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EU ElectionsEU politicians 'overwhelmed' by power shift to social media

02.04.14 @ 17:27

Power is moving to the internet and only politicians and political parties that adapt to this new reality will survive in the future is the stark message sent to MEPs on the eve of EU elections. "Power is shifting from ...

AgendaObama in Brussels this WEEK

21.03.14 @ 16:37

EU capital Brussels will be pulling out all the diplomatic stops this week as it plays host to US President Barack Obama. The President will attend the EU-US summit in Brussels on Wednesday (26 March) in what will be ...

EU ElectionsEuropean political parties to get legal status, must abide by EU values

19.03.14 @ 18:25

European Political parties will be put on a firm legal footing, have to declare sizeable donations, and abide by EU values under new rules agreed Tuesday (18 March). The rules, which have to be endorsed by the plenary ...

EU ElectionsEU top candidates to slug it out in TV debate

17.03.14 @ 14:30

This year will see the first-ever televised debate between candidates running to be the next head of the European Commission but the details of the format - not least how to make it interesting TV - are proving to be a ...

EU ElectionsMEPs set scene for EU top jobs battle

11.02.14 @ 15:49

With 100 days to go until the EU elections, MEPs have agreed a wishlist on how the next European Commission and its President should be chosen. The report, passed by the European Parliament's constitutional affairs ...

EU ElectionsEUobserver launches election series ahead of EU vote

11.02.14 @ 12:07

In recent years, a slew of parties has moved from the fringe to occupy central political debate across the EU - they are eurosceptic and hard-right and they are making mainstream politicians nervous. With the May EU ...

AgendaUkraine and Cuba on agenda this WEEK

09.02.14 @ 10:57

Ukraine will top the agenda when EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels on Monday (10 February), with sanctions likely to be discussed informally, but no decision taken. The discussion comes after leaked phone calls ...

EU proposes 'affordable' climate targets

22.01.14 @ 15:38

The European Commission on Wednesday (22 January) proposed new greenhouse gas targets which it said would see the EU remain the global leader on climate change action, without damaging the bloc's fragile economy. Under ...

InterviewEurozone is the 'real' EU, Sikorski says

22.01.14 @ 09:26

Poland wants to join the eurozone because it is the political heart of the European Union, its foreign minister, Radek Sikorski, has said, with the country looking to enter the single currency by 2020. "In every annual ...

Approval of EU leadership lowest in Greece

08.01.14 @ 17:35

Support for the EU was lowest in Greece in 2013 while Spain registered the sharpest drop in support between the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008 and last year. A survey published Wednesday (8 January) by Gallup ...

ReviewThe rise of anti-EU parties and the crisis of confidence

07.01.14 @ 09:25

There was relative economic calm in 2013 after the euro's existential crisis of the previous year, but a different type of crisis started to emerge: rising anti-EU sentiment and collapsing political confidence. Across ...

Review2014: Changing of the guard in the EU

03.01.14 @ 09:11

When the EU last trotted into election year, in 2009, things were very different. The scale of the global financial crisis and the eurozone trauma were only just becoming apparent. At the height of the crisis, there ...

Bitter debate marks lifting of Bulgaria and Romania labour restrictions

30.12.13 @ 09:30

The restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians being allowed to work throughout the EU will be lifted on Wednesday (1 January) but the debate surrounding the move has been bitter. On 1 January, Austria, Belgium, France, ...

EU banking deal set for 'long, complicated' talks with MEPs

19.12.13 @ 18:50

European Parliament President Martin Schulz has warned member states that their just-agreed deal on banking union lies far below MEPs' ambitions and will be subject to lengthy negotiations. "These decisions are rather ...

Euro policy needs to be 'controversial,' EU commissioner says

16.12.13 @ 16:04

The prevailing policy response to the eurozone crisis risks leading to a situation where membership of the single currency and democracy are no longer compatible in southern member states, the EU's employment ...

AgendaEU leaders meet this WEEK

16.12.13 @ 08:54

EU leaders gather in Brussels for their last summit of the year with a discussion agenda that includes economic integration, jobs and defence. Pre-prepared conclusions for the summit show member states are willing to ...

