape ties with the bloc before allowing Britons to vote on whether to stay or leave.

[Ticker] Last talks on Juncker fund to focus on financing

EU Observer - 27 mei, 2015 - 16:36
The last round of talks between governments and MEPs on the EU's €315bn investment fund will begin Wednesday at 7.30pm. The main sticking point is how much of an €8 billion guarantee comes from the EU budget, and how much from existing research programmes, an EU source told this website.

Unitary Patent, or how to turn a great European project into a tax on innovation

EU Active - 27 mei, 2015 - 16:28

Competitiveness Council ministers must intervene in a process that is currently moving in a totally non-innovative direction if the Unitary Patent is to prove a boost for European competitiveness and growth, rather than a tax on innovation, writes Arnaldo Abruzzini.

[Ticker] Report: Blair steps down as Middle East envoy

EU Observer - 27 mei, 2015 - 16:26
AP reports former British PM, Blair, has resigned as the Quartet's (EU, Russia, UN, US) envoy to the Middle East Peace Process, a job he held since 2007. Blair's work was clouded by allegations of conflict of interest due to his business lobbying as well as his Iraq war past.

Big telcos take the stage in Germany's new spectrum auction

EU Active - 27 mei, 2015 - 16:26

Germany launched its first radio spectrum auction today (27 May) since 2010. The auction includes the sale of 700 MHz band for mobile broadband for the first time in Europe, where it has been used for television broadcast up until now.

Germany network agency Bundesnetzagentur approved the three telecommunications giants Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica to the auction. The last German spectrum auction raked in over four billion euros from bidders.

EU considering mandatory corporate tax base

EU Observer - 27 mei, 2015 - 16:14
The European Commission has said it will reintroduce a previously shelved plan for a common corporate tax system in a bid to clamp down on tax avoidance by multinationals

Commission on collision course with member states on migration

EU Active - 27 mei, 2015 - 16:06

The Commission put forward its first concrete proposals today (27 May) following the terrible loss of life in the Mediterranean last month. They include the relocation of 40,000 people from Italy and Greece to other EU countries, as well as the resettlement of 20,000 from outside the EU to member countries.

Shocked by the deaths of migrants from North Africa trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean, the European Union is trying to put in place a fairer way to resettle asylum-seekers at a time when anti-immigrant parties are on the rise.

[Ticker] Germany imposing border control checks

EU Observer - 27 mei, 2015 - 15:30
Germany is imposing temporary internal border control checks as part of broader security measures for hosting the G7 international summit in Elmau. The controls will take place from 26 May to 15 June 2015 "at certain German land, air and sea borders within the Schengen area," says the European Commission.

Well-designed self and co-regulation are essential for better regulation

EU Active - 27 mei, 2015 - 15:23

There is still some way to go, but the Better Regulation Agenda, led by European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, is a great opportunity for Europe to lead the way in smart regulation, writes Oliver Gray.

A new International Energy Charter fit for the 21st century

EU Active - 27 mei, 2015 - 15:12

The European Energy Charter was first signed in 1991, mainly to connect the resource rich fuel producing regions in Eastern Europe with much-needed Western European investment. But the world has changed a great deal since then, writes Howard Chase.

[Opinion] Poland: Duda victory isn't what you think

EU Observer - 27 mei, 2015 - 14:46
Many European commentators have said Duda's victory means Poland has shifted to the right. But the result is more of a protest against an out-of-touch elite.

EU to pay member states to take asylum seekers

EU Observer - 27 mei, 2015 - 14:25
The EU commission wants to pay member states €6,000 for every asylum seeker they take under a new relocation scheme to help Italy and Greece cope with demands.

[Ticker] Populist leader to become Finland foreign minister

EU Observer - 27 mei, 2015 - 13:16
Timo Soini, head of the populist Finns Party, is to be Finland's new foreign and Europe minister, Reuters reports. Alex Stubb, PM in the previous coalition government, will be the finance minister. The new government, which also includes PM Juha Sipila's Centre Party, is to be nominated Friday.

Brits will be able to vote 'Yes' to the EU

EU Active - 27 mei, 2015 - 13:04

The UK referendum on EU membership will offer voters the option to say ‘Yes’ to staying in the EU.

The exact wording of the question has yet to be finalized, but media reports on Wednesday suggested it will be a variation on “Should the UK remain a member of the EU?”

The Conservative party, who won a surprise majority in May’s general election, will lay out their plans for a referendum on EU membership in the Queen’s speech – the ceremonial opening of parliament at which the legislative agenda is announced.

[Ticker] Queen's speech confirms UK intention on EU referendum

EU Observer - 27 mei, 2015 - 12:53
In a speech setting out the newly-elected Conservative government's agenda on Wednesday, the Queen confirmed London's intention to hold a referendum on EU membership by the end of 2017. British PM David Cameron is due to present the referendum bill to parliament on Thursday.

Danish PM calls general election for 18 June

EU Active - 27 mei, 2015 - 11:59

Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt on Wednesday (27 May) called a general election, to be held on 18 June. Recent polls suggest the election could become a true thriller.

"When I became prime minister four years ago, Denmark was in a deep crisis. We were hit harder than most countries. I had one goal: To get us out of the crisis and I succeeded," Thorning-Schmidt told a news conference.

"Denmark is in a better shape today. I think it's now up to the Danes to decide which path way we should go down in the future," she added.

[Ticker] Danish elections to be held on 18 June

EU Observer - 27 mei, 2015 - 11:33
Danish social democratic prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt announced on Wednesday that parliamentary elections will be held on 18 June. As the country's first female prime minister she has led a coalition government since October 2011 with elections obligatory after four years. Polls give the liberal opposition a 4% lead.

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