Category Archives: International

#LPS19: ESA ‘Big Bang’ in Milan

The European Space Agency’s 2019 Living Planet Symposium has opened its working sessions today in Milan (Italy) Convention Centre MiCo. This symposium focuses on Earth Observation contribution to science and society, and spreading knowledge on disruptive technologies and actors, changing the traditional Earth Observation landscape, which also reveals new challenges and opens opportunities for public and private sector interactions.

Josef ASCHBACKER, (@AschbacherJosef ‏) Director of observation programs @ESA, shares his views with Europe Diplomatic Magazine on further integration of Earth observation data into European and global politics, shaping the new types of green economies, and lifestyle respectful of nature and planet. ASCHBACKER is profoundly convinced that ESA data on climate change and the other issues should be at heart of the upcoming political cycle of the EU.

The event, which is held every three years, will take place on 13–17 May 2019 in Milan, Italy. The Symposium is organised with the support of the Italian Space Agency.

This symposium focuses on how Earth Observation contributes to science and society, and how disruptive technologies and actors are changing the traditional Earth Observation landscape, which is also creating new opportunities for public and private sector interactions.

 

EU “believes” in partnership with China

EU-China Summit took place the 21st time on 9 April in Brussels, providing a forum for engagement at the highest level and for advancing the relationship as regards the bilateral and multilateral agendas.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Council Donald Tusk represented the European Union at the Summit. The People’s Republic of China was represented by Premier Li Keqiang.

“In today’s world, our partnership is more important than ever before. We share the same belief that working together makes the world a stronger, safer and more prosperous place”, said President Jean-Claude Juncker. 

“As good friends, we can also be honest with each other when we need to be or when progress is slower than we would like. This honesty and a strong determination to face our challenges together have allowed us to make real progress, reflected in today’s Joint Statement. But we can do a lot better. We need to find a better balance and level of reciprocity. Europe wants to trade more and invest more in China but we need rules that allow us to do so. We want to work with China, because we believe in the potential of our partnership.”

The European Union and China have agreed a Joint Summit Statement, which is available online, along wth the full remarks of President Juncker at the press conference following the Summit.

Significant progress has been made on a number of key issues, as highlighted:

  • Preserving the international rules-based trade system with the World Trade Organisation at its core and strengthening international rules on industrial subsidies;
  • Enhancing bilateral trade and investment, including through removing key market access barriers, and moving to conclude negotiations on an Investment Agreement and an agreement on Geographical Indications;
  • Tackling global and regional challenges together, including foreign policy priorities, climate change and cyber activity.https://twitter.com/EU_Eurostat/status/1115497594472542209

EU supports Afghanistan peace process

We then discussed our support to the Afghanistan peace process. You might have seen the conclusions that have been adopted that highlight the concrete actions that the European Union is willing and ready to take in support of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, hopefully to be started already next week –  as it was announced that intra-Afghan negotiations might start already next week” the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said, while concluding the work of the meeting of Foreign ministers Council in Luxembourg.

“We have been supporting enormously the work of the Afghan legitimate authorities in their preparation for that. I am glad to see that yesterday, President of Afghanistan, Ashraf] Ghani announced the formation of the negotiating team and a senior council to lead them. I really hope that, also following our talks in Kabul a couple of weeks ago, this can open the way for negotiations that can lead to peace in Afghanistan without pre-judging neither the electoral process nor the achievements that the Afghan population has managed to reach, in particular on the rights of women, minorities and human rights in general terms.”

The Council recommends that direct negotiations between Afghans, with the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban at their core begin as soon as possible.

It confirms the EU’s readiness to support the peace process and its implementation, wit the aim of preserving and building on the political, economic and social achievements of the people of Afghanistan since 2001, which should be irreversible. The EU stands ready to support the following aspects of the process:

  • to help make the peace process inclusive;
  • to assist with reforms, including security sector reform;
  • to act as a guarantor of a peace process, if requested by the parties;
  • to assist with reintegration of fighters and their families and
  • to promote regional trade and connectivity.

French ambassador to Vanuatu dismissed for sexual assault

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).

Vanuatu

Conte defends Silk Road to Italy

Italy Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that the Memorandum of understanding his government has scheduled to sign for China‘s Belt and Road Initiative during Chinese President Xi Jinping visit this week is risk free. The initiative is a huge infrastructure plan that aiming at construction of a modern Silk Road to connect China with Europe and Africa.

The attention to economic and trade terms is totally legitimate,” Conte told the Parliament as he reported to the lawmakers ahead of this week’s EU Summit in Brussels. “And it is justified precisely because of our national interests. We can boost our exports to a market of an enormous size”, Prime Minister explained.
The content of the memorandum, which was negotiated for months with China involving all the interested administrations, does not feature any risk for our national interest and is fully in line with the EU‘s strategy”, Conte ensured.

Ankara “strongly condemns” Utrecht attack

Turkish intelligence service is investigating the motive of the suspect in #Utrecht shooting. President Erdogan has announced, according to reports of Reuters news agency from Ankara. The intelligence services investigate whether there is a terrorist motive and trace or whether the suspect had a different impulse. In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said it “strongly condemns” the attack.

The intelligence services have launched an investigation into possible ties of the assailant with the terrorist groups, namely if he had contacts in Chechnya, or in Islamic State (ISIS).

Mogherini pledges EU €2bn to Syria

Conference on “Supporting the future of Syria and the region“, known as Brussels III opened these week to accumulate financial aid pledges for 2019.

Following two previous events, the conference, organized by the European Union and the United Nations, brings together participants from more than 85 countries and organizations at ministerial level.

 

 

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