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France denies warship delivery, as Russian bombers skirt EU airspace

30.10.14 @ 09:57

France's controversial warship deal with Russia is hitting the headlines again, with a cacophony of statements and denials after a Russian minister published a French invitation to the hand-over ceremony. Russian deputy ...

From Borgen to Brussels: Who is the new EU competition commissioner?

29.10.14 @ 18:24

When Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt was touted as the next EU council chief, comparisons with Denmark's popular political tv series Borgen abounded. Borgen's main character Birgitte Nyborg is a hands-on, ...

EU parliament blocks websites 'to protect' staff

29.10.14 @ 09:18

Blocking websites is something people usually associate with authoritarian regimes in China or Iran rather than the European Union. But staff in the European Parliament last week received this message when they tried to ...

EU commission warns UK about its rebate

27.10.14 @ 18:07

The UK has to pay its outstanding €2.1bn bill by 1 December or face monthly penalties, EU budget commissioner Jacek Dominik said Monday (27 October) in a press conference. Dominik said he was "surprised" to witness the ...

AgendaBarroso commission finishes This WEEK

27.10.14 @ 09:18

A quiet week is kicking off in Brussels, with the outgoing commission meeting for the last time on Wednesday (29 October) and a farewell party for president Jose Manuel Barroso at the museum of fine arts (Bozar) Monday ...

Draghi warns eurozone leaders on recession 'relapse'

24.10.14 @ 20:09

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi on Friday (24 October) gave a stark warning to eurozone leaders about the risk of a "relapse into recession" unless they agree on a "concrete timetable" of reforms and spur ...

Renzi stirs up EU row ahead of eurozone meeting

24.10.14 @ 09:27

Eurozone leaders are meeting on Friday (24 October) to discuss the issue of public deficits and debt, as France and Italy are in breach of the EU rules. Ahead of the meeting, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi stirred ...

An American in Strasbourg: US ambassador woos MEPs on trade pact

23.10.14 @ 10:24

Anthony Gardner is not what is typically associated with US diplomacy: Fluent in French, Italian and Spanish, the US ambassador to the EU, who took office in February, managed to impress even the francophones in the ...

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

22.10.14 @ 13:57

The European Parliament on Wednesday (22 October) approved the new EU commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker, with 423 votes in favour, 209 against and 67 abstentions. Fifty-two MEPs did not vote. Compared to 2010, when ...

Culture MEPs rebel against Juncker

21.10.14 @ 19:44

The European Parliament is voting on Wednesday (22 October) on the Juncker commission, which is expected to sail through without problems. But to a handful of MEPs, dealing with culture and media freedom, this is an ...

Fire-walking EU commissioner clears path for Juncker

21.10.14 @ 09:28

The Hilton hotel bar in Strasbourg was the scene of some celebrations on Monday evening (20 October). At one table, the Slovene commissioner-to-be, Violeta Bulc, was celebrating with those who had helped her swot up on ...

Farage's eurosceptic EP group falls apart

16.10.14 @ 17:00

A narrow grey hallway on the seventh floor of the European Parliament was buzzing with journalists on Thursday (16 October). In a small office, a young assistant was barely coping with ringing phones, emails, and knocks ...

Juncker approves new Slovenian commissioner

15.10.14 @ 09:21

Incoming EU commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker had an "excellent" impression after meeting the new Slovenian commissioner candidate, Violeta Bulc, he told reporters on his way out of the meeting on Tuesday evening (14 ...

Catalonia downgrades independence 'consultation' after court ban

14.10.14 @ 19:21

Catalan leader Artur Mas on Tuesday (14 October) promised to hold a "public consultation" on whether Catalonia should be independent from Spain, after the Constitutional Court thwarted his plans to hold a referendum. " ...

Catalonia to call off independence referendum

14.10.14 @ 09:28

Catalonian leader Artur Mas is expected to cancel plans for a November referendum on independence after the country's top court said it should not go ahead. Mas will hold a press conference on Tuesday (14 October) at ...

FocusScotland, Catalonia boost independence movements in Europe

14.10.14 @ 07:29

The pro-independence referendum in Scotland might have failed and the upcoming public consultation in Catalonia may be illegal under Spanish law, but their energetic campaigns have inspired movements elsewhere, says ...

Juncker to meet Slovenian candidate, amid fresh controversy

13.10.14 @ 18:22

The incoming chief of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, will meet Slovenian candidate Violeta Bulc on Tuesday (14 October) evening and will then decide which portfolio to give her, Juncker's spokesman said ...

