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EU ElectionsFrom Slovakia to Belgium: a story of failing Roma policy

09.04.14 @ 10:02

A few weeks ago city authorities in Ghent, a vibrant city in the north of Belgium, were given a blunt warning. Social NGO Caritas Catholica told the municipality that hundreds or even thousands of Roma were about to ...

EU ElectionsDutch extremists in disarray after anti-Moroccan chant

24.03.14 @ 09:29

Will extreme right parties in Europe finally succeed in forming a group in the European Parliament? Chances were looking good until last Wednesday (19 March) when Dutch politician Geert Wilders led an anti-Moroccan ...

EU ElectionsBelgian PM feels the heat from left

24.02.14 @ 17:41

In Belgium the EU elections take place on the same day as the national and regional elections - a day that won't be a picnic for Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo. His socialist party (PS) is doing badly in opinion polls. The ...

EU ElectionsSuper Sunday: Belgians vote local, national, and European on same day

12.02.14 @ 10:59

Even in a loyal member state like Belgium, criticism of the EU has been on the rise in recent years. But most people - and their political representatives - remain staunchly pro-European This puts Bart De Wever, the ...

MEPs pressure Belgium on Afghan asylum seekers in Brussels

23.01.14 @ 18:43

Two MEPs are seeking parliament-wide support to pressure the Belgian government not to expel Afghans living rough in a Brussels-city-centre church. The head of the parliament’s leftist GUE group, Gabi Zimmer, along with ...

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 ...

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 ...

Belgacom downplays UK hacking allegations at EU hearing

04.10.13 @ 09:29

Belgian telecommunications firm Belgacom has played down revelations it was hacked by British intelligence. The state-owned company, which supplies services to EU institutions and whose subsidiary, Bics, handles data ...

EU officials feel little love for Brussels, survey says

09.07.13 @ 09:27

Expats who work for EU institutions in Brussels have few Belgian friends, think the city is "dirty" and plan to go home when their job ends. Municipal authorities in the EU capital published the findings on Monday (8 ...

Van Rompuy to retire from EU politics next year

18.03.13 @ 09:01

EU council chief Herman Van Rompuy on Sunday (17 March) said he will retire from politics when his mandate ends next year. "At the end of 2014, it's the end of my political career," the former Belgian prime minister ...

VideoActivists barge in on EU's economic headquarters

15.03.13 @ 15:14

While EU leaders met in Brussels for their traditional spring summit, thousands of trade unionists staged an afternoon of events to protest against austerity measures.

FocusAntwerp tax on foreigners attracts EU attention

28.02.13 @ 09:24

The city of Antwerp, in the Flemish-speaking north of Belgium, has imposed a special fee on ID cards for non-Belgians, including EU citizens, in a bid, according to one politician, to keep out foreigners. Non-Belgians ...

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 ...

Balkan visa-free regime under scrutiny

06.12.12 @ 09:29

EU ministers of interior are set to discuss visa policy in Brussels on Thursday (6 December) with several member states wanting to reintroduce visas for passport holders from Western Balkan countries. Austria, Belgium, ...

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 ...

Belgian diplomat suspected of being Russian spy

05.10.12 @ 18:07

The Belgian foreign ministry has suspended one of its people in Denmark due to a "security breach," amid reports he is a Russian spy. A Belgian spokesman told EUobserver on Friday (5 October): "We can confirm that an ...

French tax exiles flock to EU capital

27.09.12 @ 13:40

Marc Goldbrenner, a top salesman at Lecobel, a real estate agent in the Belgian and EU capital, says he has two or three meetings a week with French "fiscal exiles" keen to flee President Francois Hollande's new rich ...

InterviewIntelligence chief: EU capital is 'spy capital'

17.09.12 @ 09:17

"I stopped meeting him for lunch because all he did was ask questions and he never said anything about himself," a diplomat on the EU Council's working group for post-Soviet countries once told this website about his ...

