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Thousands protest in Brussels against EU-US trade ageement

19.12.14 @ 16:45

Protestors gathered in front of an empty EU summit building on Friday (19 December) to demonstrate against the EU-US free trade pact talks. A planned two-day summit in Brussels ended early on Thursday evening with EU ...

Luxembourg caves in to EU tax listing demands

19.12.14 @ 09:01

Luxembourg on Thursday (18 December) caved in to pressure to give EU-anti trust regulators the details of tax deal schemes it has with multinational companies. Prime minister Xavier Bettel said he would comply with the ...

Court crushes EU plan to join human rights convention

18.12.14 @ 18:36

An opinion issued on Thursday (18 December) by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg says the EU’s accession to the convention is incompatible with EU law under the terms outlined by a draft agreement. The ...

Obesity now considered a disability in EU law

18.12.14 @ 10:33

EU judges in Luxembourg on Thursday (18 December) ruled obesity can be considered a disability whenever it impacts on work performance. The judgment is meant to protect severely overweight employees - classified as ...

EU nations face mounting pressure over CIA black sites

17.12.14 @ 18:48

Pressure is mounting on those member states accused of hosting CIA rendition and torture camps to be held accountable for their role. MEPs and the European Commission in Strasbourg on Wednesday (17 December) roundly ...

Estonia arrests, releases pro-Kremlin Italian journalist

17.12.14 @ 09:30

A pro-Kremlin Italian journalist and former MEP arrested in Estonia left the country on Tuesday (16 December) after having violated an entry ban issued by the ministry of interior. Reporter Giulietto Chiesa was ...

Ghost airports drain EU taxpayers' money

16.12.14 @ 18:18

Twenty EU-financed airports in Estonia, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain have misspent large sums of EU taxpayers' money for well over a decade. A report out Tuesday (16 December) by the European Court of Auditors found ...

States keen to protect identity of Europe's shadow rich

15.12.14 @ 20:20

EU states are trying to stop the general public from finding out who really owns what in Europe’s offshore firms, trusts, foundations, and other opaque structures. The anti-money laundering directive (AMLD) is entering ...

EU to scrap maternity leave bill

11.12.14 @ 18:46

The European Commission is set to scrap its maternity leave proposal and announce new strategies on migration and security. Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans will reveal the plans next week at the European ...

EU commission bans public scrutiny on US data talks

11.12.14 @ 17:23

The European Commission is imposing gag orders on MEPs and preventing journalists access to discussions at the parliament’s civil liberties committee. A commission-imposed clampdown occurs whenever an official is ...

EU commission wades into Greece's presidential debate

11.12.14 @ 09:19

The European Commission has denied that it endorsed a former EU commissioner as top candidate in the upcoming presidential elections in Greece despite its public praise of him. A commission spokesperson told reporters ...

MEPs want new EP group on transparency and corruption

09.12.14 @ 18:16

A handful of MEPs are setting up a group in the European Parliament to tackle crime, corruption and transparency at the EU institutions and across Europe. They want a so-called parliamentary intergroup where MEPs can ...

China does not need human rights lesson, says top envoy

09.12.14 @ 09:23

A top Chinese official in Brussels told reporters that China doesn’t need lessons on human rights from the EU. Li Junhua, a director general in the foreign affairs ministry, on Monday (8) said China has its own model of ...

EU looks to African dictators for migration solutions

08.12.14 @ 09:29

The EU is turning to African dictators to help counter a multitude of threats as it steps up efforts to tighten border controls and renew counter-terrorism initiatives. Dimitris Avramopoulos, the commission’s top man on ...

AgendaEU commissioners sworn in this WEEK

08.12.14 @ 09:19

EU lawmakers enter the 11th hour of budget negotiations as European commissioners and President Jean-Claude Juncker swear an oath to respect fundamental rights this Week. As Belgian trade unions on Monday kick off ...

EU ministers back key pillar in data reform bill

04.12.14 @ 21:59

Member states on Thursday (4 December) reached a broad consensus on a key area of the EU’s reformed data protection bill but some problems remain for the next EU presidency to resolve. Months of wrangling on technical ...

Immigration centres are new cash cow for Italian mafia

04.12.14 @ 09:27

Italian police on Wednesday (3 December) uncovered a mafia network in Rome said to have extorted millions of euros from programmes designed to help the city’s most vulnerable. Thirty-seven people have already been ...

