Category Archives: International

EU welcomes Serbia reforms

Brusssels 14.01.2022 “France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union welcome Serbia’s January 16 national referendum on constitutional changes as a key step to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and to enhance the transparency and effectiveness of the country’s rule of law institutions. We believe that these reforms are a step forward towards Serbia’s alignment with European standards and will support Serbia’s EU accession process”, reads the Joint Statement by Embassies of France, Germany, Italy, UK, USA and the Delegation of EU on the Referendum. (Image: Belgrade,Serbia).

“We have encouraged all Serbian citizens to take part in the referendum and believe it important for eligible voters to be able to vote in elections and referenda. We note with regret that the Kosovo government has not allowed the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to collect ballots of eligible voters living in Kosovo for the upcoming referendum in accordance with past practice. We call on the Kosovo government to allow Serbs in Kosovo to exercise their right to vote in elections and electoral processes in accordance with this established practice”.

“We call upon the governments of Kosovo and Serbia to refrain from actions and rhetoric that increase tensions and to engage constructively in the EU-facilitated Dialogue. It is important that both governments achieve progress towards a comprehensive agreement that unlocks the EU perspective and increases regional stability”.

JCPOA: Joint Commission convenes in Vienna

Brussels 17.12.2021 The Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will convene again in a physical format this Friday in Vienna.

The Joint Commission will be chaired, on behalf of the EU High Representative Josep Borrell, by the Deputy Secretary General/Political Director of the European External Action Service, Enrique Mora. It will be attended by representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran.

Participants will continue the discussions on the prospect of a possible return of the United States to the JCPOA and how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the agreement by all sides.

G7: calls Russia to de-escalate

Brussels 12.12.2021 “We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union, are united in our condemnation of Russia’s military build-up and aggressive rhetoric towards Ukraine”.

“We call on Russia to de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by its international commitments on transparency of military activities as President Biden did in his call with President Putin on 7 December. We reconfirm our support for the efforts of France and Germany in the Normandy Format to achieve full implementation of the Minsk Agreements in order to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine”.

“Any use of force to change borders is strictly prohibited under international law. Russia should be in no doubt that further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe cost in response”.

“We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the right of any sovereign state to determine its own future. We commend Ukraine’s posture of restraint”.

“We will intensify our cooperation on our common and comprehensive response”.

EU-Central Asia meeting

Brussels 22.10.2021 “Resilience, prosperity & supporting regional cooperation – these are the priorities set out in the EU-Central Asia Strategy, which remain today more relevant than ever to guide our regional engagement for post-pandemic recovery. Good to jointly discuss their implementation today” wrote on his Twitter micro blog the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell. (Image: Dushanbe, Parliament)

Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov will attend the 17th EU-Central Asia Ministerial Meeting on November 22 in Dushanbe, the Foreign Ministry of Uzbekistan said.

The current cooperation between the European Union and the Central Asian countries and its prospects, progress of implementation of the EU strategy for Central Asia will be discussed.

The Ministerial Meeting will consider prospects of cooperation and ways to enhance effectiveness of regional cooperation, international and regional policy issues.

EU-Belarus: new wave of sanctions

Brussels 14.11.2021 As the European Union faces a new migration crisis, organised by Belarus which encourages the entry of migrants into EU countries, the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell (pictured) said the bloc is ready for a new wave of sanctions.

The EU diplomat deplores the situation and announces a new wave of sanctions to come against a number of Belarusian personalities. However Borrell also talks about Poland and its affront to the rule of law.

“We push the migrants: they leave 12 countries and Belarus pushes them against the border. We can end up in a humanitarian drama: it is an attack on the dignity of migrants that we bring to a dead end. (…) Yes, we are going to vote for a fifth round of sanctions, relating to those who organise these trips. (…) Lukashenko has imprisoned 35,000 people. If he could cut off the gas, he would, but the the Russians are not going to let him do it because the gas is sold by them.”

