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Sustainable democracies need a sustainable media sector, says Jourová [Advocacy Lab Content]

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 21:07
Our democracies need a sustainable media sector, Věra Jourová, European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency, told participants of the recent Stars4Media conference in Brussels.
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ECB’s ‘hawkish bias’ could trigger ‘secular stagnation’, leading think tank chief warns

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 17:35
The European Central Bank’s hesitation to cut rates before further signs of slowing wage growth reflects a “hawkish bias” that could lead to weak growth becoming entrenched across the eurozone economy, the head of Bruegel think tank warned on Wednesday (27 March).
Categories: EurActiv

Rift in German Social Democrats widens as Scholz urged to back Ukraine’s victory

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 17:19
Germany’s ruling Social Democrats are facing a rift over the government's Ukraine policy as a group of notable historians within the party denounced on Wednesday (27 March) Chancellor Olaf Scholz's 'ambiguous rhetoric' towards Russia.
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Member states push for further safeguards against Ukrainian imports

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 17:03
With little time before the expiration of wartime trade benefits granted to Kyiv, and despite the compromise deal reached with the European Parliament last week, a Polish-led coalition of EU countries has succeeded in reopening negotiations to enhance safeguards against market distortions.
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What are Geographical Indications and what are they for?

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 16:49
Last month, the European Parliament approved a revised version of the EU’s Geographical Indications (GIs) regulation, which protects the names of products that come from specific regions and have specific qualities and a certain reputation through special labels.
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Deal on major digital bill: French lawmakers give in to EU Commission demands

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 16:47
French lawmakers reached a compromise on Tuesday (26 March) on a hard-fought all-encompassing digital bill, agreeing to water down provisions that would otherwise conflict with EU legislation, white putting sovereign cloud requirements into law.
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EU unable to approve new gene-editing plans in current mandate

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 16:39
The approval of much-anticipated legislation loosening the EU’s strict rules on New Genomic Techniques (NGTs), will have to wait until the next legislative mandate, Belgian Agriculture Minister David Clarinval confirmed at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRIFISH) on Tuesday’s (26 March).
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French government refuses to put CETA to parliamentary vote before European elections

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 16:03
The ratification of CETA, the trade agreement between the EU and Canada, rejected last week by the Senate, will not be submitted to the National Assembly before the European elections, the government has confirmed, so as not to "instrumentalise the debate".
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The Brief – DSA is branching into genAI regulation for EU elections

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 15:21
While the European Commission released its guidelines on how to avoid the abuse of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in June's EU elections, the internet was ablaze with theories that a video intended to show the wellbeing of Kate Middleton, a member of the British Royal Family, was fake and created by AI.
Categories: EurActiv

German economy to nearly flatline this year, Kiel, ifo Institutes say

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 15:11

Frankfurt, Germany, March 27, 2024 (AFP) - The German economy is expected to barely grow this year, leading economic institutes said Wednesday, as weak demand at home and abroad slows the path to recovery.

Europe's largest economy will expand by just 0.1 percent in 2024, five think-tanks said in a joint statement, a sharp downgrade from their earlier forecast of 1.3 percent growth.

"Cyclical and structural factors are overlapping in the sluggish overall economic development," said Stefan Kooths from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).

"Although a recovery is likely to set in from the spring, the overall momentum will not be too strong," he added.

The German economy shrank by 0.3 percent last year, battered by inflation, high interest rates and cooling exports, and is struggling to emerge from the doldrums.

Even though inflation has steadily dropped in recent months, consumer spending was picking up "later and less dynamically" than previously forecast as wages lag behind, the institutes (DIW, Ifo, IfW Kiel, IWH and RWI) said.

And Germany's export sector, usually a key driver of economic growth, was suffering from cooling foreign trade against a fragile global economic backdrop.

Energy-intensive businesses in particular have been hit hard by soaring energy prices following Russia's war in Ukraine, contributing to a manufacturing slump in Europe's industrial powerhouse.

