Specialist Desk Editor, World Desk, London
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Jun 22, 2015

EU welcomes 11th-hour Greek proposals in ‘forceps delivery’

BRUSSELS/ATHENS (Reuters) – The European Union welcomed new proposals from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as a “good basis for progress” at talks on Monday where creditors want 11th-hour concessions to haul Athens back from the brink of bankruptcy.

EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker’s chief-of-staff spoke of a “forceps delivery” as officials worked late into the night to produce a deal ahead of a summit of euro zone leaders in Brussels that they hope can keep Greece in the currency bloc.

Jun 21, 2015

Top EU officials lay out euro vision as Greece totters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – As Greece threatens new shocks for the euro zone, EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker and four other top EU officials have laid out a vision for the common currency involving tighter control from Brussels.

In a report to be published on Monday, in cooperation with the heads of other EU bodies, the European Commission president also proposed help for states in distress.

Jun 21, 2015

Behind the scenes, Greece and creditors push for breakthrough

ATHENS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke to the leaders of Germany, France and the European Commission by phone on Sunday in an attempt to break the deadlock over a cash-for-reforms deal as time runs out to save Greece from bankruptcy.

After months of wrangling and with anxious depositors pulling billions of euros out of Greek banks, Tsipras’s leftist government has signaled a willingness to make concessions in order to unlock 7.2 billion euros in bailout money.

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.

    • 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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