MEPs earn millions on the side

13.10.14 @ 09:57

Renato Soru is a wealthy man. In 2000 he made it onto the Forbes list of world billionaires, and a year later the US magazine ran a profile on him and his Milan-based Internet company Tiscali, which was "snatching up ...

FocusGlasgow: Ahead on Roma inclusion

13.10.14 @ 08:58

Compared to Edinburgh with its pretty castles and open golf courses, Glasgow is a whole different story. Spread out along the river Clyde, Scotland's second largest city has a distinctly working-class feel to it. In the ...

AgendaMore clarity expected on Juncker commission This WEEK

10.10.14 @ 18:33

MEPs this week will decide when and how many hearings they will hold in order to complete Jean-Claude Juncker's commission after the replacement of the Slovenian candidate. Juncker will meet the new Slovenian nominee, ...

Slovenia nominates unconventional candidate for EU commission post

10.10.14 @ 14:43

Slovenian prime minister Miro Cerar on Friday (10 October) nominated political novice Violeta Bulc as EU commissioner, despite warnings from the European Parliament to send someone experienced in order to avoid a second ...

Slovenian saga may delay Juncker commission

09.10.14 @ 17:13

The withdrawal of the Slovenian commission candidate clears the way for a new nominee, but the Juncker team is still at risk of being delayed. After days of high-drama, rumours and humiliations in the European ...

Ball in Juncker's court after MEPs reject Slovene commissioner

08.10.14 @ 21:43

The European Parliament on Wednesday (8 October) rejected Alenka Bratusek, Slovenia's candidate for the new EU commission. Members in the industry and environment committees voted overwhelmingly against Bratusek - by ...

Slovene commission nominee to be sent home

08.10.14 @ 09:29

MEPs are Wednesday (8 October) to decide on the five commissioners who failed to get the green light after parliamentary hearings. They are likely to ask that Slovenia’s Alenka Bratusek be replaced while some other ...

Katainen vague on €300bn investment plan

07.10.14 @ 14:41

A parliamentary hearing of Finland's Jyrki Katainen, one of the seven vice-presidents in the new EU commission, has shed little light on where the money for a vaunted €300 billion investment plan will come from. ...

Decision day for EU's at-risk commissioners

07.10.14 @ 09:28

MEPs on Tuesday (7 October) are hearing the last commissioner candidates, Jyrki Katainen of Finland and Frans Timmermans of the Netherlands. They are also holding a second hearing for the British commissioner, Jonathan ...

MEPs ask Moscovici about French deficit

06.10.14 @ 09:25

MEPs gave French commissioner Pierre Moscovici a Tuesday (7 October) deadline for extra questions about his commitment to EU's fiscal rules and how he will deal with his home country, amid reports that Brussels is ...

Moscovici to answer in writing on commitment to fiscal rules

03.10.14 @ 18:37

France's Pierre Moscovici is to answer in writing about how he will make sure countries, including his own, will implement the EU's deficit-and-debt rules. MEPs in the economics committee were working on nine ...

MEPs ask wobbly commissioners near-impossible questions

03.10.14 @ 12:24

MEPs gave three commissioner nominees a Sunday-evening deadline to answer partly impossible questions. "At their evaluation meetings, the committees competent for these hearings came to the conclusion that in these ...

EU's new competition chief promises more Google probes

03.10.14 @ 09:41

The EU's next competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said there will be more anti-trust investigations into Google under her watch. "There will be next steps on Google. They have a huge market share and there are ...

Spain's Canete entangled in EP political battle

02.10.14 @ 07:25

A stormy hearing with Spain’s Miguel Arias Canete on Wednesday (1 October) ended with the Socialists seeking a delay on his approval, as part of a bigger confrontation between political groups. "Socialists and Democrats ...

Hearings blunder offers glimpse into Juncker's working methods

01.10.14 @ 08:51

The European Parliament’s hearing of Swedish commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom was supposed to be a no-brainer: A former MEP herself, straightforward and down-to-earth, she was never expected to be one of the "problematic" ...

French EU commissioner to share powers on national budgets

30.09.14 @ 17:52

EU economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici will have to share his powers on national budgets with fiscal hawk and commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis. According to a letter sent by Jean-Claude Juncker to MEPs ...

