BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission said on Wednesday it had opened three in-depth investigations into tax decisions affecting Apple, Starbucks and Fiat Finance and Trade in Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg respectively.
The probes focus on whether decisions by authorities in the three European Union member states about corporate tax to be paid by the three companies comply with state aid rules.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO’s chief said on Tuesday he hoped European allies would commit to raising defense spending at an alliance summit in September in response to U.S. demands that Europe do more to protect itself in the face of a resurgent Russia.
The United States, which dominates the Western military bloc, has used the Ukraine crisis to raise pressure on its European allies to reverse a slide in defense spending since the 2008 financial crisis.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A NATO-led training mission in Afghanistan next year is likely to total about 12,000 soldiers, including about 8,000 Americans, while some 1,800 Americans will conduct counter-terrorism missions, a senior U.S. military official said on Wednesday.
The United States would also be keen to see participation in the counter-terrorism effort by nations with well-trained special forces, such as Britain or Australia, the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO’s top military commander accused Russia on Wednesday of destabilizing eastern Ukraine through the use of Russian-backed forces and demanded that it stop interfering.
While a majority of the troops Russia had close to the Ukrainian border – previously estimated by NATO at 40,000 – had withdrawn or were in the process of withdrawing, some appeared intent on staying, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander Europe, said.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urged NATO allies on Tuesday to raise their defense budgets in response to the Ukraine crisis, saying a slide in military spending could pose as much of a threat to the future of the alliance as any enemy.
He also called on allies to look at how their militaries were trained, equipped and structured to meet new security challenges, saying NATO should expect Russia to continue to test its resolve, even though it was withdrawing its troops from the Ukraine border.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO defense ministers will consider on Tuesday what longer term steps the alliance needs to take to bolster its eastern defenses and improve its ability to respond to the unorthodox tactics used by Russia in Ukraine.
In the three months since the Ukraine crisis erupted, the U.S.-dominated alliance has sent fighter planes and ships and stepped up military exercises to reassure eastern European allies alarmed by Russia’s actions, while making clear it has no intention of intervening militarily in Ukraine.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s decision to reduce U.S. troop numbers in Afghanistan means a NATO plan to train Afghan security forces throughout the country is guaranteed to last only until the end of next year, the U.S. ambassador to NATO said on Monday.
Obama last week outlined a plan to withdraw all but 9,800 American troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year and to pull out the rest by the end of 2016, ending a more than decade-old combat role triggered by the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
BRUSSELS/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s envoy to NATO on Monday accused the Western alliance of encouraging the use of force by the Ukrainian government in eastern Ukraine and of hampering efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis, Russian news agency RIA reported.
RIA quoted Alexander Grushko, who met ambassadors of NATO member states in Brussels, as saying “unprecedented” activity by the alliance near Russia’s borders was adding to tension and could undermine existing security arrangements.
PARIS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A 29-year-old Frenchman believed to have returned recently from fighting with Islamist militant rebels in Syria has been arrested for the killing of three people at Brussels’ Jewish Museum last month, prosecutors said on Sunday.
Mehdi Nemmouche was detained on Friday after a random check at a bus terminal in the French city of Marseille showed he was carrying a Kalashnikov rifle, another gun and ammunition similar to those used in the shooting last weekend, French and Belgian prosecutors said.
MOSCOW/BRUSSELS, May 22 (Reuters) – Russia said on Thursday
it was moving troops and military equipment from border regions
near Ukraine, but NATO said a large “coercive force” remained in
Russia has previously failed to keep promises to move troops
back from the frontier with eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian
separatists have declared independence.