Bureau Chief, Brussels
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Dec 11, 2013

EU talking to IMF, World Bank, others about Ukraine assistance

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European officials are in discussion with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other major financial institutions on ways to help Ukraine if it decides to sign a free-trade agreement with the European Union.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov was quoted as saying on Wednesday he had asked the EU for 20 billion euros ($27 billion) in aid to offset the cost of signing the EU deal, which Kiev backed away from last month in favor of closer ties with Russia, sparking huge street protests and a financial crisis.

Dec 10, 2013

Mandela, a natural charmer with the measure of those he met

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Thousands upon thousands of people, great and small, met Nelson Mandela, and as a correspondent in South Africa from 1997-2000, I was fortunate to be among them.

During his presidency and in the early years of his retirement from office, Mandela made a point of meeting as many of the people who beat a path to his door as possible.

Dec 6, 2013

Six months to go, momentum builds ahead of EU parliament vote

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Next May’s elections to the European Parliament promise to be among the most closely watched since the 1970s, with many in Europe expected to show their frustration with the economic crisis by voting for anti-EU or protest parties.

While that analysis has become the received wisdom, political experts are less convinced, suggesting that while there may be an increase in protest votes, it’s unlikely to be anywhere near as large as some have predicted.

Nov 29, 2013

IMF postpone visit to Athens in dispute over reform

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – International inspectors from the EU and IMF have called off a planned visit to Greece next week, officials told Reuters on Friday, a move that marks a new low in relations between the parties and could delay aid payments to Athens.

The decision to postpone the visit may be an attempt by the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund – together known as the ‘troika’ – to bring Athens to heel as frustration grows over Greece’s failure to complete the reforms it has promised in return for aid.

Nov 28, 2013

EU leaders set for frosty dinner with Ukraine’s Yanukovich

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European leaders will come face-to-face with Viktor Yanukovich on Thursday for the first time since the Ukrainian president spurned their offer of a free-trade deal and decided to seek closer ties with Russia instead.

In a meeting that promises to be one of the frostier moments of political theatre this year, Yanukovich plans to attend a dinner in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius to honor the Eastern Partnership, the EU’s four-year-old program of outreach to former Soviet states.

Nov 25, 2013

Police, pro-Europe protesters clash in Ukraine, EU condemns Russia

BRUSSELS/KIEV (Reuters) – The European Union expressed strong disapproval on Monday over Russia’s pressure on Ukraine to reject an EU trade deal, while police fired tear gas at pro-Europe protesters in the former Soviet republic’s capital, Kiev.

Ukraine had been expected to sign a far-reaching trade and political association agreement with the EU at a summit in Vilnius on Friday. But it suddenly announced last week it had decided to seek closer trade relations with Moscow instead.

Nov 22, 2013

Exclusive: Euro zone mulls cheap loans as incentive for economic reforms -document

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone states are considering cheap loans to member governments as an incentive to carry out economic reforms by sweetening the short-term pain, an EU document showed, introducing a discussion on fiscal transfers.

The proposal did not specify how exactly the loans could be financed, mentioning only a European Commission idea from March that it could be either through direct contributions from governments or through designating a new revenue source.

Nov 22, 2013

Euro zone mulls cheap loans as incentive for economic reforms -document

BRUSSELS, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Euro zone states are
considering cheap loans to member governments as an incentive to
carry out economic reforms by sweetening the short-term pain, an
EU document showed, introducing a discussion on fiscal
transfers.

The proposal did not specify how exactly the loans could be
financed, mentioning only a European Commission idea from March
that it could be either through direct contributions from
governments or through designating a new revenue source.

Nov 22, 2013

EU loses out on Ukraine, but may have dodged a bullet

BRUSSELS, Nov 22 (Reuters) – In post-Soviet Europe, Russia
looks to have won a decisive victory by convincing Ukraine to
reject a trade deal with the European Union and deepen ties with
Moscow instead.

But the EU has reason to breathe a sigh of relief, too.

Once any sense of rejection or thwarted ambition passes, the
reality remains that taking Ukraine under its wing, a highly
indebted country of 46 million people stricken by corruption and
unpredictable politics, could have proven a costly and difficult
burden for the EU, at least in the short-term.

Nov 19, 2013

EU studies options in tense countdown to Ukraine deal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European officials are considering a range of options to keep alive plans for Ukraine to sign an EU free-trade agreement at a summit in Vilnius on November 29, despite President Viktor Yanukovich’s failure to deliver on his commitments so far.

While Ukraine still has 10 days to meet calls for judicial reforms and other steps – including a resolution in the case of jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko – time is rapidly running out, and contingency plans are taking shape.

    • 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."
      Joined Reuters:
      1997
      Languages:
      English, Italian, French, Spanish
    • More from Luke

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      Under Fire: Untold Stories from the Front Line of the Iraq War
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