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Catalonia: 1.6mn vote for independent state

10.11.14 @ 09:25

Over 1.6 million Catalans voted in favour of independence on Sunday (9 November) in an informal poll. More than 80 percent of the 2 million people that cast a vote in the consultation, answered Yes to both questions: “ ...

Defiant Catalonia holds independence poll

08.11.14 @ 09:14

There is a certain feeling of excitement in the air, the kind which makes the hairs on the skin stand up. Something big is about to happen. Red and yellow striped flags can now be found all over Catalonia, hanging on ...

OpinionMadrid, Barcelona and the war of Spanish secession

07.11.14 @ 14:50

On the day Germans will be celebrating reunification, Spaniards will be focused on whether their country is about to fall apart. On Sunday, 9 November, Catalonia, Spain’s most prosperous region, will vote in a non- ...

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 ...

FocusLondon's forgotten city siblings

15.10.14 @ 09:07

Will English cities gain new powers from a new UK devolution settlement? That is one question following the Scottish referendum. A popular line among independence campaigners was that Scotland had been getting poorer as ...

FocusScotland, Catalonia boost independence movements in Europe

14.10.14 @ 07:29

The pro-independence referendum in Scotland might have failed and the upcoming public consultation in Catalonia may be illegal under Spanish law, but their energetic campaigns have inspired movements elsewhere, says ...

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 ...

FocusBetter together - a new hope for a federal Europe

08.10.14 @ 08:23

The victory of the No in the referendum on Scotland's independence has saved the United Kingdom. However, it is clear that post-referendum UK will be different from pre-referendum UK. This is because, after promises of ...

Scots to back independence, shock poll says

08.09.14 @ 07:58

Scotland is poised to vote Yes on leaving the UK after an opinion poll gave pro-independence campaigners a shock lead. Just days before Scotland's four million voters go to the polls on 18 September to decide whether to ...

Choose between pound or EU membership, Rehn tells Scots

03.09.14 @ 09:26

An independent Scotland would have to choose between using the pound and joining the EU, the bloc's former economic affairs commissioner has said. In a letter to the UK's treasury minister Danny Alexander released on ...

Valencia faces EU probe over dodgy statistics

12.07.14 @ 18:48

The European Commission has launched a probe into whether the Spanish region of Valencia is guilty of the first case of statistical fraud since the Greek crisis in 2009. The investigation, which will look at years worth ...

City of London richest EU region

28.02.14 @ 09:20

With wealth three times greater than the EU average, inner London - home to the EU's largest financial sector- is the bloc's richest region. Luxembourg, another financial powerhouse, is second at 266 percent of the EU ...

OpinionThe variable geometry of national sovereignty

18.12.13 @ 07:51

The release of the Scottish government’s White paper at the end of November raised the temperature of the debate on Scotland’s independence. The referendum will be held in September 2014 and could lead to independence ...

OpinionCities show leadership on Roma inclusion

11.12.13 @ 09:00

Roma migrants often gravitate towards cities. Like other migrants, they know that metropolitan areas offer greater opportunities for employment and upward social mobility. Cities also offer access to better, more ...

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 ...

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'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 ...

FocusNew regional focus magazine

09.10.13 @ 08:47

It is October 2013 and the eve of a new long term budget cycle for the European Union. The past years have been marked by record unemployment and stagnant growth. The dominant EU theme has been budget-slashing and doing ...

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 ...

OpinionWould an independent Catalonia remain in the EU?

30.09.13 @ 10:01

On 11 September 2013, 2 million Catalan citizens reached out forming a human chain over 400 kilometres long. This impressive demonstration, known as “Catalan Way to Independence,” showed, once again, that a huge ...

InterviewRegional funds may be linked to pension reforms

22.07.13 @ 16:39

Linking EU regional funds to economic reforms is "fair" because it applies to both euro and non-euro states, regional policy commissioner Johannes Hahn told EUobserver in an interview Friday (19 July). "Macro-economic ...

FocusMEPs against macro strings on regional spending

10.07.13 @ 21:33

The European Parliament is opposing demands by a German-led group of countries to link the payment of EU regional funds to how countries sticks to macroeconomic reforms. The regional affairs committee of the European ...

FocusLocal politicians urged to pick up the slack on climate policy

25.06.13 @ 08:49

Film star and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unleashed lashings of can-do attitude on a group of European mayors in Brussels on Monday (24 June), saying it is up to local politicians to tackle climate ...

FocusEU commission tightens rules on regional state aid

20.06.13 @ 09:28

The European Commission Wednesday (19 June) released new rules on granting regional aid in a bid to make it more attractive for companies to locate to poor areas in the EU. The reforms, prompted by the EU's struggling ...

EU pledges aid to flood victims

04.06.13 @ 09:18

The European Commission says it is ready to unleash funds to help the thousands affected by one of the worst floods to hit Europe in a decade. Six people are reported dead in the Czech Republic with another two dead in ...

FocusGermany and Greece: huge gulf in youth unemployment

23.05.13 @ 09:26

The German government on Wednesday (22 May) announced a series of conferences and bilateral programmes to help youngsters from Spain, Portugal and Greece find a job, as regional statistics show 17 times more unemployed ...

FocusPoorest regions get least out of EU funding

19.04.13 @ 17:40

Countries with a poor public administration are absorbing less EU cohesion funds, meaning some of the poorest regions are getting the least out of the available money, the EU commission has said. "Results are sometimes ...

OpinionAn EU budget for recovery and Europe’s citizens

30.01.13 @ 08:24

Europe is at a critical juncture, both economically and politically. Governments at all levels continue to feel the squeeze on public resources. The next long term budget for the EU must reflect this by directing EU ...

