Interviews

Economy & Jobs 14-10-2019

Rioja president: ‘We will stand behind our wine producers’ in EU-US tariff war

Concha Andreu, the president of La Rioja region, made her first visit to Brussels last week, just after the US announced fresh tariffs on European exports, including wine produced in her region. She told EURACTIV.com she is confident Europe will support the region, whose economy is heavily dependent on the wine sector.

MEP Larrouturou: ‘Entire S&D group wants guarantees on financing European Green Deal’

Incoming EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen should take an extra month or two to negotiate a coalition agreement with the European Parliament, including a new finance-climate pact to support the energy transition, says Pierre Larrouturou, adding he will not vote for the new Commission without additional climate cash.

A clear, credible climate protection law is good for business, German expert says

In an interview with EURACTIV Germany, Karsten Neuhoff, a climate expert and professor, spoke about Germany's hotly-debated climate protection bill, stressing that a clear regulatory framework with "clear and credible paths for reducing emissions" is attractive for businesses.
Climate change 09-10-2019

Paris Agreement architect: ‘Carbon neutrality is the target to go for’

In an interview with EURACTIV, Paris Agreement key architect Laurence Tubiana gives her take away of the UN Climate Action Summit and the role of the European Union ahead of the next European Council meeting 17-18 October.
Agrifood 08-10-2019

Leftist MEP: EU left should in ‘no way’ turn its back on agriculture’s digitisation

The European left should under no circumstances turn its back on the digital transition of agriculture and give the floor to neoliberal political forces to further “marginalise” smallholders, Petros Kokkalis, a leftist MEP, told EURACTIV.com in an interview.

Gas expert: ‘IPCC is clear – we don’t have the option of waiting’

Switching from coal to gas in power generation is the single most important action Europe can take to get on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050, argues Simon Blakey, a European gas expert.

Hopko: Russia is killing the Minsk Agreement every day

A summit between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany is expected to take place within days in an effort to settle the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. But such a summit is pointless, especially when Putin will play his role of 'нас тут нет' (we are not here), says Hanna Hopko.

Austria committed to preserving environment, says sustainability minister

In an interview with EURACTIV Germany, Austria's Minister for Sustainability and Tourism, Maria Patek, spoke about her country's involvement in the European Green Belt Initiative, as well as her country's role as mediator for the various European environmental projects.
Future EU 02-10-2019

Michael Ignatieff: Hungary will not be a single-party state forever

The democratic transition is not over in Central and Eastern Europe and we will continue our mission of training people and creating "free minds, people who think", Michael Ignatieff, a Canadian academic and president of the Central European University, told EURACTIV Slovakia.
EU-China 02-10-2019

Chinese official: ‘Without a strong WTO, connectivity means nothing’

The EU and Japan have launched a new strategy to strengthen ties between Europe and Asia, seen as an alternative to China’s ‘Belt and Road’. But in view of the ongoing global trade disputes, for senior Chinese diplomat Xuejun Guo, the priority is nonetheless the renovation of the World Trade Organisation’s appellate body.
Energy 01-10-2019

Academic: Higher carbon price needed to ramp up EU biomethane production

The price of CO2 credits on Europe’s emissions trading scheme needs to rise to around €50 per tonne in order to drive the long-term development of Europe’s biomethane industry, says Marc-Antoine Eyl-Mazzega, a French researcher.
Batteries 26-09-2019

Sefcovic forsees ‘an Airbus for batteries, for 5G, AI, green tech’

In one of his first interviews since getting the nod to serve another five years in the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič talked about his new job, industrial policy and the "global mega-trends" the EU should lead heading into the next decade.
Energy 25-09-2019

Finnish official: ‘Heating is far from being just a local issue’

Achieving climate neutrality by 2050 requires decarbonising the whole economy, including the energy-hungry heating sector, says Finland's Riku Huttunen. And that will involve cooperation at all levels of government, including local and EU authorities, he argues.

EIB’s Werner Hoyer: ‘We aim for climate in everything we do’

In July, the European Investment Bank (EIB) published a draft of its proposed new lending policy for energy projects, which includes extra money for poorer EU countries, greater focus on renewables and phasing-out support for fossil fuel infrastructure after 2020. Werner Hoyer explains what this implies.
EU-China 23-09-2019

Budapest-Belgrade railway: Orbán flirts with China

Hungary has signed a deal with China to modernise the railway link between Budapest and Belgrade. The project - the first major Chinese infrastructure deal inside the EU - aims to facilitate the distribution of goods arriving at the Chinese-owned port of Piräus, but critics say it might be a waste of taxpayer money.
Transport 19-09-2019

Commission should ‘pick right battles’, says road transport head

Ursula von der Leyen’s new Commission should look seriously at making sure transport rules are well-tailored to different types of vehicles, while taking advantage of several “low-hanging fruits”, according to road transport association chief Matthias Maedge.
Freedom of thought 17-09-2019

CEU provost: Academic freedom is in crisis everywhere in Europe, not only in Hungary

It is the start of a new semester at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest. But this year, many of its students are preparing to move to Vienna, where lectures will start in October. It's because CEU, a private US university founded by the Hungarian billionaire George Soros, has been kicked out of Hungary.
Climate change 13-09-2019

Nigerian tree planter: Europe, US must help Africa fight climate change

In an interview with EURACTIV Germany, Mohammed Baba Baituna, the founder of Green Sahel, spoke about conflicts in his home country Nigeria, where his organisation and other local activists have been trying to cushion the effects of climate change, which are strengthening the jihadist terror group, Boko Haram.
Climate change 11-09-2019

Expert: German carbon budget not compatible with current targets

In an interview with EURACTIV Germany, Julia Hertin, the managing director of SRU, the German government's advisory board on environmental matters, spoke about the country's plans to introduce a climate protection bill, a carbon border tax and a trading scheme for carbon certificates. And she wants things to progress quickly.

Scientist: ‘I’m pretty sure we will need carbon removal technologies’

Sucking CO2 from the air to mitigate global warming may sound silly at first, but it’s likely to be necessary nonetheless, says Nils Røkke. And the more we delay it, the higher will be the demand for carbon removal technologies in the future, he warns.
Azerbaijan 05-09-2019

Ambassador: ‘We should be more creative’ in finalising Azerbaijan-EU trade deal

It took 20 years for the EU and Mercosur to sign a trade agreement. “We don’t want to wait that much,” says the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the EU, urging the European Commission to drop its “bureaucratic matrix” thinking. "We don't hide our names," he insists.
5G 27-08-2019

GDPR could obstruct AI development, MEP says

The EU's digital agenda over the next mandate is set to be marked by a series of broad-ranging reforms, from artificial intelligence and data protection to cryptocurrency regulation and digital tax. EURACTIV talked to Greek MEP Eva Kaili about how she hopes the EU's digital agenda over the next five years will play out.

Finnish social minister: Europe needs ‘a paradigm shift’ towards the economy of well-being

Working towards a more inclusive economic growth in Europe is one of the Finnish presidency's main priorities. Finnish minister Aino-Kaisa Pekonen lays out her vision for "the economy of well-being".
Global Europe 29-07-2019

Trade unionist: Von der Leyen has to deliver on Social Europe ‘if she wants to gain trust’

The Workers Group of the Economic and Social Committee welcomes European Commission president-elect Ursula Von der Leyen’s announcements on social policy but if she wants to be trusted, she needs to deliver, president Olivier Röpke told EURACTIV.

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