Eurosphere agenda: Clashes before a possible Ukraine truce…


Iceland’s Asatru movement builds first temple
Is there reason to hope for Minsk II?

The last Minsk agreement on eastern Ukraine failed to bring peace. The latest looks similar—but the context has changed.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, called it “no more than a glimmer of hope” after all-night negotiations in the Belarus capital, involving the leaders of Russia, France, Ukraine and herself, concluded on 12 February.

Battles rage ahead of Ukraine truce

Fierce fighting is continuing in eastern Ukraine, hours before a ceasefire agreed by European leaders on Thursday is due to come into force.
Growth, not Grexit

Greece’s European partners need to understand that the country’s recent election result was an explicit rejection of five years of policies that have failed to deliver the expected results. All parties need to stop talking about “game theory” and work together to put a feasible plan on the table.

Sweden cuts rates and starts QE

Sweden’s central bank cuts its key interest rate from 0% to a record low of -0.1% and starts a programme of quantitative easing.
Ukraine ceasefire announced at Minsk summit—what next?

The ceasefire agreement in Minsk over Ukraine was better than no outcome at all. But only a little better.

After all-night talks in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, the outcomes of the four-party talks in the so-called Normandy format (Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany) have neither brought a major breakthrough nor a complete disaster. As a deal, it is not a solution, but perhaps a step towards one.

Greek ‘compromise’ possible – Merkel

Germany’s Chancellor Merkel says a compromise is possible, amid a stand-off with Greece over the terms of its bailout.

Partido Popular MPs lashed out at Catalonia’s education minister for ignoring court rulings on Catalan language use.

Parliament of Catalonia. Wikimedia. Public domain.

None of the proposed alternatives to UK membership of the EU would return the same level of benefits and influence, according to a new report.


Nervous reactions suggest that when German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande co-signed the Minsk agreement, they may have forgotten to include a very important text.

VIDEO: European week in 60 seconds

In a one-minute video guide to European issues, Giles Dilnot looks back over headlines from Brussels and Strasbourg.
‘Extreme tourism’ in eastern Ukraine

A Russian travel company says it will take people on tours of war-torn eastern Ukraine in armoured vehicles.

EU politicians are expected to agree on a compromise 2018 start date for reforms to the Emissions Trading System (ETS) to try to bridge divisions over efforts to prop up the world’s biggest carbon market, sources said on Friday (13 February).

Putin’s European Fifth Column

If the world should have learned one thing from the recent months of tensions between Russia and the West, it is that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategic ambition and skill should never be underestimated. It is in this light that the West should view Putin’s recent overtures to some within the European Union.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras repeatedly said during the Council summit in Brussels on Thursday (12 February) that the “Troika is over.” But he also agreed to a resumption of crisis talks with the three creditor institutions in the coming days.
Inside the Germans’ debt psyche

Inside the German psyche on the matter of money
Dresden’s firebombing haunts rebuilt city

Dresden’s firebombing haunts rebuilt city 70 years on
Shelling follows Ukraine summit

New shelling is reported in the rebel-held east Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Luhansk shortly after the peace summit in Belarus.
At least one person killed in fresh fighting in rebel-held cities of Dontesk and Luhansk, as start of ceasefire looms.

A FOCUS survey reports that 48% of Germans are in favour of Greece leaving the eurozone. 29% of respondents said they supported Greece keeping the euro, and 23% is undecided. EurActiv Germany reports.

Greeks brace for confrontation in Brussels

Greeks braced for confrontation with eurozone
Move comes days after EU warned that Athens will not get cash unless it scales back plans to revise austerity measures.
Belgium jails Islamist group members

A Belgian court jails the leader of a group that sent jihadists to Syria to 12 years in jail, in a case with 46 suspects – the largest such case in Belgium.
SPECIAL REPORT: The European Council is mulling the idea of allowing member states to offset money designated for co-financing projects, using structural funds from their annual budgets under the stability and growth pact, EurActiv has learned.
Two MEPs have questioned the European Commission over the lack of information available about bad cholesterol, which now affects 54% of Europeans. EurActiv France reports.
European Union leaders called on Thursday for “systematic” checks on travellers entering the passport-free Schengen area but fell short of heeding to French and Spanish demands for rewriting the Schengen border code.
Emissions from car exhausts exceeded EU thresholds for nitrogen oxide at half of Germany’s monitoring stations. While 2014 is among the lowest years for particulates levels, the Federal Environment Agency sees no reason for relief.EurActiv Germany reports.
HSBC whistleblower’s email surfaces

Whistleblower Herve Falciani says he feels vindicated after his email to HMRC offering details of bank account holders in Switzerland is uncovered by Le Monde newspaper.
At the EU summit Thursday (12 February) Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker presented ideas for a core eurozone union, a concept viewed with apprehension from numerous quarters.
Alexis Tsipras says his country does not want a bailout extension but a “bridge programme” until a new pact is sealed.

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