Parliament fails to pass report on women's reproductive rights

10.12.13 @ 16:47

The European Parliament erupted in internal bickering on Tuesday (10 December) after an alliance of right-wing MEPs managed to sweep a report on sexual and reproductive rights for women from the table. The report by ...

Ashton in two-day visit to Ukraine

09.12.13 @ 15:03

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will travel to Kiev Tuesday (10 December) to bring "clear EU messages" as thousands of Ukrainians continue to protest President Viktor Yanukovych's rejection of closer ties with ...

FocusEU's young people lag behind on maths target

03.12.13 @ 17:16

The EU's 15-year olds have seen only slight improvements in their reading, science and maths skills since 2009, with worse scores in reading than US students and in all three subject areas than their Japanese ...

UK asked to avoid 'hysterical' debate on migration

27.11.13 @ 18:43

EU commissioners on Wednesday told the UK to avoid "hysteria" and to be more factual after Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled proposals to tighten migrants' access to social welfare payments. "I would really applaud ...

EU officials flesh out 'reform contracts' plan

19.11.13 @ 09:29

EU officials are in the process of putting flesh on the bones of a German idea of "reform contracts," but it is going to be difficult to sell. It builds on the premise that for all the efforts the EU has made to shore ...

Italy and Spain close to breaking euro rules

15.11.13 @ 16:03

Single currency states felt the long arm of the European Commission stretch into national affairs on Friday, as the Brussels executive published in-depth reviews of their draft 2014 budgets. Just two euro states - ...

Low-key jobs summit takes EU 'one step further'

13.11.13 @ 07:09

EU leaders gathered in Paris Tuesday (12 November) for a second summit devoted to the EU's record youth unemployment but the meeting only served to highlight the lack of new initiatives. As the top politicians went into ...

EU trade commissioner in tax fraud case

08.11.13 @ 17:24

Belgium's EU commissioner is to appear before court later this month in a case involving charges of tax fraud. Karel De Gucht, in charge of EU trade, was last year accused by Belgian tax authorities of failing to ...

FocusEconomic governance tool to be part of regional aid

07.11.13 @ 16:55

MEPs in the regional affairs committee Thursday (7 November) gave the go-ahead to an overhaul of the EU regional aid policy, including its most controversial element - linking payouts to good economic governance. EU ...

Schulz named 'candidate designate' for commission post

06.11.13 @ 17:04

European Parliament chief Martin Schulz Wednesday (6 November) became the first politician to formally begin campaigning to be the next President of the European commission. Following a vote in the European Party of ...

Poor protection of whistleblowers in most EU states

05.11.13 @ 12:54

The vast majority of EU member states have either partial or no laws to protect whistleblowers, says a new report by anti-corruption NGO Transparency International. According to the study, published Tuesday (5 November ...

EU commission seeks to reduce use of plastic bags

04.11.13 @ 17:13

The European Commission Monday (4 November) tabled measures to reduce the use of thin plastic bags by 80 percent, with about 710,000 tonnes of them being thrown away each year. Each EU citizen use almost 200 such bags - ...

AgendaEU economic forecast this WEEK

04.11.13 @ 07:37

The European Commission will Tuesday publish its economic forecasts for the 28 member states - prognoses that shape Brussels' recommendations to national governments to keep their economies in line with EU fiscal rules. ...

Crisis knocking EU 2020 goals off track

29.10.13 @ 18:35

The economic crisis has knocked the EU's longterm strategic targets off track with planned poverty-reduction and employment goals unlikely to be met by 2020. "Without adequate policy measures to rapidly reverse this ...

Merkel: EU vote not decisive on commission President

25.10.13 @ 17:35

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has poured cold water on hopes the European Commission President candidate of the most popular political party after next year's EU election will automatically get the post. "I don't see ...

Analysis'EU voters have not warmed to immigration'

24.10.13 @ 09:24

The European elections are still seven months away, but fears of what they will show about the state of the EU already loom large. French Prime Minister Francois Hollande said they could lead to "regression and ...

FocusEU cohesion policy: 'No more business as usual'

22.10.13 @ 09:13

The EU has revamped its regional aid policy leaving national programmers nervous about the more rigorous rules designed to put a halt to the redundant motorways and superfluous airports of previous years. Very much ...