Poland wants to build an anti-migrant wall with the help of European funds, while Brussels wants to cut off funding for its breaches of the rule of law. For Josep Borrell, “there are more walls in Europe today than at the time of the Berlin Wall. However, it is not with walls that we are going to stop the migration problems”.

Regarding the “strategic compass” to guide Europeans in their diplomacy, the EU diplomat believes that “Europe is in a very dangerous environment and must have complementary instruments to NATO in order to be able to intervene in an environment that concerns it.”

Biden receives Leyen in White House

Bruxelles 10.11.2021 “I had a very productive meeting today with President Biden in the White House. We have met several times in the last couple of weeks. And we have been meeting at the G20 Summit in Rome and at the COP26 in Glasgow. There, we have launched together several initiatives on the topics of climate change, for example, or trade or other geopolitical issues” the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said, after her visit of the White House, Washington.

“Therefore, today, we were focusing mainly on questions of pressing international topics. First of all, of course, we have been discussing the pandemic and that, despite the progress in vaccination in the United States and the European Union, we have to be very vigilant that this does not turn into a pandemic of the unvaccinated. And we have to do our utmost that the vaccination rates are increasing. We are also aware and determined to make sure that we keep our goal in mind that we want to vaccinate 70% of the global population by next year. So there is still a lot of effort to do” the EU top executive continued.

“We were then focusing on the situation on the EU-Belarus border. This is not a bilateral issue of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus. This is a challenge to the whole of the European Union. And this is not a migration crisis. This is the attempt of an authoritarian regime to try to destabilise its democratic neighbours. This will not succeed. We know the patterns. We are used to that, by seeing how there was the attempt to influence our democratic elections. We see the cyberattacks. We see the misinformation. Now, we have this hybrid attack by instrumentalising migrants at the EU-Belarus border. And we have to protect our democracies from this kind of cynical geopolitical power play. This is what I discussed with President Biden at the White House meeting.

“This then led to the question of Ukraine. We agree that we fully support the territorial integrity of Ukraine and we also fully support Ukraine in its attempt to modernise and transform the economy and to build up resilience, also on the chosen path.

“We have then discussed the situation on the island of Ireland. It is very important that the agreement found in the Protocol and the Withdrawal Agreement are in place, because they are the possibility to keep peace and stability on the island of Ireland. So we are willing, as a European Union, to show the utmost flexibility, and we have shown utmost flexibility within the Protocol, but it is important to stick to what we have agreed and signed together, to work with that.

“And finally, we have been discussing infrastructure. It is the initiative ‘Build Back Better World’ and the ‘European Global Gateway’ that are reinforcing each other. We know that we build on the same principles. And now we are looking into identifying together the most promising projects where we can invest in, in our common initiatives. So that was a brief summary”.

Ukraine: Russia denies troops buildup

Brussels 06.11.2021 CIA director William Burns visited Moscow to inform relevant authorities that the U.S. was monitoring closely the alleged buildup of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border. As CNN channel reported on Friday, November 5, citing its sources, the intelligence chief was supposed to determine what was provoking Russia’s actions. (Image: Moscow city).

According to CNN, during meetings in Moscow, the CIA’s director tried to warn Russia against any plans for an offensive, stressing that the U.S. is constantly monitoring all the movements of Russian troops.

During the official two-day visit this week, the U.S. top executive also expressed concern “that Russia is close to using its gas exports as leverage, with Ukraine and other European nations forecast to suffer energy crises heading into winter.” After meetings in Moscow, where the U.S. official held talks with Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev and Director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Sergei Naryshkin, “Burns called [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky on Wednesday to convey the administration’s concerns over Russia’s behavior and reassure him that the U.S. is closely tracking the Russian activity, according to a person with direct knowledge of the call,” CNN reported.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented at articles published in U.S. media outlets that claim Russia was allegedly amassing troops at the Ukrainian border, branding them to be part of a fake news campaign. The diplomat said that at least three U.S. media outlets – Politico, the Washington Post and Foreign Policy published “as if on cue in a real panic attack” materials that Russia was allegedly moving its troops to the Ukrainian border. “This wasn’t one fake news item, this is an entire fresh fake news campaign in American media outlets,” the diplomat said at a briefing on Wednesday, November 3.

