Hailed as "historic" by British Prime Minister David Cameron, the surprise world trade deal agreed over the weekend in Bali aims to lower the cost of exports by simplifying customs procedures and reducing import duties.
The World Trade Organization reached its first trade reform deal on 7 December to a roar of approval from nearly 160 ministers on the Indonesian island of Bali who had decided on the agreement, which could add $1 trillion (€730 billion) to the global economy.
European Commission President Juan Barroso has spoken with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on the phone to reiterate the need for a political solution to the current tensions, through dialogue with the opposition and civil society, the EC said in a press release on Sunday.
In the aftermath of the Lampedusa tragedy, in which hundreds of African migrants lost their lives, the EU's 28 home affairs ministers met in Brussels on Thursday (5 December) to come up with a set of measures to tackle massive migration, but seemed more focused on border security rather than refugees' protection.
Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in the Ukrainian capital Kiev seeking the resignation of the government for refusing a deal on closer ties with the European Union. (c) BBC News | 08.12.13
The bilateral agreements for the construction of the Gazprom-favoured South Stream gas pipeline – concluded between Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria – are all in breach of EU law and need to be renegotiated from scratch, the European Commission said today (4 December).
The bulletins started arriving from President Viktor F. Yanukovich’s news service at 6 a.m. Ukraine time on Wednesday — not with updates about the besieged public buildings or the occupation of Independence Square here by thousands of protesters — but with news of his visit to the Museum of Qin Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses in Xi’an, China.
Ukraine’s struggling gas company Naftogaz said yesterday (3 December) that it had agreed with Russia’s Gazprom to defer payments for gas deliveries to spring next year, the Russian agency RIA Novosti reported. Ukraine, a country on the brink of default, remains highly dependent on Russian gas, experts told EurActiv.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich is set to head to China today (3 December), leaving a country plunged into crisis by his decision to forego a free trade deal with the EU under pressure from Russia. After China, Yanukovich will travel to Russia, his prime minister confirmed.
British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in China saying he would advocate a multi-billion-dollar free trade deal between Beijing and the European Union, stoking tensions with the EU executive which condemned the move as premature. (c) EurActiv | 03.12.2013
Vilnius' beautiful old town is alive with flags and symbols of the European Union ahead of the "Eastern Partnership" summit starting on Thursday (28 November), but the real drama has been played out far from the Lithuanian capital.
European leaders will come face-to-face with Viktor Yanukovich on Thursday for the first time since the Ukrainian president spurned their offer of a free-trade deal and decided to seek closer ties with Russia instead.
Following the Ukraine’s refusal to sign an association agreement with the EU, Europe cannot afford to lose the confidence of other Eastern Partnership countries. At the upcoming Vilnius summit, it must send a clear political message to Moldova and Georgia, writes Die Welt.
Germany's upcoming government will not change its eurozone policy, but wants more powers for the bloc's foreign service and a "special relationship" with Russia, according to a draft coalition agreement to be signed off on Wednesday (27 November).
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said financial terms offered by the European Union to convince him to close a key political and trade deal with the bloc had been humiliating and that he would wait for improved conditions before agreeing on anything.
The upcoming Eastern partnership summit in Vilnius will have to settle for a much less ambitious agenda than initially anticipated after Ukraine turned its back on an association agreement and free trade pact with the EU, writes Nicolas Gros-Verheyde, editor of Bruxelles2.eu blog.
Canada and Norway failed to overturn a European Union ban on their seal products on Monday (25 November) when the World Trade Organization ruled the bloc had a right to outlaw imports of the furs on moral grounds.
In today’s dead-tree edition of the FT, we report on a draft of a stinging report the European Commission will issue Wednesday which could send shock waves through the US tech industry: unless the Obama administration changes the way it handles online data of European citizens, American companies like Google and Facebook will have to find another way to do business in the EU.
The European Commission fears Europe's relative economic weakness and division caused by the upcoming European Parliament elections could spark an ACTA-style popular rejection of a trade agreement with the US, according to a leaked internal EU document.
EU leaders on Thursday and Friday (28-29 November) will try to avoid a fiasco at a summit in Vilnius with eastern neighbours after Ukraine last week opted for closer ties with Russia rather than the European Union.
By turning down the chance on November 21 to sign the association agreement proposed by the EU at next week’s Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Kiev is turning its back on Europe and succumbing to the political and economic pressure of Russia, believes the European press.
