Specialist Desk Editor, World Desk, London
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Nov 5, 2014

EU auditor criticizes waste, urges tighter controls

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s auditor called on the bloc’s new executive on Wednesday to seek better value for taxpayers’ money as its report on the 2013 accounts estimated that up to 9 billion euros ($11.27 billion) may have been misspent.

However, at a time when national governments under pressure from Eurosceptic parties denouncing waste in Brussels, the European Court of Auditors criticized member states’ failure to curb fraudulent and other unjustified claims for EU cash and praised the commission’s efforts to claw back misdirected funds.

Oct 31, 2014
Oct 31, 2014

Ukraine, Russia, EU agree to natural gas supply deal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Ukraine, Russia and the European Union signed a deal on Thursday that will see Moscow resume vital supplies of gas to its ex-Soviet neighbor over the winter in return for payments funded in part by Kiev’s Western creditors.

After several failed rounds of talks in recent weeks as conflict rumbles on despite a ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, the accord also eases concerns that a new “gas war” could disrupt winter supplies if energy to EU states, notably through pipelines shut down across Ukraine since June.

Oct 30, 2014

Ukraine says EU to be guarantor in any Russia gas deal

BRUSSELS/KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine and the European Union have agreed that the EU’s executive arm will serve as guarantor in any agreement for Russia to supply Ukraine with gas, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said on Thursday.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, meanwhile, said Moscow and Kiev could sign a gas deal later in the day if all necessary documents were finalised.

Oct 30, 2014
Oct 30, 2014

Ukraine gas supplies in doubt as Russia seeks EU payment deal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Ukraine’s efforts to unblock deliveries of Russian gas as winter sets in were deadlocked on Thursday as Moscow’s negotiators were quoted demanding firmer commitments from the European Union to cover Kiev’s pre-payments for energy.

EU-hosted talks were adjourned after running late into the night, Energy Minister Alexander Novak and the head of Russian gas firm Gazprom (GAZP.MM: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) told Russian news agencies. They would resume later in the day if Ukraine and the EU had a firm financing deal in place, Gazprom head Alexei Miller said.

Oct 29, 2014

Gas deal still eludes Ukraine and Russia at EU talks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Ukraine and Russia bargained late into the night on Wednesday but European Union officials trying to broker a deal to resume gas supplies to Kiev as winter sets in said there was still no accord to announce.

At talks in Brussels hosted by energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger two days before he makes way for a new EU executive team, officials cancelled an evening news conference at which they had hoped to announce a deal after months of negotiation.

Oct 29, 2014

NATO jets track ‘unusual’ Russian bomber sorties

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO aircraft tracked Russian strategic bombers over the Atlantic and Black Sea on Wednesday and sorties of fighters over the Baltic in what the Western alliance called an unusual burst of activity at a tense time in East-West relations.

In all, NATO said in a statement, its jets had intercepted four groups of Russian aircraft in about 24 hours since Tuesday, and some were still on maneuvers late on Wednesday afternoon.

Oct 24, 2014
Oct 24, 2014

‘We won’t pay,’ furious Cameron tells EU over surprise bill

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – In a vivid display of fury at European Union technocrats, British Prime Minister David Cameron refused to pay a surprise 2.1-billion-euro bill on Friday as EU leaders ordered an urgent review of the calculations used.

Eurosceptics at home branded the EU a “thirsty vampire” for seeking an additional, immediate sum worth a seventh of London’s annual payment following a major statistical review of national incomes. Cameron demanded action from fellow leaders at a summit, calling the sudden bill “completely unacceptable”.

    • 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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