InterviewBelgian intelligence chief talks to EUobserver: transcript

17.09.12 @ 09:17

EUobserver: In what way does the VSSE co-operate with the EU institutions and Nato? Alain Winants: Belgium hosts the institutions of two major international bodies - the EU and Nato, which is a great privilege but it's ...

Thousands of cracks found in Belgian nuclear power plant

17.08.12 @ 09:26

Belgium’s nuclear safety chief, Willy De Roovere, on Thursday (16 August) said there could be thousands of cracks in the reactor vessel of the ageing Doel 3 nuclear reactor situated 25 km outside Antwerp and 3 km from ...

US shames EU bank on money laundering

07.08.12 @ 17:25

New York state authorities have exposed a 10-year-long scam by one of the EU's oldest banks to launder money for Iranian clients. Benjamin Lawsky, the superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial ...

Flemish nationalist offers anti-burqa reward

07.06.12 @ 09:29

The European Network Against Racism (Enar), an NGO based in Brussels, has condemned a Flemish nationalist for offering a reward of €250 to anybody who reports Burqa-wearing women to the Belgian police. Filip Dewinter, ...

Flanders tells Moroccan migrants how to behave

15.05.12 @ 17:28

A new immigration kit for Flanders tells would-be immigrants that it does not rain money in Belgium, while giving the impression that Flemings are healthy-eating, spontaneity-adverse creatures tucked up in bed by 10pm ...

FocusEU scientists 'suppliers for the economy'

08.05.12 @ 11:56

Barbara van Dyck, a young bio-engineer from Belgium, will on Tuesday (8 May) appear before a judge in the Flemish town of Dendermonde to refute the public prosecutor’s allegations of conspiracy, destruction of property ...

Video'We still want change'

30.04.12 @ 08:50

People from all over the world are expected to take to the streets on 12 May to celebrate the first anniversary of the Spanish 'indignado' movement protesting economic austerity measures. Brussels-based 'indignados' ...

Belgium urges EU-wide probe into activities of Syrian diplomats

23.04.12 @ 09:29

Belgium has asked EU countries to investigate whether Syrian diplomats are making threats against opposition members inside Europe. Michel Malherbe, a spokesman for Belgian foreign minister Didier Reynders, told this ...

Ministers ponder creation of EU super-president

20.04.12 @ 09:16

Ideas kicking around in a reflection group of select EU foreign ministers include merging the roles of the EU Council and European Commission presidents. A senior EU source told this website following a meeting of the ...

Belgian far-right launch anti-immigrant website

10.04.12 @ 18:26

Belgium's Flemish far-right party, the Vlaams Belang, has launched a website inciting people to denounce migrants suspected of criminal activity, such as working on the black or abusing social security benefits. ...

Syrian intelligence accused of threatening people in EU capital

02.04.12 @ 18:38

The Belgian foreign ministry is to investigate allegations that Syrian intelligence is terrorising Syrian opposition expats in the EU capital. Foreign minister Didier Reynders told Belgian Liberal MEP Louis Michel on ...

VideoEuropean citizens' initiative becomes a reality

02.04.12 @ 09:10

On 1 April a new participative democracy tool came into effect in the European Union. The European Citizen's Initiative is being hailed as a potential breakthrough moment for relations between the Union and citizens. ...

'EU risks talking its way back into crisis'

27.03.12 @ 17:52

The EU's excessive tendency to talk itself down risks becoming a self-fulling prophecy, says the Belgian finance minister, who sees his country as something of a template for surviving the global economic crisis. With ...

VideoA day in the life of Sharon Bowles

19.03.12 @ 10:07

As chair of the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, British Liberal MEP Sharon Bowles is among the most influential people in Brussels.

VideoGreece likely to need third bail-out, warns economist

15.03.12 @ 18:16

After a historic debt restructuring, Greece was finally granted its second bail-out this week. Economist Sony Kapoor from think-tank Re-define believes that the success will be short-lived and another bail-out could be ...