Interview'If it's public money, it has to be visible'

21.10.13 @ 07:49

The EU's brand new ombudsman is planning a strategic shake up of the office taking it away from being a "dumping ground" for EU staff disputes to becoming a force for good governance in an EU capital awash with ...

Interview'National governments declining in importance'

17.10.13 @ 09:19

As more key powers are transferred to Brussels, it poses an existential question for central governments. A recent study on public finances by the European Commission found that member states, even traditionally ...

FocusBrussels: An EU capital in the making

15.10.13 @ 09:26

It is possible to go to the European quarter in Brussels and think: how on earth did this happen? Why are there two motorways running between the European Commission headquarters and the European Parliament? Did city ...

Welfare tourism 'neither widespread nor systematic' in Europe

14.10.13 @ 16:13

EU citizens move from one member state to another overwhelmingly for work reasons and not to claim welfare, an EU study said Monday (14 October). The European Commission study is an attempt by Brussels to bring some ...

AgendaEnlargement in the spotlight this WEEK

11.10.13 @ 17:23

The European Commission will this week unveil its annual report on the state of further enlargement of the EU. The report will examine progress made by places hoping to the join the 28-member bloc, including the Western ...

FocusBringing high speed internet to the 'middle of nowhere'

10.10.13 @ 09:26

As Anne-Mari Leppinen tells it, her British colleague simply could not believe that cables allowing high speed access to the internet had been laid in the middle of a forest in remote western Finland. "He asked me: 'Do ...

France's National Front tops EU election survey

09.10.13 @ 17:52

France's National Front party has come out top in a poll on how French voters intend to cast their ballot in next year's EU elections. A poll by Ifop for Le Nouvel Observateur, published Wednesday (9 October), found ...

FocusArctic region to see greater focus in EU aid

09.10.13 @ 09:26

In September this year a container ship for the first time completed a trip from China to Rotterdam through the Russian Arctic. The captain docked in the Dutch port after a month of sailing and in the knowledge that his ...

FocusEducation report to 'scare' EU ministers into action

08.10.13 @ 16:30

Policy-makers are hoping a first-ever assessment of education standards across EU states will "scare the dickens" out of politicians as vast differences in standards and quality are revealed between countries. The study ...

FocusHahn: EU will 'not accept' wasteful regional projects

08.10.13 @ 09:13

The European Union commissioner in charge of regional aid, Johannes Hahn, has said billions of euros of EU taxpayers' money has in the past been spent with no clear strategy or benchmarks. Hahn told EUobserver that ...

FocusRisk of poverty greatest in Bulgaria

07.10.13 @ 18:00

Bulgaria has the highest percentage of citizens at risk of poverty in the EU, while the UK is home to the greatest wealth disparity between regions. According to statistics published on Monday (7 October) by Eurostat ...

Top-level discussion glum on state of EU

03.10.13 @ 17:25

A clutch of academics, policy-makers and politicians gathered in Brussels on Wednesday (2 October) for a glum and angst-ridden debate on the state of the European Union. The discussion contained many of the perennial ...

EU should not 'lecture' Africa on gay rights

03.10.13 @ 10:08

The EU's most senior official in charge of relations with Africa has said the European Union should stop lecturing the continent about gay rights. Nick Westcott, the managing director for Africa in the EU's diplomatic ...

Social 'scoreboard' to feature in eurozone governance

02.10.13 @ 17:28

The European Commission has proposed strengthening the social side of its eurozone governance amid fears the EU is in several member states becoming a byword for austerity and joblessness. In an ideas paper published ...

AgendaBrussels to focus on social justice this WEEK

27.09.13 @ 17:32

EU ministers will meet on Monday (30 September) in a general affairs Council to discuss ongoing negotiations with MEPs on the shape of the bloc's Cohesion Policy in 2014-2020. The two main sticking points are plans for ...

FocusMEPs agree cap on crop-based biofuels

11.09.13 @ 16:48

The European Parliament Wednesday (11 September) voted to cap the amount of crop-based biofuels that can be used to reach EU energy targets, but the changes have been criticized for being too limited and not solving the ...

Barroso's 'State of the Union' hits sombre note

11.09.13 @ 11:25

European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday (11 September) gave a subdued assessment of the European Union, saying the biggest risk to its future is lack of political commitment. Barroso's fourth "State of ...