Senior correspondent, Brussels
Robin's Feed
May 19, 2015

EU migrant quotas ‘insane’, Hungary’s Orban says

BRUSSELS/BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban decried EU proposals for migrant quotas as “bordering on insanity” on Tuesday, and defended his recent calls for the possible reintroduction of the death penalty.

Orban made a combative appearance before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, where lawmakers challenged the centre-right leader over his increasingly tough anti-immigration stance.

May 18, 2015

EU agrees Mediterranean naval mission to tackle people smugglers

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union agreed a naval mission on Monday to target gangs smuggling migrants from Libya but parts of a broader plan to deal with the influx began to unravel in a row over national quotas for housing asylum seekers.

Many hundreds of deaths at sea, including the drowning of up to 900 on a single vessel in the Mediterranean last month, have jolted European governments into a more robust response, but beyond greater funding for rescue operations, the EU is divided on how to act as anti-immigrant parties gain support at home.

May 18, 2015

Europe wants central role in Middle East peace, Mogherini says

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union wants a more active role in seeking peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday on the eve of her first visit to the region.

Six months into her tenure, the 41-year-old former Italian foreign minister is eager to leverage Europe’s position as Israel’s biggest trade partner and as the Palestinians’ main aid donor after last year’s failure by the United States to make progress in the latest efforts to broker a two-state peace deal.

May 18, 2015

EU seeks naval mission in Mediterranean to go after smugglers

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The EU’s foreign policy chief pushed on Monday for a naval mission in the Mediterranean to target Libyans smuggling people to Europe, saying that an EU agreement would hasten the U.N. mandate that the plan needs to succeed.

The European Union ultimately wants to capture smugglers and destroy their boats off the Libyan coast to help it tackle the rising number of migrants fleeing war and poverty in North Africa, but many EU countries want U.N. authorization to act.

May 13, 2015

EU plans migrant quotas, Britain opts out

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The EU announced a plan on Wednesday to distribute asylum-seekers more fairly around its member states and take in 20,000 more refugees, but Britain’s newly re-elected Conservative leaders rejected any quota system imposed from Brussels.

Shocked by thousands of deaths among people trying to reach Europe from North Africa across the Mediterranean, the European Union is trying to put in place a fairer way to resettle asylum-seekers at a time when anti-immigration parties are on the rise.

May 13, 2015

EU says to take in 20,000 migrants, gives some opt-outs

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s executive proposed on Wednesday taking in 20,000 refugees over two years and distributing them across Europe but giving Britain, Ireland and Denmark the option not to accept any.

Shocked by the deaths of migrants from North Africa trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean, the European Union is trying to put in place a fairer way to resettle asylum-seekers at a time when anti-immigrant parties are on the rise.

May 12, 2015

“What does Moscow want?” asks Georgian president

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The former Soviet republics of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are moving inexorably from the orbit of a Russian state that promotes values fundamentally alien to its neighbors, according to Georgia’s president.

President Georgy Margvelashvili told Reuters in an interview that Russia, which crushed Georgian forces in a 2008 five-day war, could offer no alternative to integration with the West.

May 11, 2015

Germany floats Greek referendum on reform, others doubt timing

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU paymaster Germany suggested on Monday that Greece might need a referendum to approve painful economic reforms on which its creditors are insisting, but Athens said it had no such plan for now and others warned a vote could delay vital aid.

Greece calmed immediate fears of a default by making a crucial 750 million euro payment to the International Monetary Fund a day early. But Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said the liquidity situation was “terribly urgent” and a deal to release further funds was needed in the next couple of weeks.

May 11, 2015

EU finance ministers to chastise Turkey’s monetary policy – draft

BRUSSELS, May 11 (Reuters) – Turkey’s “conflicting” monetary
policy is failing to lower inflation and a tighter stance is
needed, European Union finance ministers will tell Turkey on
Tuesday in a veiled rebuke of President Tayyip Erdogan’s demands
for lower interest rates.

According to a draft statement prepared for the European
Union’s yearly economy review of Turkey’s EU candidacy, finance
ministers will express their displeasure at Erdogan’s pressure
on the central bank, which has also unnerved investors.

May 11, 2015

Europe, Mexico to seek new trade pact to deepen North American ties

BRUSSELS, May 11 (Reuters) – The European Union and Mexico
will launch negotiations towards a new free-trade agreement
later this year, as Europe seeks to tie its economy closer to
North America following a deal with Canada and efforts to sign
an accord with the United States.

Building on a pact with Mexico from 2000, the European Union
hopes to create a transatlantic free-trade zone and help set the
global rules of commerce before China does. Mexico is jumping
ahead of Brazil, whose talks towards a similar deal with the
European Union have stalled.

    • About Robin

      "Robin Emmott is Reuters diplomatic correspondent in Brussels, covering the European Union’s foreign and security affairs and NATO. After spells in Amsterdam at Het Financeele Dagblad and in Mexico City with the Financial Times, Robin spent a decade covering Latin America for Reuters. Since 2011, he has been in Brussels writing on trade, foreign affairs and economics."
      Joined Reuters:
      Spanish, French
    • More from Robin

    • Contact Robin

    • Follow Robin