Category Archives: EU

N.Macedonia to open EU accession talks end June

Many people were sceptical about the possibility of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. We are there, thanks to the dedication, the commitment, I would say the courage, the leadership, and the hope that the Prime Ministers, the Foreign Ministers have put in this process” – said EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini at ceremony of former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece of the signature of agreement on the name issue at Prespa lake.
“The European Union and the two of us personally have been accompanying this process step by step” – Mogherini reminded. “We are here today, first of all to thank the two sides, because they make us all Europeans proud of the capacity to find – through diplomacy, through dialogue – a win-win solution for a problem that was long-standing for too many decades. It makes Europe more peaceful, more united and that also opens the way for the entire region of the Balkans to live in a different kind of atmosphere.”
Regarding EU membership perspective for Severna Macedonia Mogerini continued:
the EU External  Actions service has already  recommended as the European Commission to start the negotiations, and in a fortnight the European Council (28-29 June).

EU laudits Spain for reception of migrant vessel

The EU Commissioner on Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos welcomed the decision of Spanish government to accept the vessel #Aquarius with 629 migrants on board transported from Libyan coasts to Italy.  The Italian and Maltese governments repelled #Aquarius, belonging to NGO, which is notorious for exercising the transportation of illegal African migrants to Europe, abusing maritime law of saving lives in seas, and is often dabbed as ‘migrant taxi service‘. Both EU member states – Italy and Malta – have been overwhelmed with migrants flows after the destruction of Libyan state, and have exhausted their capacity of offering shelter. The Spanish Socialist government, profiling itself as Eurocentric, came to rescue of the EU reputation in a gesture of solidarity to relieve the burden from Italy and Malta.

Meanwhile the new Interior Minister Matteo Salvini declared his victory over the EU, imposing respect of the international obligations towards the refugees, but unable to resolve the issue of illegal migrants flooding Italy. The Dublin system application hits hard the Mediterranean members of the bloc, namely Italy,  in vain calling for the EU solidarity in relocation of migrants.

“I am not a racist, I am not a fascist…but Italy cannot take it anymore. This is a new beginning – Salvini said at his press-conference, commenting on an international raw after the  repelling of #Aquarius from Italian coasts. Maltese Prime minister Joseph Muscat thanked Madrid for resolving the problem, however he underlined that a discussion is needed to avoid the repetition of the similar situations in the future.

During the stand off between Italy and Malta both rejecting #Aquarius,  there were reports from MSF about the migrants on the board becoming ‘anxious’ about the impossibility to reach Italian coasts. A man blackmailed the crew to drown himself in the sea, if the vessel returns to Libya. Sadly, many of the illegal migrants  arriving to Europe refer to the phenomenon as ‘migrant business‘, while experts confirm that nowadays in Africa ‘you are never further than two conversations away from a trafficker, ready to bring you to European coasts’.

Africa migrant map

 

Tusk opposes Russia re-entering G7

Reacting upon remarks of President Donald Trump, EU Council president Donald Tusk said: “On most fronts, the G7 continues to push in the same direction: when it comes to achieving the complete denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula, countering the aggressive stance of Russia and searching for a political solution to the conflict in Syria.

“We must also demonstrate unity regarding the ongoing land reclamation and militarisation in the South China Sea, as the international law must apply to all countries, big and small, on land and at sea. As the G7, we also want to defend our democracies from threats by foreign actors. To this end, we will discuss stepping up cooperation to prevent and respond to unacceptable foreign interference in our democratic processes”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also opposed Russia re-entering G7, indicating the “time is not right”. “Here we all agreed that a return of Russia to the G7-format summits can’t happen until substantial progress has been made in connection with the problems with Ukraine,” she said. “That was the common view.”

Russia was suspended from the group — then known as the G8 (pictured above) — in 2014 after the majority of member countries allied against Kremlin annexation of Crimea, which Moscow continues to consider an integral part of Russian Federation after the referendum, when an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to reunite with their historic motherland.

Asked in an interview earlier this week about what would need to happen for Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Austria’s ORF broadcasting corporation that “there are no such conditions and there can never be.”

Former European Parliament president appointed foreign minister of Spain

Former European parliament president (2004-2007) Josep Borrell Fontelles has been nominated as Spain’s foreign minister in new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist government.