EU court strikes down gay asylum tests

02.12.14 @ 19:39

Gay people seeking asylum in Europe will no longer have to take tests based on stereotypes or be forced to provide images to prove their sexual orientation. The Luxembourg-based European Court Justice on Tuesday (2 ...

Germany second top migration destination of choice after US

01.12.14 @ 18:11

More migrants are heading to Germany than any other wealthy country except the US, according to the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). An OECD report out Monday (1 December) says ...

Moldova's pro-EU parties in narrow election lead

01.12.14 @ 09:28

Pro-EU parties are showing a narrow lead as votes continue to be counted in Moldova’s parliamentary elections, held on Sunday (30 November). The BBC reports that around 80 percent of the votes had been counted as of the ...

AgendaTusk takes over from Van Rompuy this WEEK

28.11.14 @ 17:34

Former Polish PM Donald Tusk in a handover ceremony on Monday (1 December) officially takes over as EU Council chief, while his predecessor, Belgium’s Herman Van Rompuy steps down. Rompuy is set to teach an EU " ...

Cameron to unveil latest anti-EU migrant plan

28.11.14 @ 09:29

UK prime minister David Cameron is set to deliver a speech on Friday (28 November) laced with even more ideas on how to keep EU migrants at bay. The latest plan seeks to increase the crackdown on EU migrant access to ...

MEP vote ups pressure on EU to break up Google

27.11.14 @ 09:26

MEPs in Strasbourg on Thursday (27 November) are targeting Google in a vote to pressure EU anti-trust regulators to unbundle the company in a move contested by the United States. The non-binding resolution asks the EU ...

EU regulators want right-to-be forgotten to go global

26.11.14 @ 18:24

Demands by EU citizens for their names to no longer appear in a search engine result following a right-to-be forgotten request could be extended worldwide. “From the legal and technical analysis we have been doing, it ...

EU funds airline data-sharing despite legal concerns

25.11.14 @ 19:10

The European Commission has awarded €50 million to member states to set up airline passenger data sharing systems, despite an upcoming EU Court analysis on the probity of similar schemes. Fourteen member states are set ...

Member states owe EU over €320bn

25.11.14 @ 18:49

EU internal budget auditors say member states will need to fork out an additional €326 billion to finance their on-going EU-funded projects over the coming years. The European Court of Auditors, in a report out on ...

Anti-IS coalition heads to Brussels for first meeting

20.11.14 @ 18:15

The 60-odd members of the US-led global coalition to counter Islamic State (IS) are to meet for the first time in early December in Brussels. The gathering comes amid larger discussions how to counter a security threat ...

Supra-national border guard system on EU radar

19.11.14 @ 18:41

The European Commission is looking into long-term plans to create an entirely new EU border guard service with an independent command and control centre. While details are scant, a EU source said setting up such a supra ...

UK's Labour party takes up anti-EU migrant stance

19.11.14 @ 09:29

The UK's main opposition Labour Party on Tuesday (18 November) announced plans to crack down on EU migrants amid a heated debate on in the issue across the political spectrum. Labour wants EU nationals in Britain to be ...

Hungarians, Czechs hold anti-government protests

18.11.14 @ 09:27

Thousands rallied in Budapest on Monday (17 November) for a "day of public outrage” against Hungary’s government and its leader Viktor Orban. Over 10,000 people reportedly took to the streets to protest a range of ...

EU anti-Ebola funds not reaching aid workers, Red Cross says

17.11.14 @ 19:44

Ebola is flaring up as aid agencies struggle to keep staff on the ground, while EU pledges and donations have yet to appear. The stark message was delivered to reporters in Brussels on Monday (17 November) by the head ...

EU tax havens drain money from developing nations

13.11.14 @ 09:22

Tax havens in countries such as Luxembourg are zapping billions of euros from the coffers of developing countries and forcing weak governments to rely on dwindling international development aid, experts say. Charles ...

InvestigationPart VIII: A scandal 'for the next 10 years'

12.11.14 @ 12:26

In her office on the 15th floor in the Altiero Spinelli buidling of the European Parliament, German centre-right MEP Ingeborg Graessle shuffles some papers on a table and pours two glasses of water. She tells EUobserver ...

Data retention issue stymies EU air passenger bill

11.11.14 @ 17:55

Attempts to finalise the EU-wide passenger name records bill before the end of year seem increasingly unlikely given the wide political differences between a handful of leading MEPs and member states. The European ...

