Category Archives: Europe

Kurz aims to improve EU-Russia relations

Vienna perceives easing tensions between the European Union and Russia as its priority task for 2019 to ensure long-term peace in Europe in cooperation with Russia, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said at press conference, dedicated to the Austrian cabinet’s activities.

Easing tensions in relations with Russia will be a major foreign policy challenge for us in the European Union, as well as ensuring de-escalation in the Ukrainian conflict because it is only possible to ensure long-term peace on our continent by cooperating with Russia, and not by opposing Russia,” he said in response to a question about Vienna’s priority tasks for 2019.

According to Kurz, adopting EU measures to ensure fair and free global trade will be Austria’s second priority. “The second big foreign policy challenge is that as a small export-oriented country, we need fair and free global trade, so the United States’ doubts in this regard pose a threat to Europe and Austria in particular. This is why we, the European Union, need to try to do everything possible to make sure that we have fair and free global trade in the future,” Kurz added.

 

Ukrainian servicemen charged with violating Russian border

Ukrainian military servicemen and Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) officers detained in the Kerch Strait have been charged with violating Russia’s border, Nikolai Polozov, the lawyer of one of the detained, told TASS.

“Charges were brought right after their arrest. All of them are charged with violating the Russian border under Article 322.3 of the Russian Criminal Code,” the lawyer said. According to Polozov, he hasn’t met with his client Denis Gritsenko since the latter was arrested.

I haven’t met with my client yet, I don’t know whether any documents have been sent to Moscow and who is conducting the investigation,” the lawyer added.

 

Karim MEP: “Georgia is European”

Reflecting upon the recent developments in Georgia electing the first woman-president. the chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with South Caucasus (DSCA) Sajjad KARIM (UK, ECR) shared his vision of the dynamics between the EU and the countries of the region: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, underlining their remarkable progress in rapprochement with Europe.

MEP Karim perceives the President-elect Salomé Zurabishvili as someone who “really understands the depth of the European values”, who “lived and breathed Europe” her entire life has the ability to influence the direction of the country, the people, and the entire region – the South Caucasus.

Georgia is Europe” – Karim continued, underlining the choice of a French-born woman President is a clear sign of European aspirations of the Georgians.

 

The election of the Salome Zurabishvili as a President of Georgia in the second round of elections marked her remarkable victory, establishing the ruling party candidate and former Georgian foreign minister as the first female head of state.

Zurabishvili won the run-off with 59.6 percent of the ballot, according to the Central Election Commission, while her competitor Grigol Vashadze  took 40.4 percent.

The first woman to be elected to the role was backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, founded by billionaire banker Bidzina Ivanishvili, the country’s richest man. Zurabishvili is expected to try and balance pro-Western aspirations while avoiding antagonizing Moscow.

This regional Delegation serves the EU-Armenia Parliamentary Partnership Committee (PPC), the EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (PCC) and the EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee (PAC). These three countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia – are part of the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood policy. The parliamentary extension of our relations was established in bilateral agreements, concluded with Azerbaijan in 1999, Georgia in 2014 and Armenia in 2017.

 

LUX Film Prize: “Woman at war” striving for change

Woman at war”, an Iceland/France/Ukraine co-production, has won the 12th LUX Film Prize, European Parliament PresidentAntonio Tajani announced in Strasbourg on November 14.

“I am remarkably proud of our film competition, dedicated since 2007 to European film productions focused on themes which are fundamental to our European Union: universality of European values, integration and tolerance, and defence of cultural diversity. Awarding the LUX Prize has never been as difficult as this year. The nominees in the competition were extraordinary, both in terms of originality and the relevance of the subjects they covered” President Tajani said, while congratulating the three finalists.

The finalist films tackle three key themes for the future of Europe: the risks associated with extreme nationalism, the urgency of acting to save the environment and the need to find coherent and cohesive responses to the migration issue. Differing in genre and subject, these films have an important point in common: they tell stories of strong women who are determined to change the status quo.

“On behalf of the European Parliament, I would like to thank the directors and writers present, as well as all those who contributed to making these films and to the success of this edition of the LUX Prize. By showing us new and personal points of view on this Europe of ours, you are contributing significantly to the political debate that takes place every day in this institution” President Tajani added.

Woman at war” (Kona fer í stríð) by Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson, a political film, feminist saga and a fable, tells the story of a woman who is a music teacher and who lives a double life as a passionate environmental activist. She sees her political convictions challenged when her plans to adopt a child come true.

