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French MEPs drag their feet on multiple mandates

EU Active - 1 oktober, 2014 - 11:37

French politicians, already notorious for holding multiple political positions at home, will be able to continue doing so in the European Parliament until 2019. EurActiv France reports.

French deficit and public debt will reach new records in 2015

EU Active - 1 oktober, 2014 - 11:21

Despite planned cuts of 50 billion euros over three years, France will face a deficit of 95 billion euros in 2015. EurActiv France reports.

Opposition to Cañete swells on hearing day

EU Active - 1 oktober, 2014 - 10:51

More than 300,000 people have signed a petition to stop Miguel Arias Cañete’s appointment as Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy ahead of a European Parliament confirmation hearing today (1 October).

Cañete, a Spanish conservative criticised for his links to the oil industry, will face MEPs in the European Parliament at 18.00 pm Brussels time.

Austrian Enlargement Commissioner: 'Turkey is an important partner for us'

EU Active - 1 oktober, 2014 - 10:39

The next five years will not see any new enlargement by the EU, Jean-Claude Juncker stated in his guidelines for the next European Commission. However, during his Parliament hearing on Tuesday (30 September), Enlargement Commissioner-designate Johannes Hahn said there will be no "twiddling of thumbs" either. EurActiv Germany reports.

[Ticker] EU funds freeze 'last resort', says incoming regional commissioner

EU Observer - 1 oktober, 2014 - 09:44
The EU's next regional affairs commissioner Wednesday said macro-economic conditionality - where aid is linked to EU economic targets - is a "last-resort measure", applied after "years of warnings." "We must not punish people for the failings of their governments," Corina Cretu told MEPs.


[Ticker] Regional commissioner cautious on deadline extension for EU funds

EU Observer - 1 oktober, 2014 - 09:16
Incoming EU regional commissioner Corina Cretu Wednesday expressed caution about extending a deadline for the use of 2007-2014 regional aid funds (until two years after their expiry) in order to alleviate a €23m-strong backlog of payments. She said such extensions should be linked to a good absorption rate of funds.


'Frozen conflict' looming in east Ukraine, EU diplomats say

EU Observer - 1 oktober, 2014 - 08:49
EU countries have upheld Russia sanctions for now, but there is growing feeling that a frozen conflict is better than heavy fighting.


ECB to change rules to buy Greek, Cypriot debt

EU Observer - 1 oktober, 2014 - 08:21
The European Central Bank is set to change its rules to allow it to buy asset-backed securities with junk ratings issued by Greek and Cypriot banks, according to a report by the Financial Times.


New Swedish government mulls quotas for women on company boards

EU Active - 1 oktober, 2014 - 08:01

A new Swedish government could introduce quotas to bring more women onto company boards if businesses don't act themselves during the next two years, a spokesman for the Green Party said on Wednesday (1 October).

The Green Party looks set to be the junior coalition partner in the incoming government headed by the Social Democrats, who became the biggest party in a general election on 14 September.

Women are expected to fill a number of key cabinet posts in the new government, which will be announced on Friday, including that of finance minister and foreign minister.

EU farmers get another €165 million of aid after Russian food ban

EU Active - 1 oktober, 2014 - 07:57

The European Commission has pledged an additional €165 million in aid for farmers affected by Russian sanctions, after being subjected to withering criticism from food producers across the bloc over its first aid plan.

"Because of the embargo, we could risk bankruptcy," 25-year-old apple farmer Stefano Francia said in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation before Monday night's Commission announcement (30 September)

Immigration Commissioner denounces 'Fortress Europe' at hearing

EU Active - 1 oktober, 2014 - 07:56

The best way to combat illegal migration is to set up a regular immigration framework and not a “Fortress Europe”, according to Dimitris Avramopoulos, the Greek commissioner-designate for migration and home affairs. EurActiv Greece reports.

The former Greek defence minister appeared before the Parliament's Civil Liberties and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on Tuesday (30 September).

Hearings blunder offers glimpse into Juncker's working methods

EU Observer - 1 oktober, 2014 - 07:51
A blunder during the hearing of the Swedish commissioner shows the degree of intervention by Jean-Claude Juncker's chief of staff when drafting answers for commissioners-to-be.


Renzi clears hurdles over labour reform

EU Active - 1 oktober, 2014 - 07:48

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's success in staring down opposition from within his party over labour reform has delivered a symbolic political success but its impact on hiring and firing rules appears limited.

The top brass in prime minister's centre-left Democratic Party (PD) backed his proposals to change job protection rules by 130 votes to 20 late Monday, despite angry opposition from party heavyweights Massimo D'Alema and Pierluigi Bersani.

Philip Morris tops NGOs' lobbying spending table

EU Active - 1 oktober, 2014 - 07:44

Tobacco giant Philip Morris was the company that spent the most money on lobbying the EU last year, according to data compiled by civil society organisations.

Philip Morris spent about €5.25 million and petrol firm ExxonMobil up to €5 million, according to LobbyFacts, a joint project by Friends of the Earth Europe, the Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl.

Stylianides exits confirmation hearing a star

EU Active - 1 oktober, 2014 - 07:43

Cypriot Commissioner-designate Christostos Stylianides, assigned the portfolio of Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management by President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker, made an excellent impression at his hearing yesterday (30 September) thanks to his commitment, and remarkable resemblance to movie star Omar Sharif.

Stylianides is a dental surgeon by training, but also studied political science, international relations and EU affairs. He was a government spokesperson, an MP in his native Cyprus and ,since May, an MEP in the centre-right EPP group.

[Ticker] French public debt surpasses €2 trillion

EU Observer - 1 oktober, 2014 - 07:39
Public debt in France on Tuesday passed the €2 trillion mark for the first time, reports AFP. The public debt represents 95.1% of France's gross domestic product (GDP). France has also said it will be unable to meet the EU's 3% deficit target by next year.


[Ticker] EU gives more aid to farmers hit by Russia embargo

EU Observer - 1 oktober, 2014 - 07:38
The European Commission introduced a new aid package on Tuesday worth €165 million to help farmers hit by Russian sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, but tightened up on dubious compensation claims. The new scheme also includes oranges, mandarins and clementines, as sought by major producers in Spain, Italy and Greece.


[Ticker] Romanian PM accused of involvement in bribery case

EU Observer - 1 oktober, 2014 - 07:37
A witness in a corruption case involving nine former Romanian ministers has accused Prime Minister Victor Ponta of having used his influence to favour several firms in a public tender. In return, Ponta received Fujitsu Siemens computers "as donation" for his party, the witness alleges. Ponta denies the accusations.


[Ticker] Victims of online photo hacking are 'stupid', says Oettinger

EU Observer - 1 oktober, 2014 - 07:36
EU's next digital commissioner Guenther Oettinger has told MEPs it would not be his job to protect celebrities “stupid enough to take a nude photo of themselves and put it online.” Several stars were victims of a targeted hack on their Cloud storage, where smartphones upload pictures automatically.


[Ticker] Sweden best in EU for elderly people

EU Observer - 1 oktober, 2014 - 07:34
Sweden tops the list in the EU for being the best place for people to grow old, according to Global AgeWatch Index. It ranked 96 nations by looking at life expectancy, pension plans, and other measures. Norway was best overall, followed by Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and Germany. Afghanistan ranked last.


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