Corporate investments meanwhile have been dampened not just by the European Central Bank's interest rate rises, which have made borrowing more expensive, but also by "uncertainty about economic policy", the institutes said.

- Debt brake debate -

The criticism of Berlin comes after a shock legal ruling late last year threw Chancellor Olaf Scholz's budget into disarray, forcing the government to rethink its spending plans.

The government recently also drastically downgraded its own economic forecasts, expecting output to expand by just 0.2 percent this year.

Economy Minister Robert Habeck last month acknowledged the economy was "in rough waters" and in need of a "reform booster".

But Scholz's three-way coalition government -- made up of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the liberal FDP -- is divided over how to turn the tide.

Calls have grown for the government to relax its constitutionally enshrined "debt brake", a self-imposed cap on annual borrowing, in order to turbocharge much-needed spending on infrastructure modernisation and the green transition.

Habeck is in favour of relaxing the debt rules, but Finance Minister Christian Lindner from the FDP is deeply opposed.

The think-tanks said they recommended "a mild reform" of the debt brake to allow "for more debt-financed investments than before".

Looking ahead, the institutes expect the recovery to quicken next year as inflation eases further and demand picks up.

They now expect the economy to grow by 1.4 percent in 2025, only slightly below their previous forecast of 1.5 percent.

Categories: EurActiv

Azerbaijan keeps trade option open amid sanctions busting accusations

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 15:00
Azerbaijan has positioned itself as a significant energy trade partner for the EU following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, amid accusations that Baku would be involved in 'laundering' sanctioned Russian gas and oil.
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Agri ministers call the Commission to speed up work on animal transport

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 11:46
European Union agriculture ministers backed on Tuesday (26 March) the European Commission’s initiatives on animal welfare, calling for tougher standards on transport, labelling, and slaughter in the next political mandate.
Categories: EurActiv

EU Commission to sign partnership with Australia on critical raw materials

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 11:29
The European Commission will sign a strategic partnership with Australia on critical raw materials, a source familiar with the matter told Euractiv, as the EU continues its drive to secure access to these materials from sources other than China.
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Carbon circularity requires EU action: lessons from 3 EU projects [Promoted content]

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 11:00
CO2SMOS, VIVALDI and CATCO2NVERS are EU-funded projects exploring ways to replace fossil-based carbon in chemicals with carbon emitted by installations processing biomass. Their recommendations? EU regulations must ensure that sustainable carbon is recognised as the easier, cheaper and necessary alternative.
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‘A new chapter in EU climate policy’ – Swedish EU lawmaker talks carbon capture and bioenergy

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 09:51
Europe is heading into a new chapter of climate policy, paving the way for negative emissions also from the bioenergy sector, Renew Europe lawmaker Emma Wiesner told Euractiv in an interview.
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Vandenbroucke takes another jab at slow EU action on tobacco, alcohol

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 09:00
“Prevention is very much about consumption. Consumption is about what is on the market. When you say market you say EU,” Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke told an even in Brussels on Tuesday.
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Sanctions (don’t) work to stop the war? How Russia uses the narrative against the West

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 09:00
Western sanctions and their effectiveness are one of the favourite topics of Russian propaganda, demonstrating both the importance for the Kremlin of managing this narrative and the real impact sanctions are having on the Russian economy.
Categories: EurActiv

Talking to humans about nature protection

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 08:00
Irrespective of whether the Commission’s nature restoration law proposal survives or falls, we need to learn how to talk to humans about nature protection - and fast.
Categories: EurActiv

US secondary sanctions work: Russia struggles to collect oil payments

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 07:15
Russian oil firms face delays of up to several months to be paid for crude and fuel as banks in China, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates become more wary of US secondary sanctions.
Categories: EurActiv

Zelenskyy replaces top security official in new reshuffle

EURACTIV News - Wed, 2024-03-27 06:38
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed the secretary of Ukraine's national security council and replaced him with the head of his foreign spy agency on Tuesday (26 March).
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