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OpinionCommon European investment programme needed

Today @ 18:30

Investments had to make it to the top of agenda sooner or later. Low growth, deflation risks, high unemployment, and decreasing investments levels indicate that something is still wrong. The diagnosis and policy ...

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 ...

EU still undecided on France deficit

24.11.14 @ 09:22

Fiscal hawks and doves within the EU commission and member states continue to disagree on how to deal with France's budget deficit, seen as a credibility test for the EU. A meeting of heads of cabinets of EU ...

German commissioner provokes French wrath

21.11.14 @ 18:11

German commissioner Guenther Oettinger has drawn ire from French politicians after urging budget rigour and calling France a "deficit recidivist", in an op-ed published in French daily Les Echos on Thursday (20 November ...

Netherlands to pay EU top-up bill this year

21.11.14 @ 16:34

The Netherlands is paying its extra EU bill, a net payment of €642 million, before the end of 2014, well ahead of the extended deadline of 1 September 2015. Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem has told Dutch media that ...

Ministers face new battle over next year's EU budget

13.11.14 @ 19:04

Finance ministers will meet in Brussels on Friday (14 November), as EU lawmakers face yet another race against time to seal agreement on the bloc's spending plans. The main item on the agenda will be to broker a ...

Brussels offers interest-free delays for EU budget top-ups

12.11.14 @ 19:09

EU budget commissioner Kristalina Georgieva announced on Wednesday (12 November) a proposal which will allow countries like the UK and the Netherlands more time to pay their EU bills. The proposal will give them more ...

UK, Netherlands get nine extra months to pay EU bill

07.11.14 @ 17:40

EU finance ministers on Friday (7 November) extended until 1 September 2015 a deadline for contributions to the EU budget, given the "unusually" high corrections this year. The corrections are made automatically each ...

Low expectations on UK bill compromise

07.11.14 @ 09:25

EU finance ministers are meeting on Friday (7 November) amid low expectations of clinching a deal that would allow the UK and the Netherlands to pay their outstanding bills to the EU budget in instalments. The UK has a ...

Auditors refuse to sign off EU spending for 20th year in a row

06.11.14 @ 09:28

Almost €7 billion of the EU budget was illegally spent in 2013, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) revealed on Wednesday (5 November), as it declined to sign off EU spending for the 20th consecutive year. Although the ...

'Political' commission starts work with nod to past

03.11.14 @ 16:42

The new European Commission started work Monday (3 November) amid promises to be more political by making commissioners defend new laws to the public. President Jean-Claude Juncker, a veteran EU politician who regularly ...

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 ...

France offers new cuts to meet Brussels' demands

28.10.14 @ 09:25

France and Italy outlined extra measures to cut their budget deficits on Monday as they backed away from a full scale confrontation with the European Commission. French finance minister Michel Sapin announced new ...

InterviewJuncker's €300bn is beginning of 'fiscal union'

27.10.14 @ 09:26

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker's €300 billion investment plan is laying the ground for a fiscal union although no one dares call it such yet, according to a top EU official. Laszlo Andor, in charge of ...

EUobservedWhen two worlds collide

27.10.14 @ 09:19

Two worlds collided at the end of last week. The shrill, uncompromising one of British politics and the technocratic, dry, world of the European Commission. From the get-go it was a vaguely ridiculous affair. There was ...

Cameron vows to reject €2 billion EU bill

24.10.14 @ 16:16

UK prime minister David Cameron has vowed to oppose "in every way possible" the extra €2.1 billion EU budget bill, which he said was "completely unjustified and unacceptable", in a row that dominated the second day of a ...

Cameron slapped with new €2bn EU bill

24.10.14 @ 09:47

David Cameron was presented with a new bill for €2.1 billion by the European Commission on Thursday (23 October) as he endured another embarrassing setback in the EU capital. The UK prime minister was told at Thursday's ...

Barroso clashes with Italy over published budget warning

23.10.14 @ 15:32

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso has hit out at Italy for publishing a letter the commission sent asking Rome to justify its budget for 2015. "It was a unilateral decision by the Italian government to ...

