French PM strives to push for pension reform amid calls for “unlimited” strikes

French PM strives to push for pension reform amid calls for “unlimited” strikes

The French government’s determination to push for pension reform does not appear to be wavering in the face of mounting calls for protest by trade unions, students, teachers and the ‘yellow vest’ movement. EURACTIV France reports. The government in Paris is determined to push ahead with its pension reform, even if this means that strikes could block part of France. That is because the rail workers’ General Confederation of Labour (CGT-Cheminots) initially called for an unlimited strike to take place on 5 December, to protest against the amendment of the…

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EU finance and education ministers hold “historic” meeting to increase skills investment

EU finance and education ministers hold “historic” meeting to increase skills investment

Ministers of finance and education of the EU member states met on Friday (7 November) for the first-ever joint Council with the aim of discussing the importance of education for a strong economy. “Today is a historic day, since for the first time ever we had the opportunity to discuss topics related to education together with finance and education ministers,” said Li Andersson, minister for education in Finland, which currently holds the Council’s rotating presidency. Although the ministers spent more than three hours discussing this issue, there were no proposals…

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Huawei’s billion-euro pitch to Vestager

Huawei’s billion-euro pitch to Vestager

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has released 2018 figures showing its presence in Europe provided a €12.8 billion stimulus to the EU’s economy, backing the company’s claim that it has become an essential element of Europe’s digital ecosystem. The figures, published on Monday (4 November), were intended particularly for incoming Commission Vice-President Margarethe Vestager who vowed to make “Europe fit for a digital age” as part of her new five-year mandate. The publication of Huawei’s 2018 economic data in Europe comes as America’s pressure on the company appears to be easing….

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Commission tells member states to adjust their economies further

Commission tells member states to adjust their economies further

The European Commission sent a number of letters to member states that are at risk of missing their fiscal targets for 2020. Brussels wants more information on how they intend to balance their public finances. Italy and Spain were among the eurozone countries that received a letter, an EU official had told EURACTIV.com on Monday evening, before they were submitted on Tuesday morning (22 October).  Belgium, France and Portugal also received a missive on Tuesday. According to EU rules, the Commission must seek additional information within the seven days after the…

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EU data watchdog raises concerns about Microsoft contracts

EU data watchdog raises concerns about Microsoft contracts

Microsoft’s contracts with European Union institutions do not fully protect data in line with EU law, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) said in initial findings published on Monday (21 October). The EDPS, the EU’s data watchdog, opened an investigation in April to assess whether contracts between Microsoft and EU institutions such as the European Commission fully complied with the bloc’s data protection rules. “Though the investigation is still ongoing, preliminary results reveal serious concerns over compliance of the relevant contractual terms with data protection rules and the role of…

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Belgian agricultural export beats a record

Belgian agricultural export beats a record

Never before did the Belgian food industry record greater sales abroad than in 2018. Hardly surprising, when you consider that in Belgium the quality of the products comes first. Chocolate traditionally continues to do well, but our frozen potatoes and vegetables, along with meat and dairy, are also in great demand internationally. Exports rose by no less than 3.5% in 2018 compared to 2017, a historic record. On a national level, it boasts a turnover of more than 27 billion euros. This was announced by Fevia, the federation of the…

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Green jobs see slight growth in Germany

Green jobs see slight growth in Germany

In 2017, 263,883 people were employed in the environmental sector in Germany, which was about 12,600 more than in the previous year. Although this means that the amount of so-called “green jobs” saw a slight rise in Germany, the stagnating wind industry continues to hamper growth. As announced on Tuesday (22 October) by Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, more than two-thirds of the so-called “green” jobs were in the manufacturing sector. Most people worked in mechanical engineering, a sector in which wind turbines, as well as energy-efficient drive and control technologies,…

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European farmers descend to Strasbourg to protest planned CAP reform

European farmers descend to Strasbourg to protest planned CAP reform

Hundreds of farmers are planning a demonstration in front of the European Parliament on Tuesday, calling for fewer direct payments to large industrial farms under the proposed revision of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). An alliance of seven environmental and agricultural organisations have planned a protest at the start of the third plenary session of the newly-elected EU Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday (22 October). Hundreds of farmers and activists from Germany and France want to park their tractors in front of the Parliament building in Strasbourg and hand over…

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The world’s second floating wind farm arrives in Portugal

The world’s second floating wind farm arrives in Portugal

The first turbine from the WindFloat Atlantic project was successfully towed from Ferrol, Spain, towards its destination 20 km off the coast of Viana do Castelo in Portugal on Saturday (19 October), in what constitutes a world second for floating wind. That first turbine will be joined in the coming months by two more floating units, which by the end of the year will produce 25 MW of electricity, enough to cover the energy needs of 60,000 homes, said the promoters of the project, an international consortium. This is the…

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Summit ends without progress on EU long-term budget

Summit ends without progress on EU long-term budget

EU leaders failed to narrow their differences over the EU’s seven-year budget for 2021-27, the Multiannual Financial Framework, as member states maintained their entrenched positions on the EU’s spending volume and priorities. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters after the summit on Friday (18 October) that leaders of the EU-27 were “repeating positions already known”. “There was no guidelines, nothing,” he added. The European Council discussed the size of the long-term budget, the volumes of the main policy areas, the revenue sources, the rebates that some member states obtain,…

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