Today the Foreign Affairs Council started with a discussion on current affairs, allowing ministers to review pressing issues on the international agenda.
The Ministers are expected to include into discussion the situation in Sudan, Ethiopia and Venezuela. Ministers are also supposed to discuss Turkey‘s current illegal drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean off Cyprus shore.
Federica Mogherini will debrief ministers on the EU-Ukraine summit on 8 July and the EU-G5 Sahel ministerial meeting.
The meeting started by Mogherini, the EU top diplomat literally greeting with open arms disgraced Josep Borrell, incumbent Spanish Foreign minister, who is put forward by the EU Council as a candidate to “heir” her job. Borrell is a former president of the European Parliament, he has been forced into resignation over his last EU top job in a scandal of conflict of interests, ending in abandoning his post of the President of the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence. While leading the prestigious EU scientific establishment, he was receiving EUR300 000 year salary for promotion of interests of Spanish energy company Abengoa.
French ambassador to Vanuatu (pictured), accused of sexual assault, was removed from office. A woman had reproached him for caressing her buttocks several times on February 11 at an Economic Summit.
The French government has terminated the duties of the ambassador to Vanuatu, which is the subject of a complaint for sexual assault, according to a decree published in the official journal.
“The functions of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic to the Republic of Vanuatu, exercised by Mr. Robby Judes has been terminated“, reads the text of March 20, published in the Official Journal.
The ambassador was summoned in February to the Foreign Ministry in Paris, to be heard by his supervisory authorities on the complaint lodged against him in Noumea, New Caledonia, on 14 February.
The complainant, a company boss, said in her complaint that the ambassador had stroked her buttocks several times and asked for her contact information.
Robby Judes has been an ambassador to Vanuatu since November 2018. He held the same position in Comoros (2014-2017) after serving as a diplomatic advisor to Overseas Minister Victorin Lurel (2012-2014).
“The EU reaffirmed the importance of the relations between the EU and Turkey, a candidate country and a key partner and stressed the importance of open and frank dialogue, within the established framework, in order to address common challenges in areas of joint interest such as migration, counter-terrorism, energy, transport, the economy and trade.
“The EU underlined that the Turkish government’s stated commitment to EU accession needs to be matched by corresponding reforms and recalled that the Council conclusions of 26 June 2018 state that Turkey has been moving further away from the European Union and that accession negotiations have therefore effectively come to a standstill. The EU reiterated its concerns over the continuing and deeply worrying backsliding in the areas of fundamental rights and rule of law, and the deterioration of the independence and functioning of the judiciary. In this regard, the EU expressed its expectation from Turkey to ensure that its plans for judicial reform are realised in line with EU and Council of Europe standards.”
“The EU welcomed the UN efforts to resume negotiations for the reunification of Cyprus, and recalled that it remains crucial that Turkey commits and contributes to the process and to a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement within the UN framework, in accordance with UNSC resolutions and in line with EU principles and the EU acquis.”
The EU-Turkey Association Council held its 54th meeting on Friday, 15 March 2019, in Brussels. The meeting was the first one held after the lifting of the State of Emergency in Turkey last year, and provided a useful opportunity to take stock of EU-Turkey relations and exchange views on a range of issues.
On the EU side, the meeting was chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms Federica MOGHERINI. Mr Johannes HAHN, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations also participated. Mr Mevlüt ÇAVUŞOĞLU, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chief Negotiator of Turkey, led the Turkish delegation.
Venezuela has severed relations with Colombia and has expelled all diplomats from its Embassy, President Nicolas Maduro has announced, during a rally in Caracas.
Maduro had earlier closed the border with Colombia as a response to attempts by the opposition to deliver trucks of ‘humanitarian aid’ from Colombia, in defiance of Caracas. A part of the border where a forced crossing might take place has been the scene of a tense confrontation between opposition activists and security forces all day.
Addressing a crowd of thousands of supporters, Maduro condemned his Colombian counterpart Ivan Duque for meddling in Venezuela’s internal affairs.
“Patience is exhausted, I can’t bear it anymore, we can’t keep putting up with Colombian territory being used for attacks against Venezuela. For that reason, I have decided to break all political and diplomatic relations with Colombia‘s fascist government,” Maduro said, adding that the staff at the Colombian embassy has 24 hours to leave his country.
The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini confirmed the determination of the Foreign ministers to continue efforts for Venezuela crisis resolution through the international contact group. Apparently, the denial of entry to four Members of the European Parliament (MEP) will not deviate from the endorsed policy vis-à-vis Caracas.
Four Members of the European parliament (MEPs) from European People’s Party (EPP) were denied entry to Venezuela under “conspiratorial motives.” The calls of the leader of the EPP group Manfred Weber to “immediately” recognise Juan Guaido as the President of Venezuela, did not receive any response from the EU foreign ministers.
Esteban Gonsalez-Pons (Spain), José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra (Spain), Gabriel Mato (Spain), and Esther de Lange (NL) travelled to Caracas upon their own initiative in their individual capacity as MEPs.
The MEPs attempted to enter Caracas to meet with opposition leader Juan Guaidó, after the European Parliament last month recognized him as “interim head of state”.
Last month given the urgency of the situation in Venezuela the EU ministers decided to establish an international contact group on Venezuela (26.01.2019) that was agreed among EU Member States and with some Latin American countries.
The Foreign Minister of Spain Josep Borrell confirmed the intention to step up effort to resolve Venezuela crisis via contact group, as the EU major diplomatic tool. He also underlined that Juan Guaido is recognised an ‘interim President’ of the country.
President Emmanuel Macron’s government recalled France ambassador to Rome Christian Masset on February 7 in an unprecedented act since World War II , saying it had enough with “repeated, baseless” attacks by Italian political leaders against France.
The decision came after a meeting between Italy’s deputy prime minister and leaders of the French Yellow Vest movement who have been calling for President Macron’s resignation.
Luigi di Maio, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement welcomed the “winds of change across the Alps” yesterday on Twitter after meeting with Yellow Vest activists Cristophe Chalencon and Ingrid Levavasseur.
The vise-president of the European Parliament Fabio Castaldo has also taken part in the meeting. (Pictured below: first from right).
In a statement on the decision, France’s foreign ministry blamed Italian officials of making “outrageous statements” and “repeated, baseless attacks” for months.
The statement said the attacks were without precedent since World War II. “Having disagreements is one thing, but manipulating the relationship for electoral aims is another,” it said.
“All of these actions are creating a serious situation which is raising questions about the Italian government’s intentions towards France,” diplomats added, making clear that Paris is increasingly worried by Di Maio and Salvini’s vocal support for the anti-establishments protest movement.
Ambassador Christian Masset (pictured above) arrived to Rome on 6 of December 2017. As a carreer diplomat he previously served as an Ambassador to Japan, and held other prominent positions in Foreign Affairs Ministry working in Brussels, London, and Pretoria.
The Russian Foreign Ministry will request official explanation from l’Elysée, as well as from the French Embassy in Moscow concerning a media-cited statement by President Emmanuel Macron alleging that Russian media is meddling in the republic’s affairs, namely Yellow Vests protests, Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.
“If this piece of news cites everything correctly (and we will officially request the French side both in Moscow and in Paris about this), then President Macron is the main producer of fake news in France, and all his activity towards fighting this is a sham,” Zakharova blogged on her Twitter micro blog.