Senior correspondent, Brussels
Robin's Feed
May 13, 2014

Populist gains to complicate Europe’s free trade ambitions

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Growing support for far-right parties has dominated the run-up to next week’s European Parliament elections but a lesser noticed theme is lurking: that protest parties on both right and left will try to scupper EU free trade talks.

With parliament determined to exercise new powers after May 22-25 elections and opinion polls showing almost a third of the chamber’s seats will go to anti-EU groups on the right and left, there is scope for disruption.

May 7, 2014
May 7, 2014

EU, Japan eye landmark trade deal, rap Russia over Ukraine

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union and Japan agreed on Wednesday to try to conclude talks on an ambitious free-trade deal next year that would encompass about a third of the global economy, despite European carmakers’ scepticism about Tokyo’s commitment.

An EU-Japan trade pact, potentially one of the world’s biggest, would be part of an emerging patchwork of sophisticated accords between the world’s richest countries as they search for growth following the worst financial crisis in a generation and the failure of global free-trade talks. “We confirmed the importance of an early conclusion and 2015 is the target date for a basic agreement,” Abe told a joint news conference with European Council President Herman van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso after a summit at which they also discussed the Ukraine crisis.

May 7, 2014

EU, Japan warn Russia not to deepen Ukraine crisis; seek trade deal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union and Japan called on Russia on Wednesday to avoid worsening the crisis in Ukraine and Brussels threatened further sanctions, seeking to calm growing violence that could put Ukraine’s presidential elections at risk.

Seeking to forge a united front, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and EU leaders agreed to try to wrap up talks on an ambitious free trade deal next year that would encompass about a third of the global economy.

May 6, 2014
May 5, 2014
Apr 30, 2014
Apr 29, 2014

Europe considers dropping ban on South African orange juice

BRUSSELS, April 29 (Reuters) – The European Commission has
proposed dropping a ban on South African citrus imports to keep
orange juice on Europe’s breakfast tables this summer but said
it could be re-imposed if shipments contain a fungal disease.

The European Union, which buys 1 billion euros ($1.4
billion) of South African citrus exports every year, banned
mainly oranges, lemons, and tangerines from South Africa late
last year because of a fungal disease found in shipments.

Apr 25, 2014
Apr 25, 2014

Don’t fear Brussels, EU federalist says in campaign for top job

BRUSSELS, April 25 (Reuters) – The European Union must not
retreat behind national borders to pull out of its economic
slump, said Guy Verhofstadt, a prominent supporter of a federal
Europe who is seeking the presidency of the European Commission.

In a call to counter the rise of populist parties that
reject the power of Brussels, the former Belgian prime minister
said only a stronger EU could end record unemployment and revive
economic growth.

    • About Robin

      "Robin is a Brussels-based correspondent covering Europe's debt crisis, and editor of the euro zone page on He joined Reuters from the Financial Times in Mexico City in 2002, moving to Panama City and then to Lima, Peru, before heading back to Mexico to cover the U.S.-Mexico border. He led the drugs war coverage that was nominated for an Overseas Press Club award in the United States in 2010. Robin started out in Amsterdam at Dutch financial daily Het Financeele Dagblad as an English-language staffer."
      Joined Reuters:
      Spanish, French
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