Ukraine Support Group created
The Commission decided last Wednesday to create a Support Group for Ukraine. The group will provide a focal point, structure, overview and guidance for the Commission's work to support Ukraine. It will also help mobilise Member States' expertise and further enhance coordination with other donors and the International Financing Institutions. Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule will coordinate the group, which will report to President Barroso and VP Catherine Ashton and will draw on the contributions of all relevant Commission portfolios.
Law on private data storage overturned
The European Court of Justice struck down an EU-wide law last Tuesday on how private data can be collected and stored, judging it too invasive, news wires reported.
Making youth guarantee happen
Maria Koleva, Brussels
How to make youth guarantee a reality was in the spotlight of a debate with various stakeholders and experts from the EU countries organised by the Commission in Brussels on 8 April.
Promoting EU farm products
A deal with the EU Council of Ministers on measures to boost sales of EU farm products within the EU and abroad and to restore consumer confidence in the event of market disruptions was approved last Monday by the Parliament Agriculture Committee.
State aid up to 70% of investment costs
Businesses will be able to tap state aid for up to 70% of the investment costs of projects. The southwestern region will see support capped at 25% of investment costs, while the ceiling is set at 50% for the other five regions, according to Bulgaria's map for granting regional development aid between 2014 and 2020, adopted by the Council of Ministers.
Sofia, Hanoi develop 12 joint projects
Radoslav Kirov, Hanoi
An unnamed Bulgarian company is on the verge of securing a contract to provide consulting services on the construction of Vietnam's nuclear power plant.
Europe's fast track to youth employment
Italy's new prime minister, Matteo Renzi, wants to attack high youth unemployment by cutting taxes on labor. There is much to be said for that approach - not only in Italy, but throughout Europe, where direct and indirect taxation on employers and jobs accounts for half of the total tax take, while taxes on capital comprise only a fifth.
Beyond cliches: only lies
Kancho Stoychev, sociologist
European elites are being completely outrageous. They are lying shamelessly and manufacturing conflicts with the sole purpose of winning the upper hand in the upcoming elections - in other words, conducting themselves in a way that is normally thought of as typically Balkan. It would seem that election campaigns give politicians license to play dirty, i.e. lie and manipulate.
World's biggest electoral exercise
The biggest ever electoral exercise in the world is going on in India, where more than 800 million people are expected to cast their vote. Elections are being held in nine phases between 7 April and 12 May. Voters will choose representatives for the 543-seat lower house of Parliament. Recent polls show that Narendra Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party is likely to win big, possibly an outright majority.
All hopes pinned on four-way talks over Ukrainian crisis
With a separatist sentiment raging in the mainly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, a breakthrough in the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War era emerges in the perspective for international peace talks.
EU gives Russia to WTO over pork ban
The EU announced last Tuesday it had appealed to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over Russia's ban of pork exports from the Union, news wires reported. "Russia's blanket ban on European pork is clearly disproportionate and goes against WTO rules. Europe will defend its pork producers," Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht said in a statement.
World Bank reduces its East Asia growth forecast
The World Bank has revised downward its 2014 growth forecast for emerging economies in East Asia, including the region's powerhouse China.
Holcim, Lafarge merge to create cement giant
Swiss Holcim and French Lafarge unveiled last Monday a deal under which the two companies will merge to create the world's biggest cement maker with combined sales of €32bn, news wires reported.
Limerick meets Brussels
Maria Koleva, Brussels
After great success last year, Halles Saint Gery, the iconic cultural space in Brussels, welcomes again the exhibition of Irish art. This time it holds the title "Limerick meets Brussels - Brussels meets Sligo", two counties with a great cultural tradition in Ireland. Limerick is the City of Culture in 2014 and Sligo is the European Town of Sport 2014.
We laugh at the same things
It is quite natural that different people have different laughter. But I see also that the subtleties of human feeling or nature are common to all mankind including Japanese and Bulgarians.
See where architects live
More than 300,000 people from roughly 160 countries visited the 53rd International Furniture Fair in Milan (Salone Internazionale del Mobile), which took place between 8 and 13 April, organisers say.
Latin princess' last haven
Surrounded by the Rhodope Mountains' picturesque massifs, the village of Dorkovo straddles the Matnitsa River to the east of the Velingrad health resort famous for its mineral waters.