EU-Turkey diplomatic crisis

Brussels 25.10.2021 Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reversed his plans on Monday, October 25, abandoning a threat to expel 10 Western ambassadors, averting a diplomatic storm that analysts were warning would bring economic catastrophe upon Turkey and a lasting rupture in the NATO.

The 10 ambassadors had called for the release of businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala — jailed in 2017 despite having not having been convicted of a crime — in a joint statement last week.

The reversal occurred after the United States and several of the other concerned countries issued identical statements saying they respected a UN convention that required diplomats not to interfere in the host country’s domestic affairs.

After chairing an hours-long cabinet meeting devoted to the diplomatic standoff, Erdogan said the envoys had learnt their lesson and “will be more careful now”.

“Our intention is absolutely not to create a crisis but to protect our honour, our pride, our sovereign rights,” Erdogan said in nationally televised comments.

The lira pulled back from a historic low and was trading up half a percent against the dollar on relief that Turkey and the West had pulled back from the brink of the most serious diplomatic crisis of Erdogan’s 19-year rule.

EU: Borrell talks with Blinken in Washington

Brussels 15.10.2021 The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell met with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Thursday,October 14.

The European diplomat welcomed recent intense engagement with the U.S. Administration and expressed the importance to further deepen the EU-U.S. strategic partnership to jointly address foreign policy, security and global challenges. Further he welcomed, in particular, the launch of the Trade and Technology Council in Pittsburgh as a strong example of the shared commitment to work together to provide answers to some of today’s most pressing challenges.

Borrell and Blinken highlighted the intention to launch a dialogue on security and defence by the end of the year. The EU diplomat welcomed the setting up of this dedicated channel to discuss common security and defence challenges, building on the mandate agreed by the EU and U.S. Leaders at the EU-U.S. Summit in June. He welcomed the US support for a stronger and more capable European defence and stressed that stronger EU capabilities contribute positively to transatlantic and global security, and also strengthen NATO.

Both diplomats agreed to launch EU-U.S. consultations on the Indo-Pacific, with the aim to step up transatlantic cooperation and joint engagement in the region. They agreed to hold a first high-level meeting this year.

They welcomed the work done under the EU-US Dialogue on China and agreed to hold the next high-level meeting in December. They also agreed to launch the High-level Dialogue on Russia, with the first meeting planned to take place before the end of this year.

Borrell and Blinken discussed some of the most urgent foreign and security policy issues. They addressed, amongst others, the latest developments related to Afghanistan, with the High Representative underlining the utmost priority for the international community being to prevent the socio-economic collapse of the country and the need to work jointly on solutions for Afghan people.

They further discussed the opportunities for continued EU – U.S. partnership in the Western Balkans in support of the region’s progress on its European path, underlined the importance of EU-facilitated Dialogue in addressing issues related to the comprehensive normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo and, referring to recent developments, highlighted the need for de-escalation and re-engagement in negotiations. They agreed to further strengthen their cooperation on these matters.

The diplomats also discussed the situation in Venezuela and their strong will to support political processes to restore stability and democratic reconciliation in the country. In addition, they discussed the efforts towards stabilisation in the Sahel region.

They paid attention to high energy prices, the global impact of this crisis as well as the green energy transition. They looked forward to the next meeting of the EU-U.S. Energy Council early next year, agreed on the need for an ambitious outcome at the COP 26 climate conference.

Concluding the talks Josep Borrell once again has drawn attention to the modality of the relations between two partners. “The European Union and the United States share an important and unique relationship. We will continue to work closely not only because we are partners of first resort but also because friends and allies look at us and expect us to work together to address global challenges” the EU diplomat said.

EU preservation of Arctic policy

“…The European Union engagement in the Arctic is not a matter of convenience or the way to prove our importance in geopolitical field” said the Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius during following the adoