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EU regulators to probe extra state aid given to two Latvian banks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union regulators opened on Wednesday an investigation into state aid granted to Latvian Banks AS Parex banka and Citadele banka, saying the measure may have violated EU state aid rules. The European Commission, tasked with ensuring a level playing field in the 28-country bloc, said Latvian authorities may also have failed to carry out the banks' restructuring in line with their pledge to the EU watchdog.

EU, Switzerland edge towards free movement accord

The European Union and Switzerland are close to reolving a spat over Swiss immigration curbs although Britain has asked for more time to consider the proposals, EU sources said Wednesday. EU ties with non-member Switzerland have been strained since a Swiss referendum in February when the country voted by a razor-thin margin to establish immigration quotas -- jeopardising a range of agreements with the EU based on a commitment to free movement of people.

EU agrees to train Mali police, extends army training mission

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - The European Union agreed on Tuesday to send civilian advisers to train and advise Mali's police while extending by two years a mission to train the army. The decisions, taken by EU defense ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg, are part of international efforts to stabilize Mali and extend the state's authority there, 15 months after France launched a military offensive to drive out Islamists who had seized control of northern Mali.

EU to expand sanctions against Russia over Ukraine

The European Union agreed at a meeting of foreign ministers Monday to expand the scope of asset freezes and visa bans against Russian officials in the wake of heightening tensions in eastern Ukrainian cities. The EU council also warned that any further steps by Moscow to destabilize the situation in Ukraine would lead to far reaching consequences in a broad range of economic areas between EU members and the Russian Federation.

EU agrees to expand Russia sanctions, may hold emergency summit on Ukraine

By Justyna Pawlak and Adrian Croft LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - The European Union agreed on Monday to step up sanctions against Russia over Ukraine by expanding a list of people targeted with asset freezes and visa bans, and said the bloc could hold an emergency summit next week to adopt further measures. EU foreign ministers acted in response to a deepening of the crisis in Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists ignored an ultimatum on Monday to leave occupied government buildings in the east of the country.

EU sees Russia's hand in Ukraine and threatens sanctions

The European Union discussed fresh sanctions against Russia on Monday as foreign ministers angrily blamed Moscow for fomenting trouble in restive eastern Ukraine while holding out hope of a diplomatic breakthrough. "Further sanctions have to be the response to Russia's behaviour," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on arriving for talks with his 27 counterparts. "There have to be consequences."

EU sees Russia's hand in Ukraine and threatens sanctions

The European Union discussed fresh sanctions against Russia on Monday as foreign ministers angrily blamed Moscow for fomenting trouble in restive eastern Ukraine while holding out hope of a diplomatic breakthrough. "Further sanctions have to be the response to Russia's behaviour," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on arriving for talks with his 27 counterparts. "There have to be consequences."

EU okays 1-bn euro aid to Ukraine

The European Union on Monday formally approved a one-billion-euro assistance package to help Ukraine's interim authorities overcome the country's deep financial problems. And in a further move to revive the Ukrainian economy, EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg also signed off on a plan to lower customs duties on Ukrainian goods that could save the country almost 500 million euros a year. The ministers also added four people to a list of 18 Ukrainians subject to an EU visa ban and asset freeze since March 5 for misappropriating Ukrainian state funds.

Slovakia wants EU guarantee for any gas supply to Ukraine

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said Thursday he wants the European Union to guarantee that Ukraine will pay should Slovakia facilitate reverse gas flow from Europe. "It's clear that Ukraine is not able to pay its bills. Only a third party, like the European Union and European Commission, can guarantee that Slovakia will get paid if we help Ukraine," Fico told reporters in Bratislava.

EU backs duties on Chinese solar glass imports: sources

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union has cleared the imposition of hefty duties on Chinese imports of glass used in solar panels, claiming they receive illegal subsidies and are sold at unfairly low prices that threaten European manufacturers. The EU solar glass market is valued at less than 200 million euros ($276.5 million), a tiny fraction of the EU's total imports from China worth 290 billion euros in 2012, but the complaint marks an EU challenge to China and its exporters.
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