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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. ...

New commissioners file written replies ahead of EU hearings

29.09.14 @ 09:45

Ahead of parliamentary hearings due to kick off on Monday (29 September), the new commissioners-to-be have replied in writing to questions from MEPs. The written answers, seen by EUobserver, give reassurances and seek ...

OpinionThe struggle for democratic oversight in the EU

29.09.14 @ 09:18

Hundreds of parliamentarians from across Europe, both from national parliaments and the European Parliament (EP), are gathering in Rome on Monday (29 September) in a bid to improve parliamentary oversight of EU policy ...

AgendaEP starts grilling new commissioners This WEEK

26.09.14 @ 19:03

The European Parliament will start grilling incoming EU commissioners this week, with the most problematic ones scheduled for Wednesday (1 October). All 27 members of Jean-Claude Juncker's team of commissioners will ...

EUobservedDeath by 'hearings'

26.09.14 @ 08:57

Please make it stop. Or should that be start? In the absence of news – aside from the stuff that’s happening outside, beyond and despite Brussels – we have ‘hearings’. Commissioner hearings. It is a poor thing to fill ...

New Irish commissioner locked in legal spat with MEP

26.09.14 @ 08:14

Phil Hogan, due to be in charge of agriculture in the next EU commission, is locked in a legal spat with Irish MEP Nessa Childers. Hogan, who is also Irish, has threatened Childers with legal action over a letter she ...

MEPs prepare 'lively' hearings for new commissioners

25.09.14 @ 07:52

When the 27 new commissioners-to-be start their hearings in the European Parliament next week, the question is not if MEPs will reject one of them, but who it will be. "It would be for the first time in the history of ...

Greens write letter of complaint over new Spanish commissioner

24.09.14 @ 17:17

The Green faction in the European Parliament has written to incoming European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to raise concerns about the Spanish nominee for his team. The letter notes there are "mounting ...

OpinionCameron's logic calls for eurozone democracy

23.09.14 @ 15:23

Those who thought that a ‘no’ vote in the Scottish referendum on independence would end discussions on the United Kingdom’s institutional architecture were sadly wrong. What’s more, the outcome may indirectly influence ...

ECB ready to use more 'unconventional tools' to spur economy

22.09.14 @ 18:07

European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi has said he is prepared to use more unconventional measures to spur growth in the eurozone. "We stand ready to use additional unconventional instruments within our mandate, ...

EP gears itself up for hearings of new commissioners

17.09.14 @ 17:04

The European Parliament is preparing a set of "obstacle course" hearings for incoming EU commissioners with recent past form showing that at least one of the designates will fall by the wayside. Beginning later this ...

Big and small MEPs jostle in EU parliament

16.09.14 @ 09:29

The real work for the 751 newly elected MEPs will soon begin. In parliament, politicians who were elected with hundreds of thousands of preferential votes, will sit next to colleagues who received fewer than a thousand ...

MEPs threaten budget suspension over transparency

15.09.14 @ 09:29

A handful of MEPs are asking the parliament to withhold millions of euros from the European Commission to force greater transparency in the Brussels executive. The deputies say the commission is not serious in its ...

AnalysisSuccess of Juncker team depends on 'uber-commissioners'

10.09.14 @ 17:29

Incoming EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has come up with a canny distribution of portfolios for this new team but a layer of 'uber-commissioners' is potentially the most important change. While rumours and ...

Juncker set to unveil new commission

09.09.14 @ 18:06

The new EU commission chief, Jean-Claude Juncker, is to present his new team and their posts on Wednesday (10 September). With the carve-out of portfolios still ongoing on Tuesday, there is little certainty as to who ...