InvestigationPart VII: €60mn Valentine's Day gift

11.11.14 @ 10:15

While Silvio Zammit risks jail time and former EU health commission John Dalli is still under investigation, the witness to the prosecution, Gayle Kimberley, has largely escaped scrutiny. But EUobserver has seen phone ...

French politics rocked by claims of anti-Sarkozy plot

11.11.14 @ 09:28

A former French PM is alleged to have instructed president Francois Hollande's chief of staff to speed up investigations into Nicolas Sarkozy in a bid to thwart Sarkozy’s leadership ambitions. Francois Fillon, a senior ...

InvestigationPart VI: A circumstantial EU hanging

10.11.14 @ 09:59

When Olaf chief Giovanni Kessler stood in front of the Brussels press corps on 17 October 2012 - the day after John Dalli lost his job - his message was not an easy one to sell. He first said there is "no conclusive ...

AgendaMEPs want answers on Luxembourg leaks this WEEK

07.11.14 @ 17:31

Leaked tax evasion schemes for multinational corporations in Luxembourg loom large as the new European Commission enters its second week in office. EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who was Luxembourg’s prime ...

InvestigationPart V: Dalli’s big tobacco theory

07.11.14 @ 09:43

John Dalli claims that his tough stand against tobacco as EU health commissioner led the industry to pull levers inside the European Commission to get him ousted from office. He had been given the job of reforming the ...

InvestigationPart IV: EU judges, Maltese mysteries, and Christians in the Caribbean

06.11.14 @ 09:31

John Dalli, flanked by his lawyers, enters the blue-carpeted chamber of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg and faces a panel of five black-robed judges. 
It is July 2014 - almost two years after an explosive ...

MEPs clash with EU officials over foreign fighters

05.11.14 @ 18:58

A handful of MEPs are accusing EU officials of scare-mongering the threat of foreign-fighters to push through security policies and agreements on passenger name records (PNR). The European Commission’s director for ...

Hungary moves ahead with South Stream pipeline

05.11.14 @ 10:01

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban on Tuesday reiterated his support for the Russian-backed South Stream natural gas pipeline after parliament gave the green light to a law seen as paving the way for its construction ...

InvestigationPart III: Actors assemble for EU melodrama

05.11.14 @ 09:57

The new EU health commissioner’s first known contact with a tobacco lobbyist was on 20 August 2010 at the five-star Kempinski Hotel on the Maltese island of Gozo. John Dalli was still in his swimming trunks, he later ...

Belgian and French copyright laws ban photos of EP buildings

04.11.14 @ 18:07

An obscure clause in EU copyright rules means no one can publish photos of public buildings in Belgium, like the Atomium, or France’s Eiffel tower at night without first asking permission from the rights owners. The ...

InvestigationPart II: Malta's 'Mr Teflon'

04.11.14 @ 09:40

Prince William peers out of a black stretch luxury car as it turns down a street in Malta’s capital city, Valletta. The car, in a caravan of six others, disappears round the corner as it heads down towards the ...

InvestigationPart I: From Peppi’s to Barroso’s

03.11.14 @ 15:19

Out on €100,000 bail and risking a 10-year prison sentence, 50-year old Silvio Zammit pulls on his cigarette and looks out onto St Julian’s Bay from the terrace of his small restaurant, Peppi’s, on the northern coast of ...

Merkel: UK exit better than restricting free movement

03.11.14 @ 09:29

German chancellor Angela Merkel would reportedly prefer the UK to leave the EU than have Downing Street limit the free movement of people. Unnamed sources in the German government told the German weekly Der Spiegel that ...

AgendaJuncker commission starts this WEEK

31.10.14 @ 18:39

The new European Commission headed by president Jean-Claude Juncker kicks off for the first time this week while MEPs return to Brussels from their constituencies to discuss climate change and finance ministers gather ...

Oettinger stirs controversy ahead of new role as digital commissioner

30.10.14 @ 18:29

Recent statements by the next EU digital commissioner Gunther Oettinger on imposing a special tax on Google has drawn carefully-worded criticism from within the current EU commission. Oettinger, in an interview with ...

EU commission lashes out at Hungary's internet tax plan

29.10.14 @ 09:21

The European Commission on Tuesday (28 October) lashed out at Hungary’s proposal to introduce the world’s first Internet tax. EU digital spokesperson Ryan Heath said Hungary’s data traffic tax is part of a larger ...