Category Archives: EEAS

EUCO: EU-Turkey relations on rocks

10.12.2020 Brussels The EU top diplomat Josep BoTrrell upon arrival at the European Council made the following remarks:

“We have three important [external affairs] items today on the agenda of the European Union Council: we have Turkey, once again; we have our relations with the US and the prospects of the new presidency; and we have the Southern Neighbourhood”.

“The Southern Neighbourhood is a very important part of the world for us. We are closely working with them in order to push for their progress but we have to do more. I hope that the debate in the Council today will provide guidelines for this continued effort and to prepare the [Joint] Communication that the Commission will put forward in February.

“We have just celebrated the anniversary of the Union for the Mediterranean in Barcelona. This was also an important event and I will inform the Council about this meeting.

“We are also going to discuss the relationship with the US – the prospects for the new administration, how to engage with them. We hope that this is going to be a more positive one. It has been a bumpy road in the last years, and there is a lot of hope for the future work between the European Union and the US.

“On Turkey, the Foreign Affairs Council reviewed the latest events and we cannot provide a positive assessment. The behaviour of Turkey has not changed fundamentally. We can even say that, from some points of view, things have been worsening. The assessment is not a positive one and we have to deal with it”.

EEAS: Stefano Sannino next SecGen

High Representative Josep Borrell decided to appoint Stefano Sannino as next Secretary General of European External Action Service (EEAS).

“I want to express my profound gratitude to Helga Maria Schmid for the remarkable achievements she has accomplished as Secretary General and for having built the EEAS into what it is today. Her contribution to the European Union’s global action is unrivalled. I look forward to continue working with Stefano Sannino, as new Secretary General of the EEAS. He brings with him a long and rich European diplomatic experience from his senior service to both the European Union institutions and the Italian government. I cannot think of a better candidate to steer the EEAS into its second decade.“

This decision will enter into force on 1 January 2021.

Stefano Sannino worked as EEAS Deputy Secretary General for Economic and Global Issues since February 2020. Previously, he was the Ambassador of Italy to Spain and the Italian Permanent Representative to the European Union. Mr. Sannino also served as Director General for Enlargement in the European Commission. He will be following Helga Maria Schmid, who has been Secretary General of the EEAS since 1 September 2016 and EEAS Deputy Secretary General/Political Director since 2011.

EU Action plan on Human rights

Brussels 19.11.2020 The Council has approved conclusions on the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024. The Action Plan sets out the EU’s level of ambition and priorities in this field in its relations with all third countries.

With this Action Plan, the Council reaffirms the EU’s strong commitment to further advancing universal values for all.

The conclusions acknowledge that while there have been leaps forward, there has also been a pushback against the universality and indivisibility of human rights. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic consequences have had an increasingly negative impact on all human rights, democracy and rule of law, deepening pre-existing inequalities and increasing pressure on persons in vulnerable situations.

No one should be left behind, no human right ignored. To this end the EU and its member states will use the full range of their instruments, in all areas of external action, to focus on and further strengthen EU’s global leadership in the field of human rights and democracy and in the implementation of the EU Action Plan.

In 2012, the EU adopted the Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy which set out the principles, objectives and priorities designed to improve the effectiveness and consistency of EU policy in these areas. To implement the EU Strategic Framework of 2012, the EU has adopted two EU Action Plans (2012-2014 and 2015-2019).

The new Action Plan for 2020-2024 builds on the previous action plans and continues to focus on long-standing priorities such as supporting human rights defenders and the fight against the death penalty.

By identifying five overarching priorities: (1) protecting and empowering individuals; (2) building resilient, inclusive and democratic societies; (3) promoting a global system for human rights and democracy; (4) new technologies: harnessing opportunities and addressing challenges; and (5) delivering by working together, the Action Plan also reflects the changing context with attention to new technologies and to the link between global environmental challenges and human rights.

Virtual Ambassadors conference

The annual European Union Ambassadors` conference is taking place between the 9th and 13th of November, for the first time in a virtual format.