One can always count on Ukrainian governments to renege and surprise. And so it did this time. On November 21st, one week before the European Union summit in Vilnius during which Ukraine was supposed to sign an association agreement, its government suspended talks with the EU.
Kyiv has decided to put its move for closer integration with the EU on hold in favour of talks to revive economic relations with Russia, one week before the country was expected to sign a landmark association agreement with the 28-country bloc in Vilnius.
China and the European Union will begin talks on a landmark treaty aimed at boosting investment that lags behind burgeoning trade and at tackling thorny market access issues, the two sides announced at a summit on Thursday (21 November).
EU trade negotiators are optimistic that they can secure a place for financial services regulation within key trade talks next week (27 November), offering some hope that this will help spur the US towards more convergence in international corporate reporting.
EU neighbourhood policy should not become a zero sum game in which the EU and Russia play tug-of-war over the former Soviet states, French officials say, expressing hope for the upcoming Eastern partnership summit. They stopped short of advocating the signature of the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine.
While the lead-up to the Vilnius Eastern partnership summit has focused on a mooted EU-Ukraine association agreement, another subject that is dear to Ukrainians will be discussed, free movement across the European Union.
Learning from past mistakes, the European Commission has changed tack on its approach to food security in the Horn of Africa, focusing on resilience to droughts and supporting diversification in local farming production.
Sept pays européens - France, Allemagne, Grèce, Espagne, Italie, Pays-Bas et Pologne - ont lancé à Bruxelles, mardi 19 novembre, un "club des utilisateurs de drones" à l'occasion d'une réunion des ministres de la défense.
After her dramatic visit to the epicenter of the Philippines disaster, On Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, spoke about the emergency and what she had witnessed.
The former republics of the Soviet Union have been sovereign, independent countries for almost 22 years, free to develop economic and political relations with any foreign nation or trading bloc they choose.
Ukraine's parliament on Tuesday was set to debate a bill to let jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko go abroad for treatment in a last-ditch attempt to save a crucial deal with the European Union.
Little appears to have changed in Germany's cautious approach to Ukraine's rapprochement to the EU, except that German politicians feel more free to criticise the short-sightedness of Berlin's external relations, both towards Moscow and Kyiv, since Angela Merkel regained power. EurActiv Germany reports.
European foreign and defence ministers will discuss how to deploy drones for civilian operations, ranging from disaster prevention to deterring human traffickers on the EU's borders, in a two-day meeting that opens in Brussels today (18 November) .
The European Union could finalise a trade agreement with West Africa's 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) within the next three months, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said yesterday (14 November).
For Ukrainians a Schengen visa is a golden ticket because it allows them to travel to the European Union. Many hope that an association agreement with the EU, if it is signed later this month, will make it easier for Ukrainians to travel westward. But at a time when Brussels should be reaching out to ordinary Ukrainians, visa-related incidents are damaging the EU's image.
The EU and the US today announced they will hold a second round of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks in Brussels next week (11-15 November), but the Commission insisted that data protection and secrecy will not be on the agenda.
The nuclear talks in Geneva between Iran and the five UN veto powers as well as Germany were postponed on Sunday. The three days of negotiations failed to produce the hoped-for agreement on a temporary freeze to Iran's nuclear programme.
Deputies in Ukraine's parliament squabbled on Thursday about the release of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, but there were no signs of a breakthrough on an issue that is threatening landmark agreements with the European Union.
European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs has announced the allocation of development aid amounting to €442 million to Chad and €623 million to Burkina Faso for the period 2014-20 during his visit in the Sahel region. The funds will be used for reforms concerning food and nutritional security, sustainable agriculture, health, the rule of law and sustainable management of resources.
Just days before the Vilnius summit, in the course of which Moldova is to sign an Association Agreement with the EU, tensions between pro-European and pro-Russian parties in the country are riding high. For a Romanian columnist, it is a deadlock that can only be broken by the prospect of accession.
At the start of next year, Belgrade will begin negotiations to join the EU. While Serbian authorities are intent on achieving this objective, it is not yet the subject of a consensus in Serbian society. However, it does stand to benefit from a strong economic argument.
Turkey and the European Union began a new round of membership talks on Tuesday (5 November), months after EU member states delayed them in protest over a Turkish crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.
Last week, the UN's independent expert on democracy, Alfred de Zayas, told the organistion's General Assembly that the UN should convene an international conference to debate the establishment of a World Parliamentary Assembly. Now it's the time for the EU to take a stand and support the proposal, write Jo Leinen and Andreas Bummel.