EU fiscal rules won't be changed, says Juncker

22.10.14 @ 19:55

The EU's rules on debts and deficits will not be re-written, Jean-Claude Juncker told MEPs in his first speech as European Commission president. “The rules will not be changed,” said Juncker, whose team was backed by ...

New accounting rules save EU deficit

21.10.14 @ 18:01

Budget deficits in the EU were within the limits set out in the bloc's stability pact in 2013 thanks to changes to accounting rules, the bloc's statistical agency Eurostat revealed on Tuesday (21 October). Eurostat ...

Sex and drugs drive EU growth surge

17.10.14 @ 09:23

Ask a politician in any EU country what they would give for an extra 2 percent on their nation's economic output without any policy changes, and you are likely to be offered a couple of limbs and a body part. Yet ...

Ministers play down French budget row

14.10.14 @ 09:28

EU finance ministers played down the prospect of a row with France at their monthly meeting on Monday (13 October), but insisted that the bloc's rules on budget deficits and debts had to be respected. Speaking with ...

Polish female economists: Apply now for EU job

02.10.14 @ 19:14

Interested in working for the European Union? Your best bet is if you are a Polish woman with a degree in economics or finance. That is, if the next commissioner for budget and human resources, Kristalina Georgieva ...

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 ...

EU budget running low on funds, commission warns again

17.07.14 @ 20:36

The European Commission has warned that it is running out of money again in the latest stand-off between the EU institutions over its unpaid bills. The EU executive says that the bloc’s budget faces payment gaps worth € ...

EU to revisit budget rules by year's end, says Eurogroup chief

20.06.14 @ 09:26

The European Commission and government ministers will re-assess the bloc’s rules on deficit and debt limits by the end of 2014, the eurozone’s lead official has said. But Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who ...

OpinionThe small price of democracy

17.06.14 @ 17:40

The Portuguese constitutional court recently rejected government spending cuts for the sixth time. In June 2012, the court stated that since a plan to limit extra holiday and Christmas pay was targeted only at public ...

EU must do 'more with less' in 2015

11.06.14 @ 18:54

Europe will have to do more with less, the bloc’s budget commissioner said Wednesday (11 June) as he unveiled the EU’s spending plans for 2015. The plans are worth €142.1 billion, up by €1.3 billion on projected ...

AnalysisFrance falls victim to EU's economic powers

03.06.14 @ 09:39

Being singled out for censure by the European Commission is nothing new for the government of Francois Hollande. But the timing of the latest veiled threat from Brussels could hardly be worse. Ten days ago Marine Le Pen ...

FocusEastern European projects at risk in EU budget spat

28.05.14 @ 19:57

Eight member states have signalled opposition to a European Commission request to increase the 2014 budget by €4.7 billion to cover late bills, primarily for infrastructure projects in eastern Europe. The funding gap ...

Greek records first surplus as EU moves closer to balanced budgets

23.04.14 @ 17:38

Cash-strapped Greece recorded its first primary budget surplus in a generation last year, according to data released by Eurostat on Wednesday (23 April). Excluding interest on its debt repayments and a number of one-off ...

Italy and France on EU's economic 'watch list'

06.03.14 @ 11:15

Italy and France were the major euro area countries put on the European Commission's economic "watch-list" over fears about persistently high debt and deficit levels. The two countries were among 14 nations deemed to ...

EU recovery "gaining ground", commission says

25.02.14 @ 18:22

The EU's economic recovery will gather speed in 2014 and 2015, the European Commission predicted on Tuesday (25 February), indicating that the worst of the economic storm which hit Europe is over. "Recovery is gaining ...

MEPs want to 'blackmail' commission candidates over EU budget

30.01.14 @ 17:58

Budget control committee MEPs want future commissioners to take a tougher line on how member states spend EU funds. They say they will make this a key part of their assessment of new commissioners, due to start work in ...

