EU leaders to discuss infrastructure security after Nord Stream leaks

EU leaders to discuss infrastructure security after Nord Stream leaks

BRUSSELS, Oct 1 (Reuters) - EU leaders will discuss the security of their critical infrastructure next week, the head of the European Council said on Saturday, following damage to Nord Stream pipelines under the Baltic Sea that European leaders have described as sabotage. "Sabotage of Nordstream pipelines is a threat to the EU. We are determined to secure our critical infrastructure. Leaders will address this at the upcoming summit in Prague," Charles Michel, who chairs meetings of EU leaders, said in a tweet after talks with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. EU country leaders are scheduled to meet in the Czech capital…
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Greece-Bulgaria pipeline starts operations to boost non-Russian gas flows

Greece-Bulgaria pipeline starts operations to boost non-Russian gas flows

SOFIA, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Greece and Bulgaria started commercial operation of a long-delayed gas pipeline on Saturday which will help decrease southeast Europe's dependence on Russian gas and boost energy security. The 182-km pipeline will provide a relief to Bulgaria, which has been struggling to secure gas supplies at affordable prices since the end of April, when Russia's Gazprom (GAZP.MM) cut off deliveries over Sofia's refusal to pay in roubles. Russia has decreased its gas deliveries to Europe after the West imposed sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, leaving European Union countries scrambling to secure alternative supplies amid surging prices.  "This…
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UPDATED-EU edges towards more sanctions on Russia

UPDATED-EU edges towards more sanctions on Russia

BRUSSELS, Sept 30 (Reuters) - European Union countries on Friday edged towards agreeing what would be the bloc's eighth round of sanctions against Russia for waging war against Ukraine, diplomatic sources told Reuters. The EU executive earlier this week recommended that the bloc imposes more trade curbs and individual blacklistings, and moves towards - rather than adopting straightaway - a price cap for Russian sea-borne oil deliveries to third countries, mostly insured by European companies. The 27 EU countries' envoys to Brussels discussed the proposal on Friday and several sources said they hoped for a final approval next week. "The…
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Euro zone unemployment unchanged at record low of 6.6%

Euro zone unemployment unchanged at record low of 6.6%

BRUSSELS, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Euro zone unemployment was unchanged at a record low of 6.6% of the workforce in August, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat said on Friday, matching expectations of economists polled by Reuters. Eurostat said that in absolute terms, the number of people without jobs in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell further to 10.966 million in August from 10.996 million in July. The figure was 1.358 million lower than in August 2021, when the unemployment rate was 7.5%. For Eurostat release, click HERE TABLE-Euro zone unemployment data for August The European Union's statistics office…
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UPDATED: EU countries approve energy windfall levies, turn to gas price cap

UPDATED: EU countries approve energy windfall levies, turn to gas price cap

BRUSSELS, Sept 30 (Reuters) - European Union countries agreed on Friday to impose emergency levies on energy firms' windfall profits, and began talks on their next move to tackle Europe's energy crunch - possibly a bloc-wide gas price cap. Ministers from the 27 EU member countries met in Brussels on Friday, where they approved measures proposed earlier this month to contain an energy price surge that is stoking record-high inflation and threatening a recession. The package includes a levy on fossil fuel companies' surplus profits made this year or next, another levy on excess revenues low-cost power producers make from…
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Euro zone inflation hits record high 10%, raising pressure on ECB

Euro zone inflation hits record high 10%, raising pressure on ECB

FRANKFURT, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Euro zone inflation zoomed past forecasts to hit a fresh record high this month, reinforcing expectations for another jumbo interest rate hike from the European Central Bank in October. Price growth in the 19 countries sharing the euro accelerated to 10.0% in September from 9.1% a month earlier, data from Eurostat showed on Friday, beating expectations for a reading of 9.7%. Figures a day earlier had shown inflation in Germany, the bloc's biggest economy, jumping to its highest rate since the time of the Korean War 70 years ago. Inflation was still driven mainly by…
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EU proposes rules making it easier to sue drone makers, AI systems

EU proposes rules making it easier to sue drone makers, AI systems

BRUSSELS, (Reuters) - The European Commission proposed rules making it easier for individuals and companies to sue makers of drones, robots and other products equipped with artificial intelligence software for compensation for harm caused by them. The AI Liability Directive aims to address the increasing use of AI-enabled products and services and the patchwork of national rules across the 27-country European Union. Under the draft rules, victims can seek compensation for harm to their life, property, health and privacy due to the fault or omission of a provider, developer or user of AI technology, or for discrimination in a recruitment…
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ECB policymakers back another jumbo hike as inflation rises further