The launch of negotiations between Kosovo and the European Commission on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement is a significant step for the country, establishing direct relations with the EU, analysts said.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė yesterday (5 November) warned Russia to stop its ban on Lithuanian dairy products or face EU action in the World Trade Organization (WTO) amidst media smears and fears of gas supply interruption against the small Baltic state.
L'Union européenne et la Turquie ont ouvert mardi à Bruxelles un nouveau chapitre des négociations d'adhésion de ce pays, affirmant leur volonté d'accélérer le processus, mais dans un contexte d'atteintes aux droits de l'homme et de la liberté de la presse.
Foreign debt cancellations are expected to reach new highs in France's 2014 development aid budget, with Somalia, Zimbabwe, Chad, Ivory Coast and Sudan in line for a complete deletion of their national debt.
In the wake of the brutal murder of two French journalists in Northern Mali, the European Commission, UN and World Bank pledged on Monday (4 November) to increase its financial assistance for the Sahel.
Due to its strategic location, Cyprus has long been a hotspot for spies. The British secret service has located one of its main listening posts on the island: complete with a staff of agents disguised as tourists, who, in partnership with their American colleagues, intercept optic fibre cables that channel communications between the Middle East and Europe.
Turkey and the European Union will open Chapter 22, which concerns regional policy and the coordination of structural instruments, on Tuesday at the Intergovernmental Accession Conference, thus ending a three-year hiatus in Turkey’s accession talks.
Stefan Fule, the EU commissioner for enlargement and neighborhood policy, will pay a visit to Turkey this week, in the wake of the annual progress report released by the European Commission on Oct. 16. Fule will participate in a conference in Istanbul and hold official talks in Ankara on Nov. 8.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he saw no reason for Moscow to cut gas supplies to Ukraine over an unpaid bill for now, playing down talk of an imminent "gas war" that might disrupt gas flows to Europe.
China on Wednesday (30 October) has relaunched a long-running dispute with the European Union over steel bolts and screws, complaining that Brussels has not brought anti-dumping measures on the product into line with a trade panel ruling.
The European Union does not negotiate in the area of human rights, which is a sovereign issue dealt with by the Moroccan government, the former EU ambassador to Morocco, Eneko Landaburu, told EurActiv in an interview.
European Union mediators resumed a push on Tuesday to secure the release of jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, with EU politicians warning time was running out before the signing of a landmark trade agreement next month.
Après trois années inactives, l’arme énergétique russe reprend ainsi du service à quelques jours de la signature de l’accord d’association de l’Ukraine avec l’Union européenne, attendue au sommet de Vilnius le 28 et 29 novembre. Un hasard. Face aux pressions russes, le soutien européen se fait pourtant attendre…
Opinion Article - Like the curious incident of the dog that didn’t bark in the nighttime in the classic Sherlock Holmes story Silver Blaze, the most revealing thing about the latest NSA spying revelations which made world headlines last week was the non-barking of the UK.
The EU has cautioned Georgia against applying selective justice during a visit to Brussels by President Mikheil Saakashvili. Speculation has arisen that Tbilisi may bring charges against the leader when he leaves office.
Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding yesterday (29 October) issued a stark warning that data protection should be kept off the agenda of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). But EurActiv understands that US pressure is mounting to keep the debate open on data issues.
Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) met today with José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, to discuss strategic partnership between the two institutions, the humanitarian situation in Syria, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Afghanistan, and other issues of mutual concern.
In Europe there are still prejudices about Serbia. That can be changed if you speak the truth’, Alfred Guzenbauer, Advisor to Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic says in his interview with Blic. Guzenbauer is in charge of improvement of Serbia’s image.
The European Union is weighing Israeli proposals for compromise language with regard to its guidelines against West Bank settlements that would allow the two entities to continue to sign cooperative agreements.
Le Japon et l'Union européenne (UE) ont confirmé lundi que les deux parties devraient promouvoir la coopération bilatérale dans les domaines de l'économie et des affaires régionales, ainsi que sur les questions de sécurité, a rapporté la presse locale.
Viewed from Europe, the NSA spying scandal is eroding US credibility and standing. But from the other side of the Atlantic, it is the EU’s continuing inability to solve the economic crisis that is worrying American decision-makers.
A little-known ally of billionaire Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili won a landslide victory in Georgia's presidential election yesterday (27 October), cementing the ruling coalition's grip on power after Mikheil Saakashvili's ten-year rule.