The conference brings together EU Ambassadors from the EU`s 143 EU Delegations and Offices around the world, in addition to the heads of EU military and civilian operations and the heads of the European Commission Representations in the 27 EU Member States.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the Commission Josep Borrell (pictured) opened the conference with a public address on Monday at 12:00 CET. His address has been broadcasted live on the European Commission’s audiovisual service, Europe by Satellite. The address by the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, at 14:30 CET on Tuesday 10 November will also be broadcast live, as will Josep Borrell’s closing address on Friday 13 November at 11:30 CET.

The Ambassadors’ conference includes exchanges with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, Commission Executive Vice-Presidents Frans Timmermans, Margrethe Vestager, and Valdis Dombrovskis, Commission Vice-Presidents Maroš Šefčovič and Věra Jourová, Commissioners Ylva Johansson and Jutta Urpilainen, and the President of the European Investment Bank, President Werner Hoyer.

The Ambassadors’ conference is a yearly event that allows for an open exchange between participants and high-level speakers on the European Union’s internal and external activities, global developments, and the EU’s strategic outlook. Sessions include multilateralism in an increasingly multi-polar environment and how to uphold the rules-based international order; the EU’s leading role in global climate action; the global response to the coronavirus; the EU’s Security and Defence agenda; enhancing trade and the EU’s strategic autonomy; and on promoting democracy, human rights and gender equality in an age of disinformation and battles of narratives. The event will also discuss migration policy, promoting the EU’s outreach to international partners, and enhancing the EU`s public diplomacy efforts.
AMENDMENT:
So we need to be mobilised on all fronts and I want to ask you to do your part so that, as we often say, ‘Europe comes out of the crisis stronger’. This is an appeal to all of you to do whatever you can to make it a reality. Europe is being built on crises and we have to come out of the crisis stronger” the EU top diplomat said, while addressing the virtual congregation.
The world needs an engaged European Union, able to act. But also Europeans need an engaged European Union, able to act. The world and we Europeans need a European Union ready to participate in the big changes that the world will be facing. And we need to act as if our reputation is on the line – because it is on the line”.

EU top diplomat congratulates Biden

Brussels 07.11.2020 The head of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell has congratulated the candidate of the Democratic party with the election victory. “I warmly congratulate President-Elect
Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. Record voter turnout expressed will of the American people for change.Great day for US and Europe, we look forward to working together with new administration to rebuild our partnership” the diplomat wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

Meanwhile a series of President Trump messages have been removed from Twitter, which has been actively filtering his communication with the American people, contesting the outcome.
“We think there’s going to be a lot of litigation because we have so much evidence, so much proof, it’s going to end up perhaps at the highest court in the land, you’ll see,” Trump said, adding “We think there’ll be a lot of litigation, because we cannot have an election stolen like this.”

“The American people are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots,” Trump said.

“It remains shocking that the Biden campaign refuses to agree with this basic principle and wants ballots counted even if they are fraudulent, manufactured, or cast by ineligible or deceased voters,” Trump added. “Only a party engaged in wrongdoing would unlawfully keep observers out of the count room – and then fight in court to block their access.”

AMENDMENT:

Over the past few weeks the president and his cabinet have prepared the different scenarios with regards to the elections in the USA, and coordinated with Member States, the EU official said.

President Charles Michel was today in touch with the Chancellor Merkel and other leaders to communicate simultaneously.

Following to the discussion, 7 PM was the hour that was agreed upon to congratulate the President elect and the Vice President elect following the result in Pennsylvania, while showing respect for the electoral process, the official has underlined.

AMENDMENT:

Borrell “shocked” by France Consulate attack

Brussels, 29.10.2020 The head of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell is “deeply shocked” by the barbaric attacks perpetrated in Nice, Avignon, and at the Consulate of France in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in Djeddah.
“My thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones. We are alongside the French and France.
Together, in Europe and in the world, we will fight hatred and terror”

Today three people have been killed in a knife attack at a church Notre Dame in the heart of Nice, police say.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said there had been a “terrorist attack at the heart of the Notre-Dame basilica”.
One elderly victim who had come to pray was “virtually beheaded”. A suspect was shot and detained shortly afterwards, and three victims identified: a 30-year-old woman, mother of young children; the sacristan of the basilica, about 45 years old, slain; 70-year-old woman, a regular church-goer, beheaded.

