What the future holds for the EU – China relations?

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and several Members of the College received Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China (on the right). It was the first official visit to the European Union by the latter but also the first visit ever by a Chinese President to EU institutions. Handshake between Xi Jinping and José Manuel Barroso, in the presence of Herman van Rompuy President of the Council (in the centre). (EC Audiovisual Servises, 31/03/2014).

EU and China relations are perfectly depicted in a passage from a European Union External Action service Press release issued recently. It says, “While acknowledging China’s advancement of the economic and social wellbeing of its people in the past 25 years, the EU also hopes to see greater space open up for discussion and debate […]

Will Europe be a different place this Monday?

Alexis Tsipras for the Party of the European Left, Ska Keller for the Green Party, Martin Schulz for the Party of European Socialists, Jean-Claude Juncker for the European People's Party and Guy Verhofstadt for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (from left to right) participate in the EE2014 - Eurovision debate between candidates for the Presidency of the European Commission. (EP Audiovisual Services 15/05/2014).

According to the latest projections, the four traditional and clearly pro-EU parties or rather Parliamentary groupings, that is the center-right European Peoples Party (EEP), the center-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D), the centrist Alliance of Liberals & Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and the ecology group Greens-European Free Alliance (G/EFA) are expected to win a clear victory […]

The West and Russia took what they wanted from Ukraine

Participation of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the EC at the 17th of April Ukraine talks in Geneva. Ashton, on the right, and US Secretary of State, John Kerry, hold a joint press conference after the plenary session with Ministers of Foreign affairs of US Russia and Ukraine on April 17th, 2014 at the Intercontinental Hotel Geneva. (EC Audiovisual Services, 17/4/2014).

Yesterday, in Geneva the representatives of the EU, the US and Russia did on Ukraine what the European Sting said they were about to do; partition the poor country. By the way, the Ukrainian ‘Foreign Minister’ Andriy Deshchytsia was around, while the three were negotiating about the future and the actual existence of his country, […]

Crisis hit countries cut down public spending on education

Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the EC in charge of Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth delivered a speach at the debate entitled 'The Crisis in Europe and the Future of Higher Engineering Education', co-organised by the European Society for Engineering Education and the Greek Presidency. (from left to right) Kamel Hawwash, President of the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) and Professor in the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Birmingham, Androulla Vassiliou and Antonia Moropoulou, Vice President of SEFI and Professor at the National Technical University of Athens, School of Chemical Engineering, Section of Materials Science and Engineering. (EC Audiovisual Services, 07/04/2014).

Despite an almost continuous but very moderate increase of government spending on education in absolute (euro) terms during the 2002-2012 decade the amount of public resources devoted to this end as a percentage of GPD either stagnated (2002-2007) or decreased (2009-2012), with the exception of a brief period between 2007-2009. During those three years educational […]

EU citizens disenchanted with Economic and Monetary Union over rising poverty and high unemployment

László Andor, Member of the EC in charge of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (first from right) and Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, participated in the 3rd European Roma Summit with Traian Băsescu, President of Romania. Around 500 Representatives of EU institutions, national Governments and Parliaments, International Organisations, Mayors, civil society organisations (including Roma organisations) and local and regional authorities were invited to express their views. (EC Audiovisual Services, 4.4.2014).

In a historic meeting, Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Commissioner, László Andor, and local and regional European leaders elaborated yesterday on the shortcomings of Europe’s growth strategy and agreed that a reform is needed on the principles of Eurozone’s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). They also took stock of the poor performance of the Youth […]

Is Eurozone preparing to abandon austerity and stagnation?

Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor speaking at the 3rd General Assembly of the 'New Narrative for Europe', an even held in the Academy of Arts (Akademie der Künste) of Berlin. (EC Audiovisual Services 01/03/2014).

Two unrelated at first reading, but in reality very closely connected developments, materialised this week. On the one side it’s the new fall of industrial producer prices in February 2014 (deflation), while on the other, Germany surprised everybody by adopting, for the first time in its economic history, a compulsory minimum wage, expected to be […]

Easier Schengen Visas for non-EU holiday makers: A crucial issue for south Eurozone countries

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, went to Berlin, where he participated in the 17th Tourism Summit (Tourismusgipfel). In his speech, the President reminded of the mutually beneficial effects of tourism and European integration, and underlined in particular the importance of the four freedoms of the Single Market for a flourishing tourism sector. (EC Audiovisual Services).

With Brussels ‘digesting’ two historical developments, the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the creation of the European Banking Union, this new week predictably could be rather quiet. There is a problem though the Commission will try to resolve during the next few days. It’s the EU Schengen visa applications by non EU citizens, who […]

EU Parliament: No EU-US trade agreement without safe data

European Parliament. Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) joint meeting. (EP Audiovisual Services, 20/2/2014).

The European Parliament, in a strongly worded and overwhelmingly voted resolution, set a definite condition for the legislature’s approval of the currently under negotiation EU-US free trade agreement (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP). The condition is that American NSA’s mass surveillance practices be completely stopped. The relevant Press release clearly states that “Parliament’s […]

EU Parliament: A catastrophic crisis management by European leaders

European Parliament. Plenary session, week 11, 2014 in Strasbourg. Preparations for the European Council meeting (20-21 March 2014). Council and Commission statements. (in the forefront) Jose Manuel Barroso, European Commission President has the floor (standing on the right) and Commissioner Olli Rehn EC Vice-President in charge of Economic and monetary affairs and the Euro. (EP Audiovisual Services 12/3/2014).

The European Parliament once more confirmed its reputation as the authentic channel transiting the social and the economic realities the European people have to endure to decision makers. Yesterday, the MEPs disagreed with the Commission President Manuel Barroso and Dimitrios Kourkoulas, the Greek deputy Foreign Minister speaking for the Council Presidency, that economic recovery was […]

The EU to bear the cost of eventual sanctions against Russia

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, speaking to the Press while heading for the Extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council which took place in Brussels, on 3 March 2014. (The Council of the European Union photographic library).

It’s easy for Washington and London to threaten Russia with far reaching economic sanctions, but very many countries and businesses in continental Europe don’t see it that way. The US and Britain after having actively supported the ‘Kiev revolution’ which ousted Victor Yanukovych from the Presidency, now insist that the West imposes tough economic measures […]