Correspondent, Brussels
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Feb 3, 2014

Almost half of European businesses say corruption a problem

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Corruption is a problem for almost half the companies doing business in Europe, a survey by the European Commission said on Monday, and an increasing number of European Union citizens think it is getting worse.

The report places the EU, often portrayed as one of the globe’s cleanest regions, in an unflattering light. Among businesses, belief is widespread that the only way to succeed is through political connections.

Jan 30, 2014

EU rejects German bid to scrutinize Telefonica/E-Plus merger

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission has rejected Germany’s request to take the lead in regulatory scrutiny of Telefonica’s (TEF.MC: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) proposed 8.6 billion euro ($11.7 billion) bid for KPN’s (KPN.AS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) German unit E-Plus, the watchdog said on Thursday.

Germany’s antitrust watchdog had on November 20 asked to be given the lead regulatory role in assessing a bid which will help shape its domestic telecoms sector.

Jan 29, 2014

Europe’s bid to reform mega-banks hits resistance in France

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe has unveiled a blueprint to isolate high-risk trading at big banks in a bid to challenge their dominance, provoking a hostile response in France amid fears it could benefit U.S. rivals exempted from the rules.

After the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, world leaders pledged to tackle banks that were “too big to fail”. Yet throughout the years of financial turmoil, many of Europe’s biggest banks continued to grow.

Jan 29, 2014

Europe backs down in bid to tackle mega-banks

BRUSSELS, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Europe will unveil a blueprint
to challenge the power of big banks on Wednesday but critics
believe it will change little as it does not strictly separate
multi-billion-euro market bets from savers’ money.

After the collapse of Wall Street’s Lehman Brothers in 2008,
world leaders pledged to tackle banks that were “too big to
fail”. Yet throughout the crisis, many of Europe’s top banks
continued to grow.

Jan 28, 2014

EU justice chief attacks European “hypocrisy” on spying

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Some EU countries that have criticized U.S. cyber surveillance are “hypocritical” as they themselves are failing to protect citizens’ private information, the European Union’s top justice official said on Tuesday.

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding – a critic of the data gathering exposed by former U.S. spy contractor Edward Snowden – said she was seeking more legal assurances from Washington but urged European countries to improve their own behavior.

Jan 27, 2014

Germany’s Schaeuble signals support for euro zone parliament

BRUSSELS, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Germany’s finance minister said
on Monday he was open to the creation of a separate European
parliament for countries using the euro, a step that could
deepen divisions within the European Union.

Wolfgang Schaeuble’s comments, made during a visit to
Brussels, challenge the very foundations of the European Union
where lawmaking for all 28 nations is by the bloc’s current
parliament.

Jan 27, 2014

Euro zone examines faster fund for bad banks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The euro zone may reopen the debate on how soon it will share the costs of winding down banks after a European Central Bank call to accelerate the move towards mutual support won some backing.

The European Union’s blueprint to close failing banks depends on a ‘resolution’ fund, into which banks are to pay roughly 55 billion euros ($75 billion) over 10 years.

Jan 27, 2014

Europe treads softly in challenging big banks’ power

BRUSSELS/LONDON, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Europe will consider how
to challenge the dominance of its big banks this week, but any
new rules to isolate risky trading will take years to begin and
there will be no attempt to split off market betting from
deposit taking.

In a blueprint expected on Wednesday, the European
Commission will outline how trading by banks can be walled off
from customers’ cash, but the debate among countries, many of
whom are sceptical of the need to change, starts only in 2015.

Jan 22, 2014

EU’s top court rejects UK challenge to short-selling law

BRUSSELS/LONDON, Jan 22 (Reuters) – The European Union’s top
court has dismissed Britain’s challenge to a law on banning the
short-selling of shares in market emergencies, dealing a blow to
UK attempts to limit the influence of EU rules on the City of
London.

British Prime Minister David Cameron had been seeking to
limit EU controls on London, the bloc’s biggest financial
centre, reflecting a broader attempt to renegotiate the
country’s membership of the EU ahead of a promised referendum on
staying in the bloc.

Jan 21, 2014

EU parliament chief warns of flaws in Europe’s banking union

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The president of the European Parliament has warned it may not be possible to finalize critical legislation dealing with Europe’s problem banks on time because differences among negotiators remain deep.

The parliament must sign off on a scheme agreed late last year by EU countries to close failing banks, completing a sweeping reform known as banking union and intended to bolster confidence in the euro zone and its fragile lenders.

    • About John

      "I am a Reuters correspondent in Brussels, writing about the European Union. I moved here last year from Germany, where I had reported about the financial crisis, turning up numerous scoops and even winning a prestigious business reporting award. Beforehand, I worked with The Sunday Times in London."
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