The other two films shortlisted for the 2018 prize wereThe Other Side of Everything” from Mila Turajlic and Styx by Wolfgang Fischer (Germany/Austria).

Woman at war (Kona fer í stríð) tells the story of Halla, a music teacher who lives a double life as a passionate environmental activist. As she begins planning to sabotage an aluminium production plant, which is destroying the Icelandic highlands, she finds out that her application to adopt a child has finally been accepted and there is a little girl waiting for her in Ukraine. At that moment she faces the dilemma of how to reconcile her fight for the environment and her deep wish to become a mother. She finds strength in nature and in the people who support her cause.

 “It’s about democracy, spin media, and this environmental fight and the right of people to act even if you break the rules”, describing the film, director Benedikt Erlingsson said. The funny and surreal “arthouse action thriller with a lot of music” employs breath-taking Icelandic nature to illustrate the dramatic urgency of the environmental issues the world is facing.

Armistice 100: Patriotism versus nationalism

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is its betrayal,” the   President of  France Emmanuel Macron said after paying tribute to the fallen soldiers. one hundred years after the end of the First World War.  Some 70 leaders including Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and Angela Merkel celebrated in Paris the commemoration of the Armistice 1918.  However the peace today is threatened according to Emmanuel Macron by the “demons” of the past and a return of nationalism.

At 11:00 am, a hundred years ago to the day, hour by hour, in Paris and throughout France, the bugles sounded and the bells of all the churches sounded,” Emmanuel Macron said in his speech. “It was the armistice, it was the end of four long and terrible years of deadly fighting“.”During these four years, Europe failed to commit suicide. Humanity had sunk into the hideous labyrinth of merciless clashes in a hell that engulfs all the fighters, “added the head of state. “Remember, let us not forget because the memory of these sacrifices exhorts us to be worthy of those who died for us“.

We commit to defending with all means available our common EU values, first and foremost, liberty and peace. This is what patriotism is” said the president of the European Parliament Antonio reacting upon the words of Emmanuel Macron.

‘The longest period of peace in written history in Europe started with the formation of the European Communities” said the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker,  who participated in commemoration ceremony.

 

 

EU regards Donetsk and Lugansk elections as illegal

The EU considers the “elections” planned for 11 November 2018 in the non-government controlled territories of the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” and “Donetsk People’s Republic” as illegal and illegitimate and will not recognise them. The EU condemns these ”elections”, as they are in breach of international law, undermine the commitments taken under the Minsk agreements and violate Ukraine‘s sovereignty and law” says the text of the  declaration of the EU top diplomat Federica Moghereini on behalf of the European Union on the elections planned in self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic and People’s Republic Donetsk on 11 November.

“The Minsk agreements exclusively provide for local elections to be held within the framework of the Ukrainian legislation and under the OSCE standards and observation. These reasons render these so-called “elections” null and void.” the declaration concludes.

Both break-away Republic were formed on territories with Russian-speaking population, rejecting violent coup-d’état in Kiev, overthrowing legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych. 

The European Union reiterates its full support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders“, Mogherini reaffirms.

Nowadays only one in 10 Ukrainians consider violent coup d’état (2014),  named “Maidan Revolution“, or “Euromaidan” in Kiev (pictured), leading to beak-away of eastern Russian-speaking region of Donbass, and ongoing conflict as “positive”.

Euromaidan

12/11/2018 AMENDED:

The Donetsk acting head Denis Pushilin, whose predecessor was assassinated in an explosion in August, was elected as leader with 61 percent of the vote while the acting chief of Luhansk, Leonid Pasechnik, won with 68 percent.

 

EU against militarisation of Azov sea

During second October Plenary in Strasbourg following the debate with the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini  a group of  MEPs proposed a Motion for the European parliament resolution against militarisation of the Azov sea. The document  “condemns the Russian Federation for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty by means of the illegal construction of the Kerch bridge, the increased militarisation of the Crimean peninsula and the Sea of Azov and the illegal and abusive blockades and unlawful inspections carried out on commercial ships sailing through the Kerch Strait or in the Sea of Azov, including both Ukrainian vessels and those with flags of third-party states, as well as so far more than 120 ships under flags of various EU Member States, and delaying shipping in the Sea of Azov.”

MEPs also call Mogherini to take the necessary steps to propose to activate the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) mandate, which covers the entire territory of Ukraine, including maritime territory, in order to monitor the situation in the Sea of Azov.

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