Sochi not far away from Ukraine

On the occasion of the opening of the Special Olympics European Games in Warsaw, Belgian athletes carried the "Olympic Flame" and stopped by different symbolic places in Brussels. The course ended at the EP, where Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the EC in charge of Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and Seán Kelly, Member of the EP, welcomed a delegation of athletes.(EC Audiovisual Services,  14/09/2010).

On the occasion of the opening of the Special Olympics European Games in Warsaw, Belgian athletes carried the “Olympic Flame” and stopped by different symbolic places in Brussels. The course ended at the EP, where Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the EC in charge of Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and Seán Kelly, Member of the EP, welcomed a delegation of athletes.(EC Audiovisual Services, 14/09/2010).

On the day the Russian organizers of the $51 billion Winter Olympic Games staged the opening ceremony in Sochi, the European Union found the opportunity to talk to Moscow about pigs, European pigs. Yesterday, Friday 7 February, Health Commissioner Tonio Borg called once more on the Russian Federation to “engage in constructive talks on the issue of the Russian ban on EU pig exports”.

Of course, the European Union couldn’t ignore altogether the opening of the Winter Olympic Games, in the Russian southern city of Sochi, where palm trees can be seen in pictures together with mountain slops covered with artificially produced snow. To this effect, Commissioner Androula Vassiliou responsible for sport issued a seven lines Press Release, to “wish the best of luck to all the competitors, and in particular of course, to all my fellow Europeans”.

No Brussels dignitaries attended the opening ceremony. Vassiliou, the sports Commissioner, issued the above mentioned Press release from her Brussels office. The western leaders were conspicuous with their absence. No Barack Obama, no David Cameron and no Angela Merkel or Francois Hollande came to this hideously expensive Russian fiesta. Ukraine is a very large country to ignore as it lies between the European Union and Russia.

Moscow tests Kiev

As the European Sting writer Suzan A. Kane concluded on 24 January “Yanukovych, the Ukrainian President, is not backing from his position to align his country in a Moscow led economic union, instead of signing an Association Agreement with the EU as the protesters demand for six weeks now. Ukraine was negotiating with the EU this far-reaching Association Agreement for two years, but in the last-minute Yanukovych turned to Moscow and embraced a Eurasia Union, created by the Russian President Vladimir Putin two years ago. From that moment Ukraine is stuck in a risky path, with thousands of protestors gathering every day in the center of capital Kiev”.

Instead, the European Union leaders welcomed in Brussels Ruslana Lyzhychko, Ukrainian singer, winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 and Leader of the “EuroMaidan” protest movement. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, participated in the 495th plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) with Henri Malosse, President of the EESC. The two presidents and Lyzhychko debated the state of civil society in Ukraine and its expectations vis-à-vis the European Union. Naturally, the conclusion was that the civil society in this country is invariably turned west, looking forward to an alignment with the European Union.

Washington interferes

As expected, the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych went to Sochi and of course met with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The main issue during that meeting must have been the $15 billion the Russians have promised to Yanukovych but have now withheld the next tranche. The problem is that the Ukrainian President was forced by the protests to make important concessions to the opposition, by offering its leaders the position of Prime Minister. Moscow didn’t like at all this retreat by Yanukovych and withheld the payments from this multi dollar billion agreement. Some weeks ago the Russian state gas monopoly, Gasprom, offered a 35% price reduction on the fuel sold to Ukraine and together with this $15bn, the package was supposed to rescue Ukraine from an imminent bankruptcy.

Nothing came out from the Sochi meeting between the two Presidents and neither side felt inclined to make any comment. Understandably, if there was a positive turn for the Russian side, Putin would have celebrated. As things stand now, Ukraine is still in balance and Europe insists that its offer for an Association Agreement is always on the table. Unfortunately, for Europe, Washington now interferes in force, opting for a joint EU-US offer to Yanukovych with unpredictable results.






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European Parliament. Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON). Meeting on banking supervision. Vote on the bank single resolution mechanism and fund. (EP Audiovisual Services).

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Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor and Francois Holande, President of France (from left to right) arrive together to the European Council room. The French President seems to describe with his gesture, how efficient the French fighter-bomber planes are. The Chancellor must have responded that the German Leopard tanks are equally effective on the ground. (Council of the European Union Audiovisual Services 19/12/2013).

EU security and defence industry prepares positions for ‘producers’ and ‘customers’

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, presenting the "Europe is on its way to meeting its 2020 targets" report. The stubbornly subdued state of the EU economy though is in direct contrast with the optimism of the outgoing President. (EC Audiovisual Services, 21/03/2014).

Data show EU Economy in a stubbornly subdued state

"Do you see how calm he is with the Greek banks shut"? Dijssebloem could as well be telling to Draghi yesterday at the Euro Summit. From left to right, Mario Draghi, Governor of the European Central Bank, Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece, Jeroen Dijssebloem, President of the Eurogroup and Finance Minister of the Netherlands. (Council TVnewsroom, 07/07/2015)

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Press conference by Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the EC, on the Net Neutrality. (EC Audiovisual Service)

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Discussion between Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor, on the left, and José Manuel Barroso President of the European Commission, 2nd from the right, in the presence of Mark Rutte, Dutch Prime Minister, on the right, and Herman van Rompuy President of the European Council. Barroso and several heads of states or governments of the EU discussed on a report entitled "Cut EU red tape", published by the British Government on 15/10/2013, which presented 30 priority recommendations of EU regulations. During the joint final press conference José Manuel Barroso outlined discussions which took place on access to finance for SMEs and the regulatory fitness. (EC Audio-visual Services)

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Mario Draghi looks determined to apply Quantitative Easing in 2015, at the EP Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs Monetary Dialogue, last November. Mario Draghi is the President of the European Central Bank (EP Audiovisual Services, 17/11/2014)

Draghi’s top new year resolution: Quantitative Easing

European Confederation of Junior Enterprises hosts in Geneva the Junior Enterprise World Conference

Family picture after the 3rd meeting of the High Level Expert Group on Key Enabling Technologies, with the participation of Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the EC, and Johannes Hahn, Member of the European Commission. (EC Audiovisual services, 29/01/2014).

