Samples of standardised plain cigarette packaging. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Italy has objected to Ireland’s plain tobacco packaging proposals on the day of the deadline yesterday for European Union countries to lodge their con(...)

Making it plain: cigarettes waiting to be packaged. Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

Eight European Union countries have lodged concerns about Ireland’s plain tobacco packaging proposals, with the deadline for objections ending today.(...)

“The sanctions policy pursued by the West, that is, ourselves, a necessary consequence of which has been what the Russians are doing, causes more harm to us than to Russia,” Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban has said. Photograph: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg

The European Union has harmed itself economically with the sanctions it has imposed on Russia over the situation in Ukraine, Hungarian prime minister (...)

What is fracking? Fracking – or hydraulic fracturing – is a means of extracting natural gas from sedimentary rocks such as shale. The process involve(...)

The then minister for health James Reilly speaking to media atfter the Cabinet’s decision to approve the publication his tobacco legislation in June. He will retain some responsibility for tobacco control in his new post  Photograph: Alan Betson

A number of EU countries have lodged concerns about the plain packaging tobacco proposals put forward by James Reilly when he was minister for heal(...)

Bulgaria’s president, Rossen Plevneliev, welcomes  interim prime minister Georgi Bliznashki (left) during an official ceremony in Sofia on Tuesday. The new interim government follows the resignation of the Socialist-led coalition at the end of July, paving the way for a snap election on October 5th, the second in less than two years. Photograph: Vassil Donev/EPA

A Bulgarian law professor and former Socialist politician has been named caretaker prime minister until the next election, as the Balkan state grappl(...)

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin (centre) warned the UN Security Council  against  attempts to pressure an investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Photograph: Reuters

The shooting down of flight MH17 on Thursday afternoon in Ukrainian airspace potentially opens up a new front in the ongoing tensions between the West(...)

Commissionerships are still a valued commodity, as the debate over the nomination of Phil Hogan  confirms, not least due to the  salary and benefits. With commissioners commanding a monthly salary of €20,800 – rising to €23,100 for vice-presidents – plus pension, residence allowances and transitional payments.

Following the fractious battle over the nomination of José Manuel Barroso’s successor as European Commission president, EU leaders met in Brussels yes(...)

Nigel Farage (left), British Member of the European parliament and leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), greets Jean-Claude Juncker, candidate for President of the Commission, before his statement during the plenary session in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. Photograph: Patrick Seeger/EPA

Jean-Claude Juncker has pledged to lead the European Commission with an “agenda of reform” as the former Luxembourg prime minister was elected as the (...)

Bulgarian president Rosen Plevneliev speaks to prime minister Plamen Oresharski,  political party leaders, the finance minister and central bank chiefs at ameeting to discuss efforts  to stabilise the banking system

The European Commission said on Monday it had approved a Bulgarian request to extend a credit line of 3.3 billion levs (€1.68 billion) in support of (...)