No conflict of interest at EU food agency, director says

21.01.14 @ 10:16

The head of the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa), Bernhard Url, has rebuffed allegations that his staff is too close to industry. Speaking to MEPs in the budgetary control committee on Monday (20 January), he said ...

OpinionIreland and Greece prove the naysayers wrong

22.11.13 @ 17:37

Irish Premier Enda Kenny has announced his country will exit its bailout programme in December. When he took office in 2011, Ireland’s budget deficit was over 30 percent of GDP. Narrowing it to projections of 7.3 ...

Greece to push through 2014 budget without creditors' approval

21.11.13 @ 18:21

Greece's 2014 budget is set to hit the statute book without the approval of the country's creditors, after the country's government tabled its spending plans to the Greek parliament. The Greek government tabled its ...

MEPs finally back seven-year EU budget

20.11.13 @ 09:29

MEPs have approved the first-ever cut to the EU’s seven-year spending cycle in the bloc’s history, bringing to an end over a year of talks. The European Parliament voted for the €960 billion earmarked for the period ...

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 - ...

MEPs and ministers agree 2014 budget breakthrough

12.11.13 @ 09:27

The long-running dispute on EU spending has moved a step closer to compromise after ministers and MEPs agreed an EU budget for 2014. Under a deal clinched in the small hours of Tuesday morning (12 November), the 2014 ...

AgendaTrade and finance dominate Brussels this WEEK

09.11.13 @ 12:53

Trade and finance will dominate life in the Brussels bubble this week, with officials resuming the second round of talks on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the US on Monday (11 November). The ...

EU accounts and the Brussels blame game

09.11.13 @ 11:49

Like the rising of the sun and November rain in Brussels, the publication of the European Court of Auditors' annual report on EU accounts brings equally predictable accusations of fraud and rampant mismanagement. The ...

EU budget errors on the rise, watchdog says

05.11.13 @ 10:39

The EU spending watchdog, the Court of Auditors in Luxembourg, says overly complex rules on how to disperse EU funds means beneficiaries are receiving money they are not entitled to. “Simplifying rules is critical, you ...

National MPs protest EU public prosecutor idea

01.11.13 @ 11:34

National parliaments opposed to creating an EU-wide prosecutor want the European Commission to rework its flagship proposal, but EU officials say it is likely to go ahead. Chambers in 11 national parliaments got enough ...

OpinionThe real agenda behind cutting red tape

29.10.13 @ 09:00

One of the worrying issues that emerged from last week’s European Council in Brussels is the ‘cut red tape’ initiative promoted by UK Prime Minister David Cameron. The proposal, which was welcomed by other EU leaders, ...

MEPs agree 5 percent cuts in bid to break budget deadlock

24.10.13 @ 09:35

MEPs have agreed to a 5 percent cut to EU spending in 2014, as the bloc scrambles to get its books in order in time for the next seven year budgetary cycle. Deputies in the Strasbourg Parliament voted on Wednesday (23 ...

EU budget a step closer after €2.7bn deal

22.10.13 @ 09:53

Lawmakers have moved a step closer to a deal on future EU spending, despite growing ill will among institutions. The Lithuanian EU presidency, which is brokering the talks, said late on Monday (21 October) that EU ...

AgendaEU leaders in Brussels this WEEK

18.10.13 @ 17:31

EU heads of state will gather for a two-day summit in Brussels to discuss growth as MEPs in Strasbourg defer a scheduled vote on the seven-year EU budget until November. High on both agendas is the recent tragedy off ...

OpinionFinancialisation is on the march again

08.10.13 @ 12:15

It is very much open to question whether Albert Einstein could have got his head around the exotic financial instruments, the notorious ‘casino’ paraphernalia, that brought the global economic house down in 2008. But ...

IMF revives idea of eurozone 'rainy day fund'

26.09.13 @ 09:29

The idea of a eurozone-only fund, floated last year by EU leaders, has been revived in a study written by International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff and published on Wednesday (25 September). "The simplest way of ...