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Conference in the European Parliament on combatting poverty and social exclusion, (European Parliament Audiovisual).

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From left to right: Mr Olli Rehn, Vice President of the European Commission; Mr Michael Sarris, Cyprus Minister for Finance. (Council of the European Union photographic library)

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Dijsselbloem to Schauble: "Wolfgang, just think for a moment; I think we are making a tremendous mistake with Greece"; this could or should be Mr Dijsselbloem's saying to Mr Schauble yesterday afternoon during the Eurogroup gathering in Brussels. The photo is black and white probably because it will be one that will endure in the European history books of the future to open the "pandora box" EU chapter. From left to right, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Dutch Finance Minister of Finance and Wolfgang Schauble, German Minister of Finance, during yesterday's historic Eurogroup meeting in Brussels (EU Council TV Newsroom, 16/02/2015)

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Vítor Constâncio, Vice-President of the European Central Bank, on the left, and Mario Draghi, Governor of ECB. (EC Audiovisual Services).

ECB asks for more subsidies to banks

Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Industry and Entrepreneurship (first from left), went to Rome, in the toy shop "Little Big Town" in Piazza Venezia, to present the "EU Stop Fakes" campaign in the presence of Ivano Maccani, Provincial Commander of the Guardia di Finanza (Italian Finance Guard) (second from left). (EC Audiovisual Services, 20/12/2013).

Towards a seamless internal EU market for industrial goods

BusinessEurope Day on the occasion of the publication of the Blueprint for Industrial Competitiveness entitled "Industry matters: Recommendations for an industrial compact". Michael Rake, Chairman of BT Group plc and President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Ingo Kramer, President of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA), Pierre Gattaz, Chairman of the Executive Board and President of the Executive and Strategic Committee of Radiall, President of the Movement of French enterprises (Medef), and Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Industry and Entrepreneurship (from right to left). (EC Audiovisual Services, 28/01/2014).

Industrial producer prices on free fall and stagnant output

Press conference by Harald Wögerbauer, Member of the European Court of Auditors (on the left), on the cost-effectiveness of Cohesion Policy investments in energy efficiency. (EC Audiovisual Services)

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Discussion between Martin Schulz, President of the EP, on the left, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, during the last European Council of December 2012. During the final joint press conference Barroso stressed that the financial sector also had to make a fair contribution to the recovery of Eurozone.  Then the EC decided the first step towards launching enhanced cooperation on a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT). (EC Audiovisual Services).

Financial transactions tax gets go ahead

The Sting’s Team

Connie Hedegaard, Member of the EC in charge of Climate Action, gave a press conference put forward proposals to implement targets that will further considerably reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new cars and light commercial vehicles (vans) by 2020. The proposals will cut average emissions from new cars to 95 grams of CO2 per km (gr CO2/km) in 2020, from 135.7gr in 2011 and a mandatory target of 130gr in 2015. Emissions from vans will be reduced to 147gr CO2/km in 2020 from 181.4gr in 2010 (the latest year for which figures are available) and a mandatory target of 175gr in 2017. Monique Goyens, Director General of the European Consumers’ Organisation (BEUC), on the right, and Connie Hedegaard, (11/07/2012).

European car industry: The Germans want it all

Jean-Claude Juncker, President-elect of the EC, gave a press conference on the attribution of portfolios to the Commissioners-designate. He unveiled his team and the new shape of the next European Commission.
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Global Citizen – Volunteer Internships

Alan Borgars

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Group photo: Teima Onorio, Vice President of the Kiribati, Madelyn Antoncic, Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank, Kristalina Georgieva, Member of the EC in charge of International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Mohamed Najib Boulif, Moroccan Minister Delegate to the Head of Government, in charge of General Affairs and Governance, Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, Koriki Jojima, Japanese Minister for Finance, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, Minister for Economy and Finance of Djibouti, in charge of Industry and Planning, Haruhiko Kuroda, President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and Michael Anderson, Director General for Policy and Global Issues at the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) (from left to right). World Bank, organized a special conference called "Dialogue of Sendai" on managing natural disaster risk. (EC Audiovisual Services, 10/10/2012).

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haan (1)

Bram in Colombia

Joaquín Almunia, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Competition, gave a press conference on Statement of Objections of the EC to Crédit Agricole, HSBC and JPMorgan for suspected participation in euro interest rate derivatives cartel. (EC Audiovisual Services, 20/05/2014).

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Photo reportage of open air market. (EC Audiovisual Services).

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It seems that not even Dan Mullaney, Chief US Negotiator for TTIP, can believe that Cecilia sees a "fresh start" in the negotiations! From right to left, Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Trade and Dan Mullaney, Chief US Negotiator for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). (EC Audiovisual Services, 08/12/2014)

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More Stings?


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