Mayor Estrosi spoke of “Islamo-fascism” and said the suspect had “repeated endlessly ‘Allahu Akbar’, while stabbing with knife the congregation. Reportedly there are also “many wounded”, however there are not further details available at the moment. President Macron has arrived to Nice without delay, and was greeted by the Mayor Estrosi.

The attack in Avignon has failed, and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the building of Consulate of France a security agent was injured. According to the Saudi press agency, the perpetrator, a forty year old man, was immediately arrested, while the security agent of the French consulate was transferred to hospital for treatment required, he does not suffer life-threatening injuries.

However “maximum vigilance” is recommended to French nationals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Borrell meets Svetlana Tikhanovskaya

Brussels, 21.09.2020 Ahead of the Foreign ministers Council the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell met with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the Belarus opposition politician in exile: “We met with Sviatlana #Tsikhanouskaya ahead of #FAC. The EU has no hidden agenda. Belarusian people should be able to freely choose their president, without persecution and repression. Only an inclusive national dialogue can lead to a peaceful and sustainable solution #Belarus” the head of the EU diplomacy wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

The situation in Belrus after the sham elections is one of three major issues for discussion with EU Foreign Ministers. The other key topics for the EU diplomacy are “positive momentum” in Libya and relations with the African Union.

EU reacts on attack on Russian opposition blogger

The attack on Russian opposition blogger Yegor Zhukov, 22, did not pass unnoticed by the European diplomacy: «We wish Mister Zhukov a speedy recovery, and expect the reponsible for this brutal and coward attack will be brought to justice» the European External Action Service spokesperson said during the daily conference with Brussels press corps.
He added that on many occassion the EU proposed the resumption of the intrrupted human righs dialog, however it was rejected by the Russian counterparts.

On Sunday evening, August 30, Russian opposition blogger Yegor Zhukov has been attacked and severly beaten by two unknown by him individuals. His supporters posted a photo on Facebook of his bloodied and swollen face, later he was trasported to a hosptial to examin his head injuries. The attack happened near his home.

Shortly before the violent incident Zhukov informed via his YouTube channel that he had been rejected for a master’s course on cinematography at Moscow’s prestigious Higher School of Economics, after initially being accepted for it. He linked that rejection to this political activity.

Separately, Mr Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said he was against linking the attack on Zhukov to the suspected poisoning of Russia’s most famous campaigner against President Vladimir Putin, the investigative blogger Alexei Navalny.

“This is a handsome guy Yegor Zhukov, a journalist of Echo.
He was beaten in front of his own entrance. Hardly by mistake. Now, apparently, opposition representatives can be poisoned, beaten, tortured. It is not yet allowed to burn on bonfires, I wonder?” Wrties on his Twitter Russian opposition politician Gennady Goudkov.

The first blow came from behind, to the back of the head, after which Yegor fell and they have beaten him mostly on the ground and aimed at the head, for 20-30 seconds. There are practically no injuries on other parts of the body, and the head and face are broken”, Yegor Zhukov lawyer Murad Musaev said. “The police officers took up this case quite actively and yesterday, practically all night long, various operational and investigative actions were carried out. We hope that the subject of a criminal investigation in this case will be not only yesterday’s attack, but also the attempted attack on July 24 this year,” he added.

EU-Turkey relations «under strain»

«…On Turkey we had a long and interesting debate. At the end of it, I presented my conclusions, which were approved by the Council members. It is my conclusions that will conduct and drive my future actions as High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission » said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrel during the press-conference after the Council of the Foreign affairs ministers.

«We reiterated that we see Turkey as an important country for the European Union with whom we would [wish] to see our relations strengthened and developing. This should be done in respect of EU values, principles and interests.

«There was a consensus among Member States that the EU-Turkey relations are currently under continuous strain. There are worrying developments, in particular in the Eastern Mediterranean and regarding Libya that affect directly our interests. Thus, several serious issues must be addressed by Turkey in order to change the current confrontational dynamic and create an environment of trust with Turkey, which everybody wishes.

