James Mates

Europe Editor

As Europe Editor, James Mates reports and adds analysis to the most significant stories and complex events taking place in Europe. James also regularly presents ITV News programmes.

  1. James Mates

Has Britain really halved its EU bill? It's hard to tell

The question of whether Britain really has halved its £1.7 billion bill from the European Union depends on a question to which there is no definitive answer: Were we due to get half of that money back anyway?

Watch James Mates' VT on the George Osborne's compromise with the EU:

The government's critics and many in Europe say yes, of course the rebate now being used to cover half of this bill was going to apply - it always does.

However, the government says that when we got this bill there was no mention of it being "rebatable" later.

Whether or not this is the triumph that George Osborne is making it out to be, politically he will be very happy that the problem has been put to bed and out of the headlines - even if it doesn't spike Ukip and Labour's guns completely.

  1. James Mates

Dilemma in Ukraine ceasefire is why they want to talk

It is quiet so far in Mauripol - a much quieter evening than yesterday and no reports of any breaches. But these are the early hours. What is not such good news is that Ukraine continues to insist that nothing in this agreement is going to breach the territorial integrity of its country.

The rebels for their part insist they are no longer part of the Ukraine, nor will they ever be. The real dilemma here is why have they agreed to start talking? Is it, as President Obama said today, because the Russians are suffering so badly from sanctions they now want to talk?

Or is it actually because Putin has got what he wants and that his threat to move further into Ukraine is what is persuading the Ukrainians to talk, in the knowledge that they cannot beat the Russians in a straight fight?

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