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Germany and France have warned UK Prime Minister David Cameron that Britain cannot pick and choose EU membership terms after he pledged a referendum. Mr Cameron said a poll would be held if the Conservatives were returned to power at the next general election, which is expected in 2015. Voters would be asked to choose between renegotiated membership or exiting. Germany said the UK could not “cherry-pick“ while France said “a la carte“ membership was not on the table. (BBC.CO.UK)

Investment will dominate the agenda when European Union leaders meet their Latin American counterparts in Santiago de Chile this weekend (26-27 January) for a summit that will demonstrate the declining importance of development aid in the EU‘s relationship with the region. (EUROPEANVOICE.COM)

Spain‘s economy contracted 1.7% in 2012, with a decline of 0.6% in the fourth quarter, the Bank of Spain announced Wednesday. “The weakness of the euro area economy led to a loss of buoyancy in exports,”the bank said, adding austerity measures have “a clearly contractionary effect on economic activity.“ (EUOBSERVER.COM)

Romanian lawmakers on Tuesday approved a bill strengthening their parliamentary immunity from criminal investigations, in a move likely to again upset relations with the EU Commission, which regularly asks for political corruption to be punished. (EUOBSERVER.COM)

A junior partner in Slovenia‘s ruling coalition quit on Wednesday, stripping the government of its majority in parliament and dealing a blow to the troubled euro zone member‘s efforts to avoid a bailout. A second snap election in little over a year looked likely, after Civic List said it had left the ruling coalition over the refusal of conservative prime minister Janez Jansa to resign in a corruption scandal. (REUTERS.COM)

The Czech presidential candidates, Milos Zeman (Party of Citizens´ Rights, SPOZ) and Karel Schwarzenberg (TOP 09) differ in their opinions on EU extending with addition of the Balkan countries as well as on Kosovo. The second round of the first direct presidnetial election will be held on January 25-26. (CESKENOVINY.CZ)

Former Primate of Poland, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, who led Poland‘s Roman Catholic Church through the transition from communism to democracy, has died aged 83. (THENEWS.PL)

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