OpinionTowards a plausible EU response to breakaway regions

08.01.13 @ 09:52

Despite claims to the contrary, the EU is essentially a union of nation states, and it will remain such until there is a radical overhaul of the acquis communautaire, which, at present at least, is not foreseen. There ...

All eyes on Catalan election

23.11.12 @ 16:39

Catalans will cast their vote for a new regional assembly on Sunday (25 November) in an election that could have considerable consequences for Catalonia and the rest of Spain. Catalan separatist parties wishing to split ...

EU budget in disarray after MEPs veto talks

14.11.12 @ 08:00

EU spending plans for 2012 and 2013 are in disarray after talks between ministers and MEPs collapsed on Tuesday (13 November). With eight EU countries unwilling to agree to the European Commission's demand for an extra ...

Catalan leader asks EU for answers on independence

08.11.12 @ 09:25

Catalan leader Artur Mas on Wednesday (7 November) challenged the EU's ambivalence on the rise of regionalism in the Union by saying it would be "illogical" not to accept small, rich, pro-EU Catalonia as an automatic ...

Commission ducks questions on separatism in EU states

15.10.12 @ 17:38

The European Commission is refusing to be precise about the potential EU future of separatist-minded regions, as Flemish nationalists made gains in Belgian local elections and Scotland formally agreed an independence ...

FocusMiffed Croatian region fears unequal access to EU money

15.10.12 @ 09:09

For English-speakers it is a somewhat unfortunate acronym covering a dull-sounding issue. But for member states, Nuts - the EU system for statistically dividing up regions - is the key to access deep pots of money. ...

FocusRegions feel the pinch

12.10.12 @ 07:20

Looking to save a buck in every corner of the budget, EU countries are now pointing their arrows at subnational governments, a new study has found. The study, carried out by Dexia Credit Local and presented in September ...

FocusCulture increasingly seen as path to economic growth

12.10.12 @ 07:20

With a little imagination and some creative interpretation of guidelines on how to spend EU aid, some cities and regions are pulling themselves up by the bootstraps and turning themselves into cultural - and money- ...

FocusEU commission to tighten rules on state aid to regions

11.10.12 @ 19:56

Competition and regions have always been uncomfortable policy bedfellows, but scarce public money is making it harder to draw up guidelines on when and how state aid should be invested. In the European Commission ...

FocusRanking the regions: people live longest in Navarre

08.10.12 @ 08:43

The Bulgarian region of Severozapaden, meaning "northwest," is the poorest in the EU. The people there have little over a quarter of the average purchasing power of people elsewhere in the Union. By contrast, those who ...

AnalysisEU regionalist parties - speech is silver, silence is golden?

08.10.12 @ 08:43

“A new state, if it wants to join the European Union, has to apply to become a member of the European Union like any state” European Commission President Barroso said mid-September. He was replying to a question on ...

FocusCatalan separatist looks to crisis with hope

08.10.12 @ 08:42

It is often said that on the long and winding road to European union, it takes a crisis to move ahead. Now the same may be true for regional independence. Europe has always had its share of movements calling for the ...

FocusRegions & Austerity

08.10.12 @ 08:41

For one week every year European regions are in the spotlight. It’s called Open Days, lasts a week, and is dedicated to all issues regional and local. From every corner of the continent, thousands of local leaders and ...

FocusRegional funding at stake as EU states battle over budget

08.10.12 @ 08:41

EU budget negotiations are famous for bringing out the worst of what's-in-it-for-me politics. Every seven years, the EU's coffers need to be refilled. All governments contribute. The cash is then redistributed among ...

Catalan region renews call for independence

12.09.12 @ 18:02

One and a half million people gathered in Barcelona on Tuesday (11 September) demanding independence from Spain. It was the biggest self-rule rally ever in Catalonia. Under the slogan "Catalonia, a new state in Europe," ...

OpinionFor the United Statelets of Europe

01.08.12 @ 17:58

Alfred Heineken did more than just brew beer. He also thought about things, like the future of Europe and how best to proceed. "I propose a United Europe of 75 states," he wrote in a pamphlet published in the summer of ...

VideoMany Irish unaware of upcoming referendum

05.04.12 @ 12:04

Prime Minister Enda Kenny says voting in favour of the fiscal compact treaty on 31 May will secure Ireland's role in the eurozone and give the country access to the EU's long term bailout fund, the ESM. Others, such as ...

OpinionDemocracy - what's the alternative?

10.02.12 @ 16:49

It was with interest that I read the article by Derk Jan Eppink 'Two EU bodies spending money like no tomorrow.' As President of the ALDE group in the Committee of the Regions, I am not in a position to comment on the ...

OpinionTwo EU bodies spending money like no tomorrow

08.02.12 @ 09:21

In these times of austerity when the EU Council, European Commission and the European Parliament are making efforts to cut costs, there are two EU bodies operating under the radar whose budgets have been increasing in ...

FocusBarroso launches Portuguese Capital of Culture against backdrop of budget cuts

24.01.12 @ 17:16

Portuguese city Guimaraes launched the start of its year as European Capital of Culture (ECOC) on Saturday (21 January) against a backdrop of budget cuts which threaten to derail the success of the event. The city ...

FocusEU to link regional funds to strict deficit rules

06.10.11 @ 17:41

The EU commission on Thursday (6 October) proposed that from 2014 onwards, the bloc's structural funds for poorer regions be linked to strict budget deficit rules under the new economic governance legislation. In line ...