Brussels to probe trans-Atlantic airline alliances

Brussels to probe trans-Atlantic airline alliances Brussels - The European Union's executive is to launch an anti-trust probe into cooperation deals between members of the Star Alliance and Oneworld airline groups such as British Airways, Iberia and United, officials in Brussels announced on Monday.

The European Commission fears that two sets of deals between certain members of the two alliances could potentially reduce competition on hotly-contested trans-Atlantic routes and push up prices, a statement released in Brussels said.

EU deploys election monitors to Malawi

EU deploys election monitors to Malawi Brussels  - The European Union is sending 55 observers to monitor Malawi's May 19 general election, in which President Bingu Wa Mutharik is vying for a new term in office, officials in Brussels said Friday.

The EU's Election Observation Mission to Malawi will consist of 28 long term observers, who are already monitoring the election's preparations, and 20 short term observers.

Their role will be to "observe voting, counting and the tabulation of results," the EU's executive arm in Brussels, the European Commission, said in a statement.

EU seeks to promote "modern" image of North Africa

EU seeks to promote "modern" image of North Africa Brussels - The European Union is sponsoring television programmes designed to promote North African societies as modern, open and emancipated, officials in Brussels said Wednesday.

The EuroMed-News project, co-financed by the European Commission using 2.16 million euros (2.85 million dollars) of European taxpayers' money, also aims to increase awareness among the local populations about what the EU does to foster cooperation and dialogue between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Low interest in European Parliament elections, survey finds

Low interest in European Parliament elections, survey findsBrussels - Less than half of Europe's citizens are interested in June's European Parliament elections, and only a third of them currently plan to take part in the ballot, according to an unreleased survey obtained Tuesday by the German Press Agency dpa. The Eurobarometer survey, expected to be published later this week, polled some 27,000 citizens from the 27-member bloc between January and February.

EU cautions against violence in Thailand

EU cautions against violence in Thailand Brussels - The European Union on Monday expressed "great concern" at the situation in Thailand and called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict between the country's government and opposition. The EU presidency urged anti-government demonstrators in Thailand to refrain from violence on the streets, saying this could lead to further tension and harm Thailand's stability and reputation.

The EU said it hoped the political divide could be overcome through dialogue and democratic means, within the framework of the constitution.

Vandereycken ousted as Belgium coach

Vandereycken ousted as Belgium coachBrussels  - Rene Vandereycken was sacked on Tuesday night as Belgium national team coach over a poor World Cup qualifiying campaign with almost no hope of making the 2010 finals.

Vandereycken's time was over after begium lost twice to Bosnia-Herzegovina, on March 28 and April 1, to rank fourth in their group, 11 points behind runaway leaders Spain. Only the top team qualifies directly for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.