VideoHundreds of Belgians say No to Acta

15.02.12 @ 15:41

Thousands of people gathered around Europe on Saturday (11 February) to protest against the international intellectual property enforcement treaty, ACTA. Protesters feel the law will give too much power to internet ...

VideoBelgian unions show solidarity with Greeks

15.02.12 @ 15:36

On Friday 10th February, Greek unions in Athens held a 48-hour general strike after the country's cabinet passed a package of austerity measures demanded by the "troika". To show solidarity, a selection of ...

VideoSnow and strike on summit day

30.01.12 @ 16:13

Unionists do not want the EU to tell Belgium how it should run its economic affairs. The president of the General Federation of Belgian Labour explains why.

Strike: Minimal disruption to EU summit

30.01.12 @ 09:29

Brussels' main airport was working as normal and access roads to the EU capital were open on Monday (30 January) despite a general strike on the day of the summit. The main airport in Zaventem cancelled some flights as ...

Brussels' new budget powers draw first rebuke

12.01.12 @ 17:49

The European Commission's sweeping new powers in budgetary oversight drew its first criticism on Thursday (12 January), when a Belgian minister said the EU institution lacks the democratic legitimacy to alter national ...

VideoMental health problems on the rise during financial crisis

22.12.11 @ 17:06

The number of suicides in Greece reached a pan-European high during the first half of 2011, according to figures recently released by the Greek health ministry. Experts believe the increase is due to the effects of the ...

VideoThe end of the euro - media hype or not?

05.12.11 @ 17:46

As EU leaders struggle to calm markets and stop the rot from spreading, the eurozone debt crisis is in the headlines each day. Some media have published pictures of blood-stained euro coins to indicate it could be game ...

VideoNew Belgian government welcomed by anti-austerity protests

05.12.11 @ 09:10

Over 50,000 Belgians from the three main trade unions took to the streets on Friday (2 December) to protest against the new government's budget proposals. Some held banners reading: "governments lie, banks rob and the ...

535 days later: Belgium close to government deal

01.12.11 @ 09:27

The longest government formation in the history of democracy came to an end Wednesday evening (30 November) when Belgium’s politicians agreed the last details of an accord that will guide them for the remaining two-and- ...

Belgium unveils budget deal under EU, market pressure

28.11.11 @ 10:35

Belgium may finally have a government after 530 days without one. While coalition talks have dragged on for months, a shock cut to the country's credit rating suddenly spurred agreement on a budget for 2012 in less than ...

Belgian bond costs soar after government talks fail

23.11.11 @ 09:28

The latest collapse in talks to form a government in Belgium has sent investors running, amid fears the core eurozone country could face similar problems to Greece. The country’s cost of borrowing money soared over five ...

VideoEuro crisis sees mixed views on the streets of Brussels

17.11.11 @ 08:10

This week, there is talk that Belgium, a founding member of the EU, could be one of the next to be pinched by the snowballing eurozone sovereign debt crisis. In this video, EUobserver asks some Belgians if this talk is ...

EU commissioner: Belgium could become the next Greece

14.11.11 @ 09:28

Belgian EU commissioner Karel De Gucht has warned that his country could be in line to suffer a Greek-and-Italian-type loss of market confidence if it does not quickly form a new government. "Italy and Greece have been ...

InvestigationInvestigative Report: Congo

01.11.11 @ 09:02

Congo is the country that benefits most from EU's development assistance. What is the country doing with the money, what are its most pressing problems and what lies ahead after November's general elections? EUobserver' ...

VideoGreek protestors call for Papandreou to step down

23.10.11 @ 19:21

"Greek people don't want any more loans", says Yiorgos Vassalos from the Greek solidarity movement in Brussels. Belgian police have water canons parked a stones throw from the protesters, who have been joined by some of ...

VideoThe eurozone crisis through the eyes of the 'indignados'

14.10.11 @ 17:08

While Eurozone leader frantically prepare for next week's crucial summit, members of the 'indignados' movement are organising daily activities to highlight inequalities in today's society.