ECB policymakers back another jumbo hike as inflation rises further

VILNIUS, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Four European Central Bank policymakers on Thursday backed another big interest rate hike next month as euro zone inflation looked set for another record high, but they differed on whether it was time to think about mopping up cash from the economy. The ECB has raised rates by a combined 125 basis points over its past two meetings and promised further increases as inflation rises towards 10% and longer-term expectations edge above its 2% target. Strengthening the case for another 75-basis-point increase, data on Thursday showed inflation in Germany's most populous state jumped to 10.1%…
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Euro zone economic sentiment falls sharply as inflation expectations rise

Euro zone economic sentiment falls sharply as inflation expectations rise

BRUSSELS, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Euro zone economic sentiment fell sharply and by more than expected in September, data showed on Thursday, as confidence dropped among companies and consumers, who are also downbeat about price trends in the coming months. The European Commission's monthly economic sentiment index fell to 93.7 points in September from a downwardly revised 97.3 in August, compared with a decline to 95.0 forecast by economists polled by Reuters. Confidence fell in all economic sectors, including industry, services, retail trade and among consumers, Commission's data showed, amid a rise in inflation expectations across the board. The fall…
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EU countries head for deal on energy windfall levies, split over gas price cap

EU countries head for deal on energy windfall levies, split over gas price cap

BRUSSELS, Sept 29 (Reuters) - European Union countries are poised to approve a package of emergency measures including windfall profit levies on energy companies on Friday, at a meeting where states will also lock horns over whether to cap gas prices. The 27 EU member countries are negotiating measures proposed by Brussels last week to attempt to contain an energy price surge that is stoking record-high inflation across the bloc and threatening a recession. Diplomats from some European countries were confident EU energy ministers would approve the measures at a meeting on Friday - albeit with tweaks to the original…
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UPDATED: EU takes Malta to court over golden passport programme

UPDATED: EU takes Malta to court over golden passport programme

BRUSSELS/VALLETTA, Sept 29 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Thursday it would file a legal challenge against Malta for its so-called golden passport programme that allows wealthy foreigners to buy citizenship in exchange for an investment of around 1 million euros ($970,000). Holding a Maltese passport allows them to live and work in any EU country. In recent months, Malta suspended the programme for Russian and Belarusian nationals following the start of the war in Ukraine, but it continues to operate the scheme for all other nationalities and "has not expressed any intention to end it", the Commission said…
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Agreement on EU sanctions against Russia expected before summit – EU official

Agreement on EU sanctions against Russia expected before summit – EU official

BRUSSELS, Sept 29 (Reuters) - An agreement on the next sanctions package against Russia is expected before next week's EU summit, or at least major parts of the package, an EU official told Reuters. The official said they expected the summit to focus on the referendums in Ukraine, possible annexations of areas by Russia, Russia's nuclear threats and the disruption to the Nord Stream pipelines. EU leaders are also expected to discuss different ideas for energy price caps at the summit, which the EU official expects to be a tense one "as we are in difficult times". The draft text,…
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Some euro zone countries need to beef up financial sector, ECB’s VP says

Some euro zone countries need to beef up financial sector, ECB’s VP says

FRANKFURT, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Some euro zone countries need to beef up their financial sector as their vulnerabilities are likely to be magnified by the imminent downturn of the bloc's economy, European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos said on Thursday. "Certain countries have in recent years seen a build-up of financial vulnerabilities, notably related to residential real estate prices and growing household and firm indebtedness," de Guindos told a conference. "Given the deteriorated outlook for economic growth, some countries might benefit from further increasing the resilience of their financial sectors before credit risks start materialising." (Reporting by…
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EU lawmakers on Brazil’s Bolsonaro: Respect vote or face sanctions

EU lawmakers on Brazil’s Bolsonaro: Respect vote or face sanctions

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Several dozen members of the European parliament urged European Union leaders to monitor Brazil's Sunday election for attempts by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro to subvert democracy, arguing trade sanctions should apply if he does. Voters in Brazil head to the polls for a first-round presidential vote on Oct. 2, with leftist front-runner and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, expanding his lead over Bolsonaro in the latest polls even as fears of post-election turmoil persist. In an open letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Vice President Josep Borrell, the…
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Sweden says fourth leak found on Nord Stream pipelines

