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NGO slams EU over ethical, transparency standards

Complex decision-making procedures and opaque bureaucratic negotiations have undermined the European Union's transparency rules and left the 28-state bloc vulnerable to corruption, a leading NGO has found. A Transparency International (TI) report, released in Brussels on Thursday, also found EU institutions did not have policies in place to protect whistle-blowers nor to manage conflict of interest concerns in staff appointments.

European Union institutions are wide open to corruption, independent report finds

BRUSSELS - Official complacency, complex rules and spotty oversight have left the European Union's leading institutions vulnerable to corruption, an independent report says. The report, from the non-governmental watchdog organization Transparency International, claims to be the first comprehensive survey of how the European Commission, European Parliament and other EU institutions are acting to ensure standards of integrity, transparency and accountability. The 244-page document was made public Thursday.

France, Poland say EU needs energy union to ensure supplies

France and Poland put forward a proposal for a European energy community on Thursday, to counter the dependence of some European countries on Russian gas. French President Francois Hollande and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk made the proposal, against the background of the Ukraine crisis, for discussion at a European summit on energy policy in June. Hollande said in a joint statement that the purpose was to make "Europe more independent, more coherent, more cooperative in its energy policy".

UK's anti-EU party launches European election campaign amid racism row

By Andrew Osborn LONDON (Reuters) - British anti-EU party UKIP launched its campaign for next month's European elections on Tuesday and fended off accusations that its posters were racist and its anti-immigration rhetoric hypocritical. With polls showing the UK Independence Party will come second in the May 22 election, ahead of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives but behind the opposition Labour Party, UKIP hopes to attract enough extra votes to win the ballot outright.

France's Le Pen hits out at Farage over Euro snub

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen accused Nigel Farage of double standards Tuesday over the British eurosceptic leader's refusal to ally with her National Front (FN) party in the European Parliament. Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), ruled out an alliance with the FN last week, saying the French party was too tainted by anti-Semitism -- a reference to the convictions for hate-speech and Holocaust denial of its founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the current leader's father.

French, British far-right leaders in spat over Euro snub

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen accused Nigel Farage of double standards Tuesday over the British eurosceptic leader's refusal to ally with her National Front (FN) party in the European Parliament. Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), ruled out an alliance with the FN last week, saying the French party was too tainted by anti-Semitism -- a reference to the convictions for hate-speech and Holocaust denial of its founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the current leader's father.

UK's anti-EU party launches European election campaign amid racism row

By Andrew Osborn LONDON (Reuters) - UKIP, Britain's anti-EU party, launched its campaign for next month's European elections on Tuesday, fending off accusations from rival lawmakers that its pre-election posters were racist. With polls showing the UK Independence Party will come second ahead of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives in the May 22 election but behind the opposition Labour Party, UKIP hopes to attract enough extra votes to win the ballot outright.

'Danny the Red' brings down the curtain on 20 years as EU lawmaker

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the firebrand May 1968 student leader in France who then made Germany's Greens the world's most powerful environmental party, brought down the curtain Wednesday on 20 years as an EU lawmaker. In a typically fiery parting speech that won a standing ovation, the European Parliament's impish Greens leader reiterated that "we need a federal Europe", that "nations are dead" and that "we must fight eurosceptics whether rightwingers or left."

French Socialists pick veteran to run party after poll rout

By Brian Love PARIS (Reuters) - France's Socialist Party named its new chief on Tuesday, a one-time political opponent of President Francois Hollande who will have to overhaul a ruling party reeling from local election losses in time for European parliament elections in May. Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, 63, was elected by the party's national congress to replace Harlem Desir, weeks after local polls in which the Socialists lost dozens of towns to the right and far-right opposition.

France's Hollande would lose election vs. Sarkozy, Le Pen: poll

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande would be beaten at the polls by both his center-right predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy and far-right rival Marine Le Pen if he ran for re-election this week, an opinion survey showed on Tuesday. Hollande's popularity has plummeted to record lows since he came to power two years ago, with voters increasingly frustrated about his failure to kickstart economic growth and bring down an unemployment rate stuck above 10 percent.
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