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Mar 13, 2015

EU’s Juncker pushes for deal with Greece

BRUSSELS, March 13 (Reuters) – EU chief executive
Jean-Claude Juncker and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
called on Friday for European governments to show solidarity
with Greece and resolve a credit crunch that risks dumping it
out of the euro zone.

Their comments, as the bloc’s German paymaster presses its
demands that Athens’ new leftist government honour commitments
to international creditors, highlighted Juncker’s concern over a
risk of grave damage to the EU, but may also fuel suspicion in
Berlin that the EU Commission could try to water down any deal.

Mar 11, 2015

France wins battle of Waterloo, as coin is tossed

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Two hundred years after Napoleon’s ambitions to rule Europe died at Waterloo, France won a small battle on Wednesday to prevent the minting of a euro coin commemorating an event that shaped today’s continent.

Belgium withdrew a proposal to strike a special 2-euro piece in honor of the Anglo-Dutch-German victory outside Brussels on June 18, 1815, an EU official said, averting an EU ministerial vote after Paris objected on the grounds that glorifying a time of conflict ran counter to efforts to foster European unity.

Mar 11, 2015

NATO chief says Russia still equipping Ukraine rebels

MONS, Belgium (Reuters) – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that Russia was still arming and training rebel forces in eastern Ukraine and he called for the warring parties to help foreign monitors to reinforce a ceasefire.

Asked at a news conference about a U.S. diplomat’s remark that Russian tanks had crossed into Ukraine in recent days, he declined specific comment on that but said: “We … still see Russian presence and strong support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine. We see the delivery of equipment, forces, training. And so Russia is still in eastern Ukraine.

Mar 6, 2015

Greece wants immediate talks with Troika on bailout, eyes follow-up deal

BRUSSELS, March 6 (Reuters) – Greece asked euro zone
countries on Friday for an immediate start of technical talks
with international creditors on the first batch of reforms that
would help conclude its current bailout programme and allow the
disbursement of more loans.

The request marks a softening of Greece’s stance. Until now,
it has rejected talks with the three institutions that have
supervised it so far — the European Central Bank, European
Commission and the International Monetary Fund — on
implementing reforms.

Mar 6, 2015

EU drops sanctions on Yanukovich’s security chief

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union has dropped sanctions imposed last year on the head of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s security service, according to a legal notice published on Friday.

Oleksandr Yakimenko, who ran Ukraine’s SBU security service until the bloody street protests that forced Yanukovich from power, was one of four people whose assets were frozen a year ago but whose names were absent from an EU list of those on whom sanctions were renewed for a further period.

Mar 5, 2015

EU extends Yanukovich asset freeze, drops sanctions on some allies

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union said on Thursday it had extended a freeze on the assets of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and 17 others suspected of stealing from the Ukrainian state.

It will also will lift current sanctions on four people. Diplomats said legal proceedings in Ukraine had not produced enough evidence of their role in misappropriating funds which Kiev’s new leaders allege ran into tens of billions of dollars.

Mar 4, 2015

No EU-German rift with ‘my friend Angela’, says Juncker

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker poked fun at talk of friction between himself and German Chancellor Angela Merkel as he held his second meeting this week with Europe’s most powerful government leader.

“My friend Angela”, as she was described by the European Commission president at a Brussels news conference on Wednesday, also went out of her way to talk of “friendship” and praise the EU executive’s work since Juncker took over five months ago.

Mar 3, 2015

Russia bars two EU dignitaries from Nemtsov funeral

MOSCOW/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Russia barred entry to two European Union politicians who had planned to attend a funeral on Tuesday of murdered opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, prompting accusations the Kremlin was using the killing to score petty political points.

Moscow did not give explanations for refusing entry into Russia to the two officials, but said some Europeans were on a blacklist drawn up in retaliation for Western travel restrictions imposed on Russians close to the Kremlin.

Mar 3, 2015

EBRD agrees Greek lending till end-2020, no upper limit

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Tuesday its shareholders had voted unanimously to start providing investment and funding support to Greece for the next five years.

Bank President Suma Chakrabarti said there would be no defined upper limit to its spending in Greece and that it would depend instead upon the projects proposed.

Mar 2, 2015

Russia and Ukraine to discuss summer gas supplies late this month

BRUSSELS/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia and Ukraine have agreed to discuss a “summer package” of gas supplies late this month, with Kiev winning an assurance at Monday’s EU-mediated talks in Brussels that it would not pay for energy delivered to rebel-held areas.

A “winter package” of Russian gas for Ukraine, brokered and part-financed by the European Union, runs out at the end of the month. EU officials are mediating after mutual allegations of reneging on the deal and want to arrange summer supplies despite the conflict over the pro-Russian revolt in eastern Ukraine.

    • About Alastair

      "Editor for political and general news across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In 21 years with Reuters, have reported widely on conflict, elections, society, economics, culture and sport from postings in Paris, Moscow, Berlin, London, Baghdad and Jerusalem."
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