Sweden says fourth leak found on Nord Stream pipelines

Sweden's coast guard earlier this week discovered a fourth gas leak on the damaged Nord Stream pipelines, a coast guard spokesperson told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. "Two of these four are in Sweden's exclusive economic zone," coast guard spokesperson Jenny Larsson told the newspaper. The two other holes are in the Danish exclusive economic zone. The European Union promised a "robust" response to any intentional disruption of its energy infrastructure after saying it suspected sabotage was behind gas leaks discovered this week on subsea Russian pipelines to Europe. As gas spewed out under the Baltic Sea for a third day after…
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ECB needs big Oct rate hike; should hit neutral rate this year, Rehn says

ECB needs big Oct rate hike; should hit neutral rate this year, Rehn says

HELSINKI, Sept 28 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank must continue to raise interest rates quickly to tame inflation and could reach a level that no longer stimulates the economy before Christmas, Finnish central bank chief Olli Rehn said in an interview. The ECB lifted rates by a combined 125 basis points in its past two meetings, the fastest pace of policy tightening on record, but inflation is still months from its peak, pointing to even more tightening from a bank that started hiking well after most of its top peers. "There is a case for taking a decision on…
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EU executive proposes eighth batch of sanctions against Russia

EU executive proposes eighth batch of sanctions against Russia

BRUSSELS, Sept 28 (Reuters) - The European Union executive proposed on Wednesday an eighth round of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, including tighter trade restrictions, more individual blacklistings and an oil price cap for third countries.  The proposal will now go to the bloc's 27 member countries, which will need to overcome their differences to implement the new sanctions on top of seven sets of punitive measures imposed on Russia since its forces swept into Ukraine on Feb. 24. That may take time despite the EU being spurred into action by Russia's military mobilisation last week, nuclear threats and steps to annex a swathe of Ukraine, after…
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People of Ukraine nominated for EU human rights prize

People of Ukraine nominated for EU human rights prize

Lawmakers from four European Parliament groups have nominated the people of Ukraine for this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.  The Sakharov Prize has been awarded since 1988 “to honour exceptional individuals and organisations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms." Among this year’s nominations, which were announced on Monday, several went to the Ukrainian people in recognition of their brave resistance to the Russian invasion, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.  The Christian Democratic European People’s Party (EPP) put forward “the brave Ukrainian people represented by President Volodymir Zelensky.” Meanwhile, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) nominated…
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EU vows to protect energy systems after ‘sabotage’ on Russian gas pipelines

EU vows to protect energy systems after ‘sabotage’ on Russian gas pipelines

BERLIN/COPENHAGEN, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Any deliberate disruption to the EU's energy infrastructure would meet a "robust and united response", its top diplomat said, after several states said two Russian pipelines to Europe that have been churning gas into the Baltic had been attacked. It remained far from clear who might be behind the leaks or any foul play, if proven, on the Nord Stream pipelines that Russia and European partners spent billions of dollars building. Russia, which slashed gas deliveries to Europe after the West imposed sanctions over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, has also said sabotage was a possibility…
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EU countries at odds over possible gas price cap

EU countries at odds over possible gas price cap

BRUSSELS, Sept 28 (Reuters) - European Union countries were at odds on Wednesday over whether to cap gas prices in the bloc, with France, Belgium and 13 other states stepping up their call for the move opposed by Germany and others. Eyes were on the EU executive European Commission, which was expected to present an analysis on the feasibility of the bloc capping gas prices during a meeting of diplomats from the 27 EU member states on Wednesday. The Commission's document would not include legal proposals, sources said, but rather present an assessment of options countries could use to tackle…
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EU believes sabotage likely in leaking Russian gas pipelines

EU believes sabotage likely in leaking Russian gas pipelines

BERLIN/COPENHAGEN, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Any deliberate disruption to the EU's energy infrastructure would meet a "robust and united response", its top diplomat was quoted as saying on Wednesday after several states said two Russian gas pipelines to Europe were attacked. As gas continued to spew into the Baltic Sea, it remained far from clear who might be behind the leaks or any foul play, if proven, on the Nord Stream pipelines that Russia and European partners spent billions of dollars building. Russia, which slashed gas deliveries to Europe after the West imposed sanctions over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, has…
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NATO calls Nord Stream leaks acts of sabotage

