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France to slow deficit cuts but respect 2015 target: minister

By Leigh Thomas PARIS (Reuters) - France has won backing from European partners to slightly slow the reduction of its public deficit but will still respect its EU-imposed deficit target in 2015, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said on Thursday. France must bring the deficit in line with an EU limit of 3 percent of national income next year, a target most economists consider out of reach after the deficit came in at 4.3 percent last year, missing its target of 4.1 percent.

Estonia's new PM says Russia sanctions would hurt, but may be needed

By David Mardiste TALLINN (Reuters) - Estonia's new prime minister said on Tuesday that imposing economic sanctions on Russia would hurt European Union countries, but might be needed to send a strong message to Moscow. Taavi Roivas, who became prime minister of the Baltic state - an EU member that was formerly part of the Soviet Union - in late March, said it was vital for the EU to show unity over Ukraine.

Estonia swears in EU's youngest PM, Taavi Roivas

Estonia's new Prime Minister Taavi Roivas became the European Union's youngest head of government on Wednesday after parliament swore in his new bi-partisan cabinet. Roivas, 34, has brought together his centre-right Reform Party with the leftist Social Democrats, who crossed over from the opposition ahead of a general election next spring. His coalition commands a wafer-thin majority of just 52 seats in the 101-member parliament. "I'm aiming to stay prime minister after the spring 2015 election," Roivas told Estonia's top-selling Postimees daily on Wednesday.

Biden says U.S. mulling military exercises in Baltics

WARSAW (Reuters) - The United States will work on greater diversification of energy sources in the Baltics and may consider rotating units of its ground and naval forces through the region for training exercises, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday. Biden, who was speaking after meeting Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in the Polish capital, also said that his country remains committed to NATO's pledge to help member states if military action is taken against them.

Taavi Roivas designated Estonia PM, EU's youngest

Estonia's president on Friday designated 34-year-old Taavi Roivas as the eurozone member's prime minister, paving the way for him to become the youngest head of government in the European Union. "I expect the new government to show a stronger interest in social issues and a willingness to listen to all sides," President Toomas Hendrik Ilves told reporters. Roivas now has two weeks to form a new government and submit it to parliament for a vote. Lawmakers must also approve Roivas as prime minister of the ex-Soviet Baltic state, population 1.3 million.

Estonia president names young minister to form new government

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves nominated a 34-year-old cabinet minister on Friday to form a new government and seek approval from parliament to lead the small euro zone country. Taavi Roivas is set to take over from Estonia's longest serving Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, who resigned on March 4 in a long-planned move to pave the way for his successor to lead a new government into a general election next year.

EU observers needed in Ukraine

The European Union needs to send observers to Ukraine as soon as possible, foreign ministers from the bloc's 10 eastern European and Nordic members plus Iceland and Norway said Friday. "To help Ukraine in this period of transition, we support the establishment of a European Union led Observation Mission, which should be deployed as soon as possible," they said in a joint statement following ministerial talks in Estonia's eastern city of Narva.

Japan, Estonia to seek peaceful solution on Ukraine

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed Friday with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves to cooperate in seeking a peaceful solution to the growing tension in Ukraine. While Japan has urged all parties concerned to act with restraint -- with the United States and its allies moving to punish Moscow after Russia intervened in Ukraine -- Ilves said he hopes Tokyo will continue to play a role in helping defuse the tension.

Estonia's Ansip ends record nine year stint as PM

Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip tendered his resignation on Tuesday, ending a nine-year stint as the longest serving head of government in the European Union in a bid to boost his party's chances for re-election. The 57-year-old announced last month that he would step down after revealing plans to switch jobs with Estonia's EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas. Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has two weeks to designate a new premier to run the government of the small ex-Soviet Baltic state, population 1.3 million.

Estonian president to visit Japan from Wed. for talks with Abe

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves will visit Japan from Wednesday through Saturday and meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his stay, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. The summit is scheduled for Friday in Tokyo, with the leaders expected to discuss bilateral cooperation in areas such as cybersecurity and energy development. The tech-savvy Baltic country is known for having launched the Internet phone service Skype.
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