World Bulletin / News Desk
German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants an EU 'convention' to draw up a new treaty for closer European political unification to help overcome the bloc's sovereign debt crisis, weekly Der Spiegelsaid on Sunday.
Germany, the European Union's biggest economy, has long argued for more national competences, including over budgets, to be transferred to European institutions but faces strong resistance from other member states.
Merkel hopes a summit of EU leaders in December can agree a concrete date for the start of the convention on a new treaty, Spiegel said.
The idea, which Spiegel said Merkel's European affairs adviser floated at meetings in Brussels, recalls the 100-plus strong convention of EU lawmakers set up in 2001 - inspired by the Philadelphia Convention that led to the adoption of the U.S. federal constitution - charged with the task of preparing a European constitution.
The charter that finally emerged was rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005 and it became instead the basis of the EU's Lisbon Treaty which is still in force today.
Many member states, recalling the lengthy disputes and setbacks that preceded the Lisbon treaty's entry into force, are reluctant to embark on another prolonged process of institutional reform.
Some countries such as Ireland would have to hold a referendum on any new treaty and the process would increase pressure in Britain - where opposition to closer EU political union runs high - for a complete withdrawal from the EU.
However, Germany believes a much closer fiscal and political union - with EU oversight of national budgets - is needed to ensure that member states get their public finances fully in order and to restore stability to the euro currency.
Greece has already received two bailouts totalling 240 billion euros but fellow euro zone member Ireland said last week that it would have to negotiate a third programme.
The Ukraine crisis has tested the loyalties of Bulgaria, a Balkan country with historical ties to Moscow and heavily dependent on Russian energy supplies.
Syria expels three United Nations aid workers hindering aid development in the country
Russia has overcome a "psychological barrier" and is ready to deepen its economic ties with China, Deputy Prime MinisterArkady Dvorkovich said
With Chancellor Angela Merkel's right-left coalition plus the opposition Greens, it was the biggest majority for any euro zone rescue package so far in the 631-seat chamber.
The agreement commits Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to cooperate with the United States in customs issues, ease red tape at borders, reduce customs wait times and harmonize trade standards.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has unnerved China with his re-examination of certain projects that Chinahas invested in, including a $1.5 billion "port city" project in Colombo.
EU energy chief Maros Sefcovic invited Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Demchyshyn for talks
Gazprom and Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz have accused each other of not sticking to agreements on gas supplies.
The new canal, that will allow two-way traffic of larger ships, is supposed to increase revenues by 2023 to $13 billion.
A day after euro zone finance ministers agreed to a four-month extension of a financial rescue, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis gave a frank assessment of Greece's financial position.
The agreement is the culmination of talks that began in September after the government decided its own solutions to its fiscal crisis were failing to convince investors.
Energy union highlights bloc's attempt to seek independency from its main gas supplier - Russia.
Merkel's right-left coalition is set to prevail, despite vocal pockets of resistance on the right and left.
Republicans passed the bill to increase pressure on Obama to approve the pipeline, a move the president said would bypass a State Department process that will determine whether the project is in the U.S. national interest.
Turkish PM Davutoglu expresses Turkey's readiness to help in supplying energy to Central Europe.