NATO calls Nord Stream leaks acts of sabotage

BRUSSELS, Sept 28 (Reuters) - NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday attributed the leaks on the Nord Stream pipelines to acts of sabotage and said he had discussed the protection of critical infrastructure in NATO countries with the Danish defence minister. "Discussed the sabotage on the NorthStream pipelines with Defence Minister Morten Bødskov," he said on Twitter. "We addressed the protection of critical infrastructure in NATO countries." EU sees sabotage of Nord Stream, warns against attacks on 'active infrastructure' European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the leaks of the Nord Stream pipelines were caused by sabotage, and warned…
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ECB boss pledges to MEPs to fight inflation and restore confidence

ECB boss pledges to MEPs to fight inflation and restore confidence

Members of the European Parliament voiced concerns about rising energy and food prices, and mortgage rates during a hearing with European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde. MEPs in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee discussed how to avoid fragmentation between member states and reduce inflation uniformly across the euro area. MEPs focused on a planned deployment of the Transmission Protection Instrument, (TPI) which aims to ensure that the ECB monetary policy is effectively applied in all euro area members to ensure price stability. In particular, the Committee members asked how the ECB would decide a country’s eligibility for assets purchase…
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Asylum applicants in Europe up 4% in June 2022, largest group are Syrians

Asylum applicants in Europe up 4% in June 2022, largest group are Syrians

In June 2022, 65 645 first-time asylum applicants (non-EU citizens) applied for international protection in the EU Member States, up 66% compared with June 2021 (39 515) and 4% compared with May 2022 (63 105). Data released by Eurostat shows that the increase from May to June 2022 can be mainly attributed to increases in first-time applicants from Tunisia (+990 people; or +82%), Turkey (+850; or +31%) and Pakistan (+645; or +22%). In June 2022, there were also 6 190 subsequent applicants (people who reapplied for asylum after a decision had been taken on a previous application). This was up…
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Ukraine urges EU to help make emergency food routes permanent

Ukraine urges EU to help make emergency food routes permanent

Ukraine on Monday urged the European Union to support its plans to make the emergency paths for grain exports through the bloc permanent, with investment in at least five border terminals and a pipeline through which sunflower oil would flow. Ukraine's agriculture minister Mykola Solsky told EU counterparts and the European Commission his country needed financial support to reduce its reliance on Black Sea exports that Russia had blocked and could hinder again. Its grain and sunflower seed exports have risen from 200,000 tonnes in the month after Russia's Feb. 24 invasion to 4.5 million tonnes in August, helped by a…
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Asked about Italy, ECB’s Lagarde says she won’t fix ‘policy errors’

Asked about Italy, ECB’s Lagarde says she won’t fix ‘policy errors’

The European Central Bank won't use its latest emergency scheme to buy the bonds of countries that make "policy errors", its President Christine Lagarde said on Monday in response to a question about Italy's likely next government. A right-wing alliance led by Giorgia Meloni triumphed in Italy's general elections on Sunday, inheriting one of the euro zone's heaviest debt burdens at a time of rising borrowing costs and looming recession. Meloni has pledged not to take risks with Italy's fragile finances and stick to European Union budget rules but coalition partner Matteo Salvini has called for increasing the deficit. Asked…
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ECB eyes blockchain for settling bank transactions, Panetta says

ECB eyes blockchain for settling bank transactions, Panetta says

FRANKFURT, Sept 26 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank is studying ways of settling transactions between banks on a blockchain in a bid to keep control of money even if lenders switch to distributed ledgers, ECB board member Fabio Panetta said on Monday. The ECB is among a number of central banks around the world working on digital versions of their currency in response to the popularity of digital tokens such as Bitcoin and the blockchain technology that powers them. This Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is predicated on market participants verifying transactions and keeping a copy of them rather than…
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EU has “serious questions” as Serbia enters regular consultations with Russia

