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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 ...

EU border agency 'overwhelmed' by offers of equipment

28.10.14 @ 18:17

The EU’s border agency has received more offers of equipment than its needs as it approaches the end-of-week start date for its migrant surveillance operation in the Mediterranean. “We launched a call for participation, ...

Hungary's 'internet tax' sparks protests

27.10.14 @ 09:29

Up to 10,000 people rallied in Budapest on Sunday (26 October) in protest of Viktor Orban’s government plan to roll out the world’s first ‘internet tax’. Unveiled last week, the plan extends the scope of the telecom tax ...

Hungary's Orban stonewalls US corruption allegations

24.10.14 @ 18:04

Hungary is demanding the US hand over evidence after the Americans placed an entry ban on six officials close to Viktor Orban’s government last week. The Hungarian prime minister in Brussels on Friday (24 October) told ...

Cyprus seeks harsh EU statement on Turkey

24.10.14 @ 09:29

Nicosia persuaded EU leaders at the summit in Brussels on Thursday (23 October) to criticise Turkey for violating its economic zone and sovereignty. “We are convinced that, without a strong collective message, Turkey ...

Quarter of a million Ukrainians came to EU last year

23.10.14 @ 09:34

Ukrainians obtained more EU first residence permits last year than any other nationality, according to the EU’s statistical office, Eurostat. A first residence permit means it has been issued to the person for the first ...

MEPs withhold millions from EU commission over transparency

22.10.14 @ 17:59

The European Parliament on Wednesday (22 October) punched a €3.8 million hole in the EU commission 2015 budget as leverage until the Brussels-executive improves its transparency record. The money will be released once ...

Greece fined for violating asylum seekers' rights

21.10.14 @ 18:08

Asylum seekers in Italy and Greece are a step closer of having their rights vindicated following a verdict on Tuesday (21 October) at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). While the judgment is not final, the ...

Lawyers shortlisted for EU data chief post

20.10.14 @ 17:56

Two French corporate lawyers working for American firms and a high-ranking EU official are vying to replace Peter Hustinx as the next European data protection supervisor (EDPS). All three are set to be grilled late ...

EU counts tens of thousands of human trafficking victims

20.10.14 @ 09:27

The EU registered 30,146 victims of human trafficking from 2010 to 2012, according to a European Commission report out on Friday 17 (October). The vast majority were trafficked for sexual exploitation, with women and ...

Police launch EU-wide crackdown on migrants

14.10.14 @ 09:22

A two-week massive EU-wide border control and police crackdown on irregular migrants was launched on Monday (13 October) by the Italian EU presidency. Thousands of police officers from the 26 countries in the EU’s ...

Freedom of expression complicates EU law on 'right to be forgotten'

10.10.14 @ 18:40

Justice ministers are struggling to balance the right to freedom of expression and the right to be forgotten in the EU’s data protection reform bill. The political debate on Friday (10 October) in Luxembourg surfaced ...

Europe at risk of 'huge number' of returning jihadist fighters

10.10.14 @ 09:02

The EU is planning to step up border checks and passport controls to counter the threat of returning jihadist fighters. “We may be faced soon with returns, huge returns from Syria and Iraq,” the EU’s counter-terrorism ...

Internet giants discuss jihad with EU ministers

09.10.14 @ 14:59

High ranking officials from Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft met with EU interior ministers and the European Commission at a private dinner in Luxembourg to discuss ways to counter online jihadist propaganda. ...

'Bearded lady' speaks out for gay rights in EU capital

08.10.14 @ 18:07

A defiant Conchita Wurst on Wednesday (8 October) challenged homophobic politicians and governments opposed to same-sex marriage to overcome their fears. The 2014 Eurovision contest winner, speaking to reporters at the ...

Frontex mission to extend just beyond Italian waters

07.10.14 @ 18:46

Triton, the EU-led surveillance mission in the Mediterranean Sea, will operate up to 30 nautical miles from the Italian coastline and cost €2.9 million per month. The EU-border agency Frontex is asking member states to ...

International banking giant pressured to block Israel and Russia

07.10.14 @ 09:29

The international wire transfer system Swift will not block Russia or Israel from its services following requests for it to do so. The Belgian-based firm on Monday (6 October) said it had received calls to disconnect ...

UK faces 'nuclear option' if it scraps European rights charter

06.10.14 @ 17:30

The European Commission may seek to suspend the UK's voting rights at the EU level should it withdraw from the European convention of human rights. The threat surfaced after a Tory policy document issued last week by ...

Catalonia passes historic anti-homophobia law

06.10.14 @ 09:31

Catalonia’s new anti-homophobe legislation could see offenders fined up to €14,000 for attacks carried out against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGTB). The Catalan chamber passed the bill on Thursday (2 ...

EU embassies should take asylum requests, new commissioner says

30.09.14 @ 19:07

Dimitris Avramopoulos , the incoming Greek EU commissioner for migration and home affairs, wants offices set up at the EU's foreign embassies to allow people to apply for asylum. “We should have offices in the EU ...

Oettinger's digital plans focus on better infrastructure

30.09.14 @ 10:32

In his opening address to MEPs on Monday (29 September), the EU’s incoming digital commissioner Gunther Oettinger emphasised infrastructure as key to Europe’s so-called digital economy. “It is above all a matter of ...

Malmstrom rejects accusations of working with US to weaken data laws

29.09.14 @ 18:19

EU commissioner for home affairs Cecilia Malmstrom on Monday (29 September) rejected allegations she colluded with the Americans to water down EU data protection rules. The allegation surfaced over the weekend in a blog ...

Belgrade gay pride a 'milestone'

29.09.14 @ 09:25

Gay people in Serbia held a march in Belgrade on Sunday (28 September) in what has been described as a “milestone” in the country's history. The LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex) community was able to ...

Rescued migrants disembark from cruise ship after stand off

26.09.14 @ 09:29

Several hundred rescued migrants on a cruise liner in Cyprus have agreed to disembark following a tense stand off with authorities. “The registration of the refugees is ongoing, all have stepped down from the boat,” a ...

Police crackdown saves 30 children, arrests over 1,000 people

25.09.14 @ 08:01

Over 1,000 people were arrested in a nine-day police sweep co-ordinated by the EU’s police agency Europol earlier this month, saving 30 children in the process. Speaking to reporters in The Hague on Wednesday (24 ...

World leaders pledge to tackle climate change

24.09.14 @ 09:27

World leaders on Tuesday (23 September) pledged to step up efforts to fight climate change in the run-up to a global climate agreement in Paris at end of next year. Speaking at the UN Climate summit in New York, EU ...

Police uncover plot to attack EU commission HQ

22.09.14 @ 09:20

The European Commission headquarters in Brussels was going to be the target of an alleged terrorist plot, according to media reports. Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws on Monday (22 September) say police found a ...