Borrell, a 71-year-old former leader of Spain’s Socialists, has accepted Sanchez’s invitation to join the team, making him the first confirmed member of his cabinet, according to Spanish media reports.

Borrell will replace Alfonso Dastis, a career diplomat, who occupied the post under ousted conservative premier Mariano Rajoy.

Newly appointed ministers curriculum reached its low, when he was accused of conflict of interests and forced to resign as president of the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence facing allegations of a conflict of interest.

“Borrell is being paid €300,000 a year as a board member of the Spanish sustainable-energy company Abengoa, a post he has held since July 2009, when he left the European Parliament. The EUI apparently only became aware of this in recent weeks, after comments in the Spanish press” POLITICO newspaper wrote back in 2012.

In spite of the fact Borrell’s reputation is far from being flawless,  Sanchez, a 46-year-old economist with no government experience, is obviously interested in cooperation with such an political heavyweight as Borrell, who has functioned in top positions in Spanish and international politics.

Sanchez was sworn in on Saturday, a day after defeating Rajoy’s minority conservative government in a no-confidence vote in parliament sparked by fury over a corruption scandal.

Although from Catalan origin, Borrell and has been vocal critic of the Catalan independence, he served as deputy finance minister, and then public works minister, under former Socialist prime minister Felipe Gonzalez, who was in power between 1982 and 1996.

 

Merkel excluded debt releif for Italy

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has excluded debt relief for Italy, explaining in a newspaper interview published on Sunday (3/06/2017) that the principle of solidarity among eurozone member states should not turn the single currency bloc into a debt-sharing union.

While cohesion among members of the single currency bloc is important, “solidarity among euro partners should never lead to a debt union, rather it must be about helping others to help themselves” – Merkel continued.

Chancellor made her remarks when asked about a media reports about Italy’s eurosceptic 5-Star Movement and Northern League (Lega Nord) had planned to ask the European Central Bank to forgive 250 billion euros ($296 billion) of Italian debt.

Juncker trades barbs with Rome

The first step of newly appointed Italian government started with criticism of the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker remarks on management of the poorest regions of Apennine peninsula.. “More work, less corruption” – is the top EU executive piece of advice to Rome new strategists for regional cohesion. However the concept  of the president was met with indignation by Matteo Salvini, the head of  the Eurosceptic Lega party, and newly appointed deputy prime minister, pushing Juncker to present his “deep regrets” for presuming Italians in the south are corrupt and lazy.

On Friday, EU Commission spokesperson Mina Andreeva said that president Juncker’s words had been interpreted in “a misleading way, because President Juncker loves Italy.” However the struggle in defence of the image of southern Italians was not limited to reactions from Rome – the president of another EU institution, the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani demanded the president of the Commission to withdraw his comments on Italy.

 

Iranian nuclear deal in focus of EU foreign ministers

The Foreign Affairs Council (28/05/2018) will start with a discussion on current affairs, allowing ministers to review pressing issues on the international agenda.

The High Representative Federica Mogherini and ministers may refer to the Sofia Summit (17 May), recent developments related to North Korea and the situation in Yemen.

Iran

Foreign ministers will continue to discuss Iran and the nuclear deal (#JCPOA) in light of the latest developments, in particular after the US decision to withdraw from the agreement.

This follows the discussion by EU leaders at their meeting in Sofia on 16 May. At this meeting, they agreed unanimously that the EU will stay in the agreement as long as Iran remains fully committed to it.

Venezuela

Foreign ministers will exchange views on the political situation in Venezuela, after the presidential election of 20 May. The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on Venezuela.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The Council will discuss the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, following up on the Council conclusions of 11 December 2017 and in view of the foreseen elections at the end of the year.

Gaza

Over lunch, foreign ministers will discuss the situation in Gaza following recent developments, including in relation to the move of the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

African, Caribbean and Pacific countries

The Council is expected to discuss the negotiating mandate for the future agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The current ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, also known as the Cotonou Agreement, will expire in February 2020.

Foreign ministers had an initial discussion during January’s Foreign Affairs Council. Development ministers had a discussion on 22 May 2018.

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