«But, we stress also that Turkey’s unilateral actions, in particular in the Eastern Mediterranean, which run counter to EU interests, to the sovereign rights of EU Member States and to international law, must come to an end.

«We recalled the previous Conclusions of the Council of 15 July 2019 on illegal Turkish drilling activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus and the 15 May 2020 Statement on the Eastern Mediterranean and reiterated that the situation that we were confronted [with] at the EU borders in early March 2020 must not be repeated.

«We also agreed to call on Turkey to contribute actively to a political solution in Libya and to respect the commitments it has taken in the framework of the Berlin process, including the United Nations arms embargo.

«We are doing our part – the European Member States are doing their part, in particular through Operation Irini, which provides a key contribution to ensure the respect of the arms embargo by all actors. We will consider ways to ensure the full effectiveness of the operation, with the aim of preventing escalation on the ground.

«An important issue was about Hagia Sophia. The Council has condemned the Turkish decision to convert such an emblematic monument as Hagia Sophia back to a mosque. This decision will inevitably fuel mistrust, promote renewed divisions between religious communities and undermine our efforts at dialogue and cooperation. There was broad support to call on the Turkish authorities to urgently reconsider and reverse this decision.

«All in all, the final conclusion is that there was clearly a broad support for me to explore further paths that could contribute to lowering tensions and reach understandings on issues that are increasingly stressing the relations between Turkey and the European Union.

«Also, I will prepare options on further appropriate measures that could be taken in response to the challenges we are facing as a result of Turkish actions, including in the Eastern Mediterranean. In the meantime, work will also continue on additional listings within the existing sanctions framework as requested by Cyprus.

«I agreed to report back to the [Foreign Affairs] Ministers at the informal meeting at the end of August, which will also have Turkey on its agenda.

Sanctions are always an instrument to achieve a goal, but they are not a policy in themselves. The Council [of Foreign Affairs] considered that there are Council conclusions on illegal Turkish drillings and, at the same time, expressed their will to defuse tensions and make clear that Member States’ sovereignty and sovereignty rights should be respected in accordance with these Council conclusions and international law.

One thing is dialogue and another thing are negotiations. The Council expressed a broad support –I want to be very much precise with the wording I am going to use- to explore further paths that could contribute to lowering tensions and reach understandings on issues that are increasingly stressing the relationship. It is a way of offering to continue exploring ways of reaching understandings.

But, at the same time, the Council has also asked that options have to be prepared on measures that could be taken in response to the challenges we are facing. For sure, there are Council conclusions and on the implementation of these Council conclusions technical work will continue at the technical level on additional listings within the existing sanctions framework as requested by Cyprus”.

Responding to the questions of the international press Josep Borrell added: “We do not want to anticipate a situation in which we could have an increase of tensions. The wording I used is absolutely clear and it is a general answer to all these kind of questions. We are going to explore further paths that could contribute to lower tensions. For sure drillings in Greek waters disputed by Turkey would be something that could increase tensions. At the same time, we will prepare options and further appropriate measures that could be taken in response to the challenges that we are facing as a result of Turkey’s actions.

Borrell «regrets» Hagia Sophia transformation

«Hagia Sophia has a strong symbolic, historical and universal value. Turkey has developed a well-established tradition of cultural conservation as well as a recognised tradition of intellectual and cultural openness. The ruling by the Turkish Council of State to overturn one of modern Turkey’s landmark decisions and President Erdoğan‘s decision to place the monument under the management of the Religious Affairs Presidency, is regrettable. As a founding member of the Alliance of Civilisations, Turkey has committed to the promotion of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue and to fostering of tolerance and co-existence» reads the text of the declaration of the top EU diplomat Josep Borrell.

Unlike the French Minister of Foreign Affaris Jean-Yves Le Drian, Borrell continues to name the Christian baslilque by its Turkish name «Hagia Sophia» while French diiplomacy is refering to the site under its original name «Saint Sophia». The EU diplomacy position also differs, while pointing to universal, historic, and cultural value, omitting the religious symbolism of the basilique for Orthodx Chrisitanity.

« Older Entries