Specialist Desk Editor, World Desk, London
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Mar 20, 2015

EU leaders pledge security cooperation, aid for Tunisia

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders pledged to step up help for Tunisia on Friday, worried that an attack that killed 20 foreign tourists shows Islamic State militants spreading their influence from Libya and posing a growing threat to Europe.

EU governments are already deeply worried about chaos in Libya which has fueled an exodus of migrants that are putting a heavy strain on southern EU countries such as Italy.

Mar 20, 2015

Greek PM assures EU creditors reforms coming to unlock cash

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras assured European Union creditors at late-night crisis talks in Brussels that his leftist-led coalition would present soon a full set of economic reforms in order to unlock cash to stave off bankruptcy.

After two months of mounting frustration on both sides since Tsipras was elected with a mandate to end years of austerity imposed by creditors’ conditions, the three-hour meeting on the sidelines of an EU summit was requested by Tsipras to break an impasse that risks seeing Athens stumble out of the euro zone.

Mar 14, 2015

EU executive warns of Grexit ‘catastrophe’, urges euro solidarity

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission warned of “catastrophe” if Greece has to abandon the euro and its chief executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, urged EU governments to show solidarity as Athens struggles to secure more credit.

A day after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greece might stumble out of the euro zone because new, left-wing leaders failed to negotiate new borrowings, Juncker’s economics commissioner said EU hardliners underestimated the risk that this would start a fatal domino collapse of the common currency.

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.

    • 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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