Juncker defends lobby-friendly restructuring of commission services

30.09.14 @ 09:29

New EU commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has defended his decision to shift the health technology and pharmaceutical policy services back to the more lobby-friendly internal market directorate - a move that has been ...

New commissioners file written replies ahead of EU hearings

29.09.14 @ 09:45

Ahead of parliamentary hearings due to kick off on Monday (29 September), the new commissioners-to-be have replied in writing to questions from MEPs. The written answers, seen by EUobserver, give reassurances and seek ...

AgendaEP starts grilling new commissioners This WEEK

26.09.14 @ 19:03

The European Parliament will start grilling incoming EU commissioners this week, with the most problematic ones scheduled for Wednesday (1 October). All 27 members of Jean-Claude Juncker's team of commissioners will ...

MEPs prepare 'lively' hearings for new commissioners

25.09.14 @ 07:52

When the 27 new commissioners-to-be start their hearings in the European Parliament next week, the question is not if MEPs will reject one of them, but who it will be. "It would be for the first time in the history of ...

Ombudsman vows 'robust' action against EU secrecy

23.09.14 @ 17:46

EU ombudsman Emily O'Reilly wants more transparency from EU institutions on letting officials switch to the private sector, negotiating trade agreements, and allowing medicines onto the European market. "Even if I don’t ...

Cameron in a pickle over Scotland promises

22.09.14 @ 09:24

British PM David Cameron is under fire from his own party and from the Labour opposition for having promised more powers to Scotland but being vague on similar devolution plans for England. Cameron on Monday (22 ...

Scotland chooses to stay in UK

19.09.14 @ 07:10

Voters in Scotland on Thursday (18 September) said No to independence from the UK, but the intense campaigning and the record-high turnout are seen as examples for separatist movements elsewhere in Europe. Official ...

Voting under way in Scottish independence referendum

18.09.14 @ 09:29

Over 4 million people are set to cast their vote in the Scottish independence referendum on Thursday (18 September), with a record turnout expected as 97 percent of eligible voters have registered for the poll. Polling ...

FeatureScotland prepares for life after referendum

17.09.14 @ 09:57

With its shop windows displaying a big Yes and a big No, the "referendum cafe" in Glasgow is an unusual place. "I was also surprised that nobody had come up with this idea so far," says Simon Jones, one of the three co- ...

FeatureScotland on verge of 'independence lite'

15.09.14 @ 09:14

Travelers to Scotland, beware. In buses, pubs and street rallies, people have only one thing on their mind these days: Scottish independence. They wear bumper stickers with “Yes” or “No thanks”, dye their hair white and ...

Greek to front Juncker's new media strategy

11.09.14 @ 10:03

Jean-Claude Juncker has appointed a Greek EU official as his main spokesperson, part of his revamped media strategy for the new EU commission. "I've made a few changes in the spokespersons' service," Juncker announced ...

New commission sees greater role for Juncker deputies

10.09.14 @ 14:57

The new EU commission will have a less centralised power structure, with Jean-Claude Juncker delegating more responsibilities to his deputies. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday (10 September) to present his ...

Juncker set to unveil new commission

09.09.14 @ 18:06

The new EU commission chief, Jean-Claude Juncker, is to present his new team and their posts on Wednesday (10 September). With the carve-out of portfolios still ongoing on Tuesday, there is little certainty as to who ...

Bavarian politician calls for checks on Austria-Germany border

09.09.14 @ 09:27

Bavarian leader Horst Seehofer has said Germany should introduce border checks to block refugees coming from Italy. "Italy is in clear violation of the Schengen [border-free area] accords. If this doesn't stop, Germany ...

AnalysisScotland vs. Catalonia: Two independence quests, different paths

08.09.14 @ 18:34

Scotland and Catalonia both have strong independence movements, but their paths to this goal are very different. At an event hosted by the Centre for European Policy Studies, a Brussels think-tank, politicians and ...

Romania has contingency plan for Russian attack

08.09.14 @ 09:29

Romanian president Traian Basescu has said Nato has a contingency plan for the "0.01 percent" chance that Russia will one day attack his country. Romania, the EU's most easterly member state, has a 650km border with ...

Putin cheese: EU farmers to get 'targeted' compensation

05.09.14 @ 20:28

European farmers hit by a Russian embargo on fruit, vegetables, dairy, and meat are likely to tap a €400 million EU emergency fund from October on. Speaking after a snap meeting of agriculture ministers in Brussels on ...

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