Specialist Desk Editor, World Desk, London
Alastair's Feed
Jun 19, 2015

Waterloo handshakes as Europe marks bicentenary united

WATERLOO, Belgium (Reuters) – Descendants of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington shook hands at Waterloo on the 200th anniversary of a battle that ended French imperial hegemony over Europe and ushered in a century of fragile peace.

Belgium’s king and prime minister, hosting the celebrations, used the occasion on Thursday to hail the European Union, based a few miles away in Brussels, and characterised Waterloo, fought with great loss on June 18, 1815, as a turning point in the development of systems to manage the continent’s many states.

Jun 16, 2015

Juncker accuses Tsipras of twisting EU’s words to Greeks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Jean-Claude Juncker rebuked Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday, accusing him of giving his voters a deliberately distorted version of proposals the EU chief executive had made to resolve Athens’ debt crisis.

The flash of anger, as European Commission President Juncker prefaced an answer at a news conference by saying he cared about Greece’s people but not its government, was in sharp contrast to his previous efforts to befriend the novice leftist premier in the course of tortuous negotiations.

Jun 15, 2015

Europe unites for bicentenary of battle that made Napoleon history

WATERLOO, Belgium (Reuters) – Kings and commoners gather at Waterloo this week to mark the battle’s bicentenary in a show of European unity not seen for a major anniversary at the site since history changed course there on June 18, 1815.

Days of official ceremony, a music-and-fireworks spectacular and re-enactments of the bloody summer day that finally ended Napoleon’s French domination of the continent have been heralded by a flurry of academic reassessment of the conflict and renewed debate, and discomfort, over its meaning for Europe today.

Jun 11, 2015

Greece, EU powers agree to step up debt talks as crunch looms

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras held a new round of late-night talks with the leaders of Germany and France and agreed to intensify negotiations with Athens’ creditors ahead of a looming default at the end of the month.

The latest in a run of sleep-defying meetings in recent weeks was partly political theater, as all involved try to show their commitment to a deal – and avoid any blame for failing to avert a crunch that could unsettle the euro and the world economy. But Tsipras again said he saw a solution at hand.

May 24, 2015

As Russia growls, EU goes cool on eastern promises

RIGA (Reuters) – EU leaders meeting in Latvia’s capital Riga last week would have paid little heed to the rundown building across the street, seemingly unpainted since Brezhnev’s day, or the fading slogan daubed across its roof.

“You are not alone!” it yelled in Russian.

It might have been the mantra recited by the Europeans to six ex-Soviet neighbors at the so-called Eastern Partnership Summit, who went away with EU pledges of aid and trade.

May 22, 2015

EU, ex-Soviet neighbors patch over rifts with eye on Russia

RIGA (Reuters) – Looking over their shoulders at Russia, the European Union and six former Soviet neighbors patched up their differences to renew vows of cooperation in the interests of peace and security at a summit on Friday.

Meeting in Riga 18 months after the last Eastern Partnership gathering sparked the Cold War-style tug-of-war over Ukraine, Kiev and other aspirants to the European club won offers of aid and hopes of visa-free travel to the EU that fell short of promises of EU membership.

May 22, 2015

Germany, France usher Greece back to negotiating table

RIGA (Reuters) – European leaders told Greece on Friday to return to the negotiating table for “intensive work” to wrap up a reform agreement before cash runs out, sidestepping Athens’ demand for a comprehensive, long-term solution to its troubles.

With his country risking default in as little as two weeks, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras flew to Riga to press German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande for a political push to break the impasse in technical-level talks with European Union and International Monetary Fund creditors.

May 22, 2015

Factbox: Britain’s EU demands, and how they might be handled

RIGA (Reuters) – David Cameron met his EU counterparts on Friday for the first time since his re-election two weeks ago ensured that Britain will have a referendum in the next couple of years on quitting the bloc.

At an EU summit in Riga, Cameron repeated his intention to seek reforms in the Union before giving British voters a choice. [ID:nL5N0YD12D] Fellow leaders say they are willing to cooperate. Looking at Cameron’s election manifesto demands, here is how they might try to accommodate Cameron’s requirements:

May 21, 2015

EU defies Russian “bully” but disappoints ex-Soviets

RIGA, May 21 (Reuters) – European Union leaders met six
ex-Soviet neighbours on Thursday in Riga, rejecting Russian
“bullying” in the 18 months since their last summit in a once
Kremlin-ruled EU capital sparked conflict in Ukraine.

“The European Union stays the course despite the
intimidation, the aggression, even the war, of the last year,”
said summit chair Donald Tusk. He dismissed Moscow’s fear the EU
was wooing away its former vassals but accused it of “bullying”
them to make up for Russia’s lack of attractions as an ally.

May 21, 2015

Wary EU hosts hopeful ex-Soviets, under Russian glare

RIGA (Reuters) – European Union leaders began a tense summit in Latvia on Thursday with ex-Soviet neighbors that was overshadowed by the continuing confrontation with Russia triggered by the last such event 18 months ago.

Disagreement over the conflict in Ukraine, and over the EU’s reluctance to hold out membership prospects to the six states in its “Eastern Partnership”, has marked the preparations.

    • 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."
      Joined Reuters:
      English, French, Russian, German, Italian
    • More from Alastair

    • Contact Alastair

    • Follow Alastair