EU has “serious questions” as Serbia enters regular consultations with Russia

BRUSSELS, Sept 26 (Reuters) - The EU on Monday denounced a decision by Serbia to hold regular foreign policy consultations with Russia, saying the move raised "serious questions" at a time when Brussels has told membership candidates not to continue business as usual with Moscow. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Serbian counterpart Nikola Selakovic signed a document on Friday dubbed a "plan on consultations". Selakovic said that the plan envisages consultations on bilateral and multilateral activities, though there was nothing on security policies in it. Serbian opposition parties criticised the document. Serbia, which was bombed by NATO two…
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Hungary PM Orban says EU sanctions on Russia have “backfired”

Hungary PM Orban says EU sanctions on Russia have “backfired”

BUDAPEST, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Hungary should prepare for a prolonged war in neighbouring Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told parliament on Monday, sharply criticising European Union sanctions imposed on Russia which he said were driving up energy prices. Orban said the EU sanctions have "backfired" and it was no surprise that governments were falling in Europe, referring to the Italian election on Sunday where Giorgia Meloni looks set to become Italy's first woman prime minister at the head of its most right-wing government since World War Two. Hungary's government has revised its long-term energy strategy and plans a raft…
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Group of countries to push EU for gas price cap -letter

Group of countries to push EU for gas price cap -letter

BRUSSELS, Sept 26 (Reuters) - A group of European Union countries want to push Brussels to produce plans this week for a bloc-wide cap on the price of gas, according to a draft letter seen by Reuters. The EU proposed a package of emergency measures to tackle soaring energy prices earlier this month, but has steered clear of a gas price cap, an idea which has split the bloc's 27 member states. Countries in favour plan to step up pressure on Brussels, with a letter asking the European Commission to make proposals on a gas price cap for discussion at…
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Banks in the euro zone will have to raise provisions to cope with economic slowdown

Banks in the euro zone will have to raise provisions to cope with economic slowdown

MADRID, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Banks in the euro zone will have to raise provisions to cope with the consequences of the economic slowdown due to the fallout from Russia's war in Ukraine, ECB Vice-president Luis De Guindos said on Monday. "The economic slowdown will lead to a potential increase in insolvencies (...) we are already trying to get the banks to bring forward their plans because it is going to have an impact without a doubt," De Guindos said. "Let's not be blinded by the short term effect, banks will have to increase provisions," he added, recognizing a short-term…
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Eyes on Belgium as some EU states push for Russian diamond ban

Eyes on Belgium as some EU states push for Russian diamond ban

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union must stop importing diamonds from Russia, five of the bloc's 27 countries said in a joint proposal seen by Reuters, as the EU prepares new sanctions against Moscow for waging war against Ukraine. The EU, which has so far implemented six rounds of sanctions since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, needs unanimity to agree any such ban that Belgium - home to the world's biggest diamond trading hub Antwerp - has rejected in the past. The bloc was spurred into fresh action after President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial military mobilisation last week…
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UPDATED: EU crisis response meeting to discuss developments in Russia

UPDATED: EU crisis response meeting to discuss developments in Russia

BRUSSELS, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Ambassadors of European Union member states have been invited to a meeting of the bloc's crisis response working group on Monday to discuss concerns about an escalation of the war in Ukraine, an EU official and an EU diplomat said. The talks will also touch upon the ongoing referendums in occupied areas of Ukraine aimed at annexing territory to Russia, and on how the EU aims to handle scores of Russian men trying to enter the bloc to escape a partial mobilisation ordered last week, the sources said. Ambassadors are not usually present at meetings…
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EU’s green shift depends on mammoth investment in energy grid – draft

EU’s green shift depends on mammoth investment in energy grid – draft

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Investments of more than half a trillion euros will be needed to modernise Europe's energy grid this decade, if countries are to succeed in ramping up wind and solar power to break free from Russian gas, a draft EU document showed. The European Commission is set to publish next week a plan to "digitalise" Europe's energy system, as well as laying out new emergency measures to tame sky-high gas prices and help cash-strapped energy firms this winter. The draft plan, seen by Reuters, said electricity grid investments of 584 billion euros are needed until 2030, to support…
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Charles Michel favors opening EU to fleeing Russians

Charles Michel favors opening EU to fleeing Russians

The Lithuanian foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, said the country will not be granting asylum to Russians fleeing the country. “Russians should stay and fight. Against Putin.,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday. https://twitter.com/GLandsbergis/status/1573389737741918209 The number of border crossers from Russia into Finland has doubled in recent days compared to last week, Satu Sikanen, the regional mayor for south Karelia in Finland told BBC News on Saturday. Yesterday, Finland’s president and the ministerial committee proposed significant restrictions on issuing visas to Russian citizens and entry to the country, said Sikanen. The number of issued visas has already been decreased, she added.…
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Borrell: Putin not bluffing about nuclear weapons

