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May 22, 2014

Polls show rise for far-right as EU votes

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe’s election marathon kicks off on Thursday as polls open in Britain and the Netherlands, where far-right, anti-EU parties are forecast to top the ballot, spearheading a surge in protest-voting across the continent.

After two months of campaigning that opinion polls suggest has largely failed to inspire the electorate, up to 380 million Europeans will vote in 28 countries, choosing 751 deputies to represent them in the European Parliament.

May 19, 2014

Ahead of EU vote, a struggle to close the ‘democratic deficit’

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – As exercises in democracy go, this week’s EU election rivals the United States, India and Brazil for sheer numbers.

But when it comes to voter recognition it is a very different story. The lead candidates could not even dream of comparisons with Barack Obama or Narendra Modi and therein lies a problem for the European Union as it battles to make itself more relevant and accountable to its citizens.

May 8, 2014

Two weeks before EU elections, 62 percent ‘not interested’

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Six out of 10 Europeans are “not that interested” in the European Parliament elections later this month, according to a poll released on Thursday, despite huge efforts by campaign managers to make the ballot more relevant.

The survey of nearly 9,000 people in 12 EU countries found 62 percent were either “not at all” or “not so much” interested in the May 22-25 vote, which will decide the leadership of the European Union for the next five years.

May 7, 2014

As European elections loom, parties struggle for attention

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – In a little over two weeks, in a vast exercise spread over four days and 28 countries, as many as 350 million Europeans will go to the polls to vote in elections to the European Parliament, the EU’s only directly elected body.

As celebrations of democracy go, it approaches the United States, Brazil or India for scale, at least in terms of numbers – an opportunity for huge swathes of Europe’s population to determine who will shape the continent for years to come.

Apr 29, 2014

Chaos and control: Europe’s debt crisis from two perspectives

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Perhaps the darkest moment of the euro zone debt crisis came in the middle of 2012 when Greece stood on the brink of being forced out of currency bloc and a question mark hung over whether Cyprus would remain in if Athens left.

Two new books closely examine the tumultuous years from 2010 to 2013, but take a very different approach to describing the critical events of May-September 2012, when the long-term future of the European project was genuinely in doubt.

Apr 28, 2014

EU politicians focus on economy in first TV debate

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The four main candidates to head the European Commission held a televised debate on Monday, the first of its kind as the European Union seeks to show its relevance to increasingly hostile voters ahead of an EU election.

Although EU citizens do not directly elect the Commission – the body that drafts and enforces EU legislation – the debate by representatives of the four main groups in the European Parliament showed voters the main political stances on offer at elections to the assembly to be held on May 22-25.

Apr 17, 2014

Did Europe misdiagnose debt crisis and make it worse?

BRUSSELS, April 17 (Reuters) – At the height of the euro
zone debt crisis, with Portugal’s economy nearing collapse, the
European Commission told the government in Lisbon that it had to
slash wages if it was ever going to boost competitiveness and
grow again.

Portuguese shoemakers – one of the economy’s main export
sectors – steadfastly ignored the advice and found a way to
bounce back while actually increasing workers’ pay.

Apr 16, 2014

EU lays out impact of financial sanctions on Russia

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission handed documents to EU member states on Wednesday explaining the potential impact on their economies of imposing stricter trade and financial sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, diplomats said.

Worried about potential leaks of the sensitive data, the Commission informed each country only about the risks it would face, rather than sharing full details with all 28 member states. The assessments were handed out in brown paper envelopes to individual EU ambassadors during a meeting in Brussels.

Apr 15, 2014

In Ukraine, NATO sticks to a war of words against Russia

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – From the moment Russia first moved on Ukraine and seized Crimea, NATO has not lost an opportunity to admonish Moscow for its actions, warning that peace in Europe is under threat and the sovereignty of a friend being violated.

Yet between NATO’s tough rhetoric and its ability and willingness to act, there is now a substantial gap, one that Russia is exploiting.

Apr 14, 2014

Europe’s Eurosceptics more united than many think: poll

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Far-right Eurosceptics in France, Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium have far more in common than just animosity towards the European Union or opposition to migration, according to a new survey.

Rather than being single-issue voters with narrow national interests, the survey suggests far-right Eurosceptics share a common set of values and concerns that could potentially make them a meaningful bloc in the European Parliament.

    • About Luke

      "Luke is bureau chief for Reuters in Brussels. The 25-strong, multimedia bureau covers all European Union issues, from trade, energy and agriculture to foreign policy, competition, regulation and economic affairs. The bureau is also responsible for coverage of NATO and Belgian politics, economics and company news. In his beat, Luke covers foreign affairs, with a focus on the Middle East and Iran, and writes about EU economic policy. He was previously based in London, where he was defence correspondent, and before that had postings in Jerusalem, Baghdad, Rome and Johannesburg."
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