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MEPs endorse Juncker investment plan despite criticism

26.11.14 @ 16:28

Most members of the European Parliament on Wednesday (26 November) endorsed Jean Claude Juncker's investment plan based on financial engineering, but critical voices said the scheme did not add up. Juncker defended the ...

EU lawmakers ponder 'unbundling' of Google

25.11.14 @ 09:30

EU lawmakers are considering whether to prevent Google and fellow search engines from being involved in other commercial activities on the Internet. The move would undermine the US firm’s dominance in the sector, with ...

EUobservedBillows of censorious hot air

25.11.14 @ 09:29

Everyone was there. (Well almost everyone). The right-hand man. The foreign policy chief. The walking-on-coals one. And, naturally, the motion man of the moment. He arrived a bit late though. But was very contrite - it ...

Juncker debate prompts scrap between pro- and anti-EU MEPs

25.11.14 @ 06:55

In a debate meant to be on confidence in the European Commission of Jean-Claude Juncker, eurosceptic MEPs traded insults with colleagues from pro-EU groups as much as with the former Luxembourg PM. The motion of censure ...

AgendaEU to unveil investment fund this WEEK

21.11.14 @ 16:19

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker is to unveil his highly-anticipated €300bn investment plan next week (24-30 November) with most of the focus set to be on how much is 'new' money and how much is just ...

Malmstrom: Trade deal needed to maintain Europe's living standards

19.11.14 @ 11:23

An ambitious free-trade deal with the United States will allow Europe to keep its place at the economic top-table, the bloc's new trade commissioner told MEPs on Tuesday (18 November). In her first speech on the planned ...

OpinionThe EU's hypocrisy toward Greece

19.11.14 @ 09:06

EU leaders have shown total contempt for their commitments to social and labour protections in their policy towards Greece Hypocrisy has traditionally been a privilege of the powerful in human societies. And hyprocrisy ...

ECB ready to buy government bonds, Draghi signals

17.11.14 @ 19:48

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi has indicated that he is prepared for the bank to buy government bonds if necessary to ward off a spiral of recession and deflation in the eurozone. Addressing MEPs on Monday (17 ...

EUobservedJuncker: 'It's not 'my' problem, it's 'our' problem'

14.11.14 @ 09:57

A level teaspoon of grudging credit where grudging credit is due. After completely fluffing his response to the LuxLeaks last week (i.e. by disappearing), the erstwhile Grand Duchy PM evidently realised that a G20 ...

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 ...

ECB takes control as EU bank supervisor

04.11.14 @ 09:27

The European Central Bank (ECB) formally assumes its new role as the chief supervisor of EU banks on Tuesday (4 November), a major milestone in the creation of the bloc's banking union. The making of the banking union, ...

EUobserved'Better than Belgium', or the long goodbye

31.10.14 @ 19:09

Bye bye. Bye. Bye then. Oh you’re still here? Just one more speech. Oh alright. Just one though. The outgoing EU commission seemed like it was permanently stuck in the “going, going” stage of a public auction. We’d been ...

Barroso, Rehn 'unfairly criticised' for eurozone austerity

31.10.14 @ 08:03

As Jose Manuel Barroso steps down as European Commission President (31 October), one of his few left-wing colleagues says that he was unfairly labelled as an austerity ideologue during his time in office. Laszlo Andor, ...

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 ...

Van Rompuy and Barroso leave EU stage with porcelain plates

24.10.14 @ 20:13

Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso said goodbye to EU leaders on Friday (24 October) after attending their final summit as presidents of the EU council and commission. For the Belgian Van Rompuy it marks almost ...

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 ...

VideoBarroso says goodbye to MEPs

22.10.14 @ 14:24

After 10 years as European Commission president, his most "emotional" moment was collecting the EU's Nobel Peace Prize, Jose Manuel Barroso told MEPs in Strasbourg on Tuesday (21 October) in his last speech 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 ...

Barroso bows out before MEPs

21.10.14 @ 17:48

Jose Manuel Barroso made his valedictory speech in the European Parliament on Tuesday (21 October) following 10 years in office, but few MEPs turned up to listen and those who did gave him a mixed review. Opting for a ...

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 ...

Far-right Polish MEP saves Farage group

20.10.14 @ 19:42

Nigel Farage’s eurosceptic group in the European Parliament has been saved by a Pole with unusual views on women. The so-called EFDD group said on Monday (20 October) that Robert Iwaszkiewicz, from Poland’s far-right ...