Borrell: Putin not bluffing about nuclear weapons

The EU must take Vladimir Putin's threats he could use nuclear weapons in the conflict in Ukraine seriously, the bloc's foreign policy chief has said. Josep Borrell told the BBC's Lyse Doucet that the war had reached a "dangerous moment". His remarks come as Russia begins a partial mobilisation and moves to annex four regions of Ukraine. Mr Putin has faced setbacks on the battlefield, with his forces pushed back by a Ukrainian counter-offensive. "Certainly it's a dangerous moment because the Russian army has been pushed into a corner, and Putin's reaction - threatening using nuclear arms - it's very…
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European Council President calls for Russia’s suspension from Security Council

European Council President calls for Russia’s suspension from Security Council

“Every war is a denial of humanity,” European Council President Charles Michel told the UN General Assembly on Friday, condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which he said has threatened hundreds of millions of people with starvation, heat deprivation or energy constraints. “This is hybrid warfare. It combines the violence of weapons with the poison of lies,” Mr. Michel stated, describing falsehoods coming from the Kremlin – such as the justifying the war as a preventative measure for an alleged genocide of Russian-speakers in Ukraine. “It is wrong, and it is filthy,” he said. More lies Also, in Russia’s “web of lies”…
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ECB seeks to cut subsidy to banks as rate hikes leave it on hook, sources say

ECB seeks to cut subsidy to banks as rate hikes leave it on hook, sources say

FRANKFURT, Sept 23 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank is studying ways of cutting a subsidy to banks that stands to cost it tens of billions of euros in interest, four sources told Reuters, in a move that is likely to attract a backlash from lenders. To fight runaway inflation, the ECB has raised the rate it pays on the 4.6 trillion euros ($4.5 trillion) worth of banks' reserves that exceed requirements from -0.5% to 0.75% in less than two months. This leaves the ECB on the hook for tens of billions of euros in annual interest on those reserves…
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EU’s von der Leyen delivers veiled warning to Italy’s right wing

EU’s von der Leyen delivers veiled warning to Italy’s right wing

BRUSSELS, Sept 23 (Reuters) - European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has warned Italy of consequences should it veer away from democratic principles, issuing a barely veiled threat ahead of Sunday's election that a rightist bloc led by Giorgia Meloni is expected to win. The comments highlighted concern in some European capitals over the forthcoming election and suggested that relations between Brussels and Rome could get turbulent if Meloni and her partners secure victory. "My approach is that whatever democratic government is willing to work with us, we're working together," von der Leyen said at Princeton University in the…
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Euro zone likely entering recession as price rises hit demand -PMI

Euro zone likely entering recession as price rises hit demand -PMI

LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - A downturn in business activity across the euro zone deepened in September, according to a survey which showed the economy was likely entering a recession as consumers rein in spending amid a cost of living crisis. Manufacturers were particularly hard hit by high energy costs after Russia's invasion of Ukraine sent gas prices rocketing, while the bloc's dominant services industry suffered as consumers stayed at home to save money. S&P Global's flash Composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), seen as a good gauge of overall economic health, fell to 48.2 in September from 48.9 in August,…
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EU considers more action to tame energy prices, fix liquidity squeeze

EU considers more action to tame energy prices, fix liquidity squeeze

BRUSSELS, Sept 22 (Reuters) - The European Commission is working on more measures to tame sky-high gas prices and support energy firms facing a liquidity crunch, and may lay out its plans to EU countries next week. The European Union's executive last week proposed emergency energy measures, including bloc-wide windfall profit levies on energy firms. EU countries are now negotiating the proposals and aim to approve them at a meeting of EU ministers on Sept.30. While those negotiations are happening, the Commission intends to publish an update on Sept.28 on further measures it is exploring, EU officials said. This plan…
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Hungary PM Orban says EU’s Russia sanctions should be scrapped

