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.
A controversy surfaced recently after the Public Account Committee (PAC) released a report accusing senior government officials of having fraudulently authorized payment of at least $122 million of public funds to a private company
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez left the meeting visibly angry and declined to comment on the outcome.
A number of potential deals under discussion in recent months could benefit from concessional financing from Tokyo.
The WTO has lurched from one disappointment to another over the past decade as it tries to find a balanced trade deal that all its members, now numbering 160, could support.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said he expected the oil market "to stabilise itself eventually" but did not comment on talks with Russia held on Tuesday
Ergun Olgun, the Turkish Cypriot negotiator, said their own exploration would continue and even accelerate if Greek Cypriots pressed ahead with their plans to allow multinationals to exploit the area.
The decision to devalue the naira, according to analysts and central bank figures, appears aimed at saving the country's dwindling foreign reserves
Oil market watchers are divided on the outcome of OPEC's meeting in the Austrian capital. Predictions range from a large production cut to revive prices, to a small reduction, or none at all
The proliferation of smugglers' routes into Bolivia shows how difficult it is to eradicate illegal mining without better coordination across frontiers.
Falling crude prices are fueled by slowing global growth and increased supply.
Ukraine's leading banks said most of their loans to Crimean individuals and businesses were now delinquent.
Deputy Energy Minister Jaime Himende said that "Mozambique has great hydroelectricity potential, and recently they have taken some bold steps to use renewable resources efficiently"
Obama, who hosted Modi in Washington in September, will in January become the first U.S. president to visit India twice, completing a remarkable warming in the relationship
The combined damage inflicted on Russia's economy by Western sanctions and falling oil prices totals about $140 billion.
PM Mahlab said that Egypt eyes sustainable growth to improve the living conditions of Egyptians, noting that the Egyptian economy is currently recovering.
The French economist calls for redistribution of global wealth, which he says is too concentrated in the hands of the few.