EU lawmaking down 40 percent in Barroso's second term

20.10.14 @ 18:22

The volume of EU lawmaking fell by nearly 40 percent in the last legislative term, according to an internal European Parliament paper. The European Commission adopted 658 proposals between 2009 and 2014, down from over ...

EUobservedSchadenfreude and fire-walking in the EP

17.10.14 @ 17:29

There was outright glee in the EP on Thursday (16 October). It was time to dust off everyone’s favourite German word for pleasure in the misfortune of others. It came with news that Ukip’s eurosceptic party in the ...

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 ...

FocusNew EU regional aid rules have inbuilt 'tensions'

16.10.14 @ 08:00

New rules governing how EU aid money is spent has already resulted in better thought-out projects, says the European Commission, but local politicians grumble that they continue to drown in red tape. In place for the ...

OpinionCheques, no balances: side-jobs in the European Parliament

15.10.14 @ 18:12

For the last few weeks, Brussels has been absorbed by the spectacle of the European Parliament grilling the nominees for the new European Commission. On the whole, MEPs have done a pretty good job in asking the right ...

InterviewBarroso defends his EU legacy, criticises 'anti-foreigner' eurosceptics

15.10.14 @ 10:32

With two weeks to go until he is formally out of office and, as of yet, with no fixed onward job, Jose Manuel Barroso is a politician concerned with his legacy. Having spent 10 years as the European Commission president ...

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 ...

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, ...

FocusEU regional projects see 'encouraging' shift in focus

10.10.14 @ 09:36

As he finishes up his mandate as EU regional affairs commissioner, Johannes Hahn says his "legacy" is getting member states to spend money on the real economy rather than hulking infrastructure projects. Under his watch ...

EUobservedAnd then there was Frans

09.10.14 @ 17:28

On Tuesday afternoon, at approximately 2.30pm Brussels time, the clouds parted. The sun broke out and through its rays it was possible to see ... Frans Timmermans. The Dutchman, apparently floating a few feet above ...

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 ...

Self-assured Dutch commissioner pledges to change EU culture

07.10.14 @ 18:40

Incoming top vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, sailed through his three-hour hearing in the European Parliament on Tuesday (7 October) answering fluently in five languages and avoiding MEPs' ...

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 ...

Euro not to blame for debt crisis, says commission nominee

06.10.14 @ 20:55

The euro is not to blame for the sovereign debt crisis which forced several EU countries into multi-billion euro bailouts, the next commissioner for the single currency told MEPs Monday (6 September). Speaking during ...

Three at-risk commissioners try to win over MEPs

06.10.14 @ 12:28

Three of the five commissioners that are facing difficulties in their European Parliament hearings spent their weekend doing homework, handing in elaborate responses running to thousands of words. The Hungarian (Tibor ...

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 ...

AgendaCommissioners to-be and bearded ladies This WEEK

03.10.14 @ 18:47

The European Parliament is once again at the centre of the action next week, as it completes the final rounds of hearings for the next European Commission and welcomes Eurovision song contest winner Conchita Wurst. The ...

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 ...

Role of commission vice-presidents unclear after week of hearings

03.10.14 @ 18:26

After the first week of EU commissioner auditions, 21 of the 27 have been grilled by MEPs, leaving five struggling - but how the new college will really function is only set to be revealed next week. Packing in five ...

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 ...

EUobserved'So how will you achieve world peace commissioner?'

02.10.14 @ 19:25

So how will you achieve world peace commissioner *designate*? Yes, the past four days have been all about Brussels’ political beauty pageant. Over three hours, and 45 questions (often padded out with more-or-less ...

Moscovici gets rough ride as commission hearings turn partisan

02.10.14 @ 17:20

French commission nominee Pierre Moscovici was the latest candidate to face a tough ride from MEPs, as the hearings for the EU executive became increasingly partisan. Moscovici, a former MEP who served as finance ...

France 'rejects austerity' in controversial budget

02.10.14 @ 07:33

France has put itself on a collision course with its EU partners after rejecting calls for it to adopt further austerity measures to bring its budget deficit in line with EU rules. Outlining plans for 2015 on Wednesday ...

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" ...

Investor clauses could be left out of EU-US trade deal

29.09.14 @ 18:50

The EU's likely next trade commissioner has signalled that controversial investor protection rules allowing companies to sue governments could ultimately be left out of a transatlantic trade deal with the United States. ...