Hungary PM Orban says EU’s Russia sanctions should be scrapped

BUDAPEST, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told his ruling Fidesz party that sanctions against Russia imposed by the European Union should be scrapped, the pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet reported late on Wednesday. Orban, a harsh critic of EU sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, made the remarks at a closed-door meeting of his party members on Wednesday, before the start of the autumn political season. Magyar Nemzet cited Orban as saying - without giving a source - that the EU sanctions have driven up gas prices and inflation, and if these measures were to…
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EU ministers agree to press ahead with new Russia sanctions

EU ministers agree to press ahead with new Russia sanctions

UNITED NATIONS, (Reuters) - European Union foreign ministers agreed on Wednesday to prepare new sanctions on Russia and increase weapons' deliveries to Kyiv after President Vladimir Putin ordered the country's first wartime mobilisation since World War Two to fight in Ukraine. The bloc's 27 foreign ministers are in New York for the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Putin's announcement - which included moves to annex swaths of Ukrainian territory and a threat to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia - showed panic and desperation. "It's clear that Putin is…
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EU gives green light for $5.2 bln in state aid for hydrogen development

EU gives green light for $5.2 bln in state aid for hydrogen development

AMSTERDAM, Sept 21 (Reuters) - The European Commission on Wednesday said it has approved 5.2 billion euros ($5.15 billion) in public funding by 13 EU member states aimed at boosting the supply of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen. The state aid is expected to unlock 7 billion euros in private funding for a total of 35 projects involving 29 companies, the commission said. ($1 = 1.0089 euros) (Reporting by Bart Meijer, Editing by Louise Heavens)
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Recession alone won’t subdue euro zone inflation – ECB’s de Guindos

Recession alone won’t subdue euro zone inflation – ECB’s de Guindos

COLOGNE, Germany, Sept 21 (Reuters) - The euro zone may suffer a recession over the winter as risks to the growth outlook are intensifying, but even that is not enough to reduce inflation without further rate hikes, European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos said on Wednesday. Growth has been suffering due to high energy costs and a loss of Russian gas, raising the risk of energy rationing over the winter while households and businesses take a financial hit from high costs. "Markets believe that the slowdown of the economy would reduce inflation by itself," de Guindos told a…
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European governments spend half a trillion euros on energy crisis – Bruegel report

European governments spend half a trillion euros on energy crisis – Bruegel report

BRUSSELS, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Governments in Europe have earmarked nearly 500 billion euros in the last year to cushion citizens and companies from soaring gas and power prices, according to research published by think-tank Bruegel on Wednesday. Months of surging prices have seen governments roll out measures to curb retail power prices, slash energy taxes and give subsidies to bill-payers. European gas and power prices have rocketed as Russia has cut fuel exports to retaliate for Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine. The EU's 27 countries have collectively allocated 314 billion euros for measures to ease the pain,…
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EU drugs agency to Biden: The pandemic is not over

EU drugs agency to Biden: The pandemic is not over

The European Medicines Agency’s top scientist stated Tuesday that the pandemic is “ongoing” after U.S. President Joe Biden declared that the health crisis was over. “I cannot honestly answer why President Biden came to that conclusion,” the regulator’s chief medical officer, Steffen Thirstrup, told journalists during a briefing. “What is clear to me … is that we in Europe still consider the pandemic as ongoing, that it's important that member states prepare for rollout of the vaccines, and especially the adaptive vaccines to prevent further spread of this disease in Europe,” Thirstrup added. In an interview that aired late on…
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EU says support for Ukraine steadfast in face of Russian aggression

EU says support for Ukraine steadfast in face of Russian aggression

BRUSSELS, Sept 21 (Reuters) - The European Union's support for Kyiv will remain steadfast in the face of Russian aggression, the president of the council representing the bloc's 27 member states said on Wednesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin escalated the war in Ukraine. President Charles Michel wrote on Twitter from the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) meetings in New York this week: "Kremlin announces mobilization... while at UNGA countries work for cooperation, security and prosperity." https://twitter.com/CharlesMichel/status/1572535699236331520 "In this war, there is only one aggressor, Russia, and one aggressed country, Ukraine," he said. "EU's support to Ukraine will remain steadfast." His…
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EU, France see no better deal for Iran

EU, France see no better deal for Iran

France said on that there would not be a better offer for Iran to revive a nuclear deal with world powers and it was up to Tehran to decide now with the EU coordinator for the talks saying he saw little chance of progress this week. Months of indirect talks between Iran and the United States have foundered over several issues, including Tehran's insistence the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) close an investigation into uranium traces found at three undeclared sites before the pact is revived, and a U.S. guarantee that Washington would not walk out of any nuclear agreement again. "There…
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ECB wants banks to review capital plans given downturn

ECB wants banks to review capital plans given downturn

The euro zone banking sector is robust ahead of a possible recession but the European Central Bank is still asking lenders to review capital projections given what is likely to be a difficult winter, ECB supervisor Andrea Enria said on Monday. Banks have built ample capital over recent years and also stand to benefit from rising interest rates but an almost certain recession and sky high energy costs are bound to weigh on parts of the sector. "We are pushing banks to focus very much on their concentration of exposures towards sectors which are particularly dependent on energy and fragile to energy shocks," Enria told…
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35% of Maltese never exercise or play sport – EU survey

35% of Maltese never exercise or play sport – EU survey

More than one-third of respondents from Malta told a Eurobarometer survey that they never practice any sport or undertake any physical exercise at all. Malta is also the only country where a majority of respondents say they seldom engage in other physical activity (39%) 38% of Europeans play sport or exercise at least once a week, the survey found. Respondents in Finland (71%), Luxembourg (63%), the Netherlands (60%), and Denmark and Sweden (59% in both countries) are the most likely to exercise or play sport at least once a week. Conversely, over half of respondents in eight countries say they…
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EU plans to upgrade its Paris Agreement climate target

EU plans to upgrade its Paris Agreement climate target

The European Union plans to raise its target to tackle global warming under the Paris climate agreement, although the upgrade is unlikely to happen in time for this year's U.N. climate summit, according to a draft document seen by Reuters. A draft of the EU's negotiating mandate for the COP27 summit in November, seen by Reuters, said the 27-country bloc intends to update its "nationally determined contribution" (NDC) - the contribution each country makes towards the 2015 Paris accord to prevent disastrous climate change. The EU, the world's third-biggest emitter, has pledged to cut its net emissions by 55% by 2030, from 1990…
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ECB to buy fewer bonds from polluting companies

ECB to buy fewer bonds from polluting companies

FRANKFURT, Sept 19 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank will tilt its purchases of corporate bonds towards companies that emit less carbon, giving each firm a score based on their performance, goals and climate disclosures. Hoping to play a part in the fight against climate change, the ECB unveiled a host of measures from bank supervision to monetary policy last year, and favouring companies with a better climate performance is among its latest moves. "One goal is to reduce the Eurosystem’s exposure to climate-related financial risk," the ECB said in a statement. "Furthermore, these measures support the green transition of…
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Europe races to prepare for energy crunch this winter

Europe races to prepare for energy crunch this winter

PARIS/MADRID/BERLIN, Sept 19 (Reuters) - European governments outlined new measures on Monday to cope with potential energy shortages this winter and raced to improve energy networks to share power, with Russian gas flows still running at severely reduced rates amid the Ukraine war. Spain drew up plans that could force energy-intensive industries to shut at peak demand times, France said it was preparing to send gas to Germany from October, while Berlin said Europe's powerhouse was still in talks on state aid for ailing utility Uniper. German buyers briefly reserved capacity on Monday to receive Russian gas via the Nord…
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EU proposes emergency powers to avert supply crisis

EU proposes emergency powers to avert supply crisis

BRUSSELS, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Europe-based companies could be made to prioritise production of key products and stockpile goods under draft EU rules that would give Brussels emergency powers to tackle supply chain crises. The Single Market Emergency Instrument put forward by the European Union executive on Monday is a response to bottlenecks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's Ukraine invasion. The proposal, which echoes similar measures adopted by the United States and Japan, is expected to face strong pushback from businesses and some European Union countries, concerned that this amounts to over-reach by the European Commission. "We need…
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UPDATE – In a first, EU moves to cut money for Hungary over damaging democracy

UPDATE – In a first, EU moves to cut money for Hungary over damaging democracy

BRUSSELS/BUDAPEST, Sept 18 (Reuters) - The European Union executive recommended on Sunday suspending some 7.5 billion euros in funding for Hungary over corruption, the first such case in the 27-nation bloc under a new sanction meant to better protect the rule of law.  The EU introduced the new financial sanction two years ago precisely in response to what it says amounts to the undermining of democracy in Poland and Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban subdued courts, media, NGOs and academia, as well as restricting the rights of migrants, gays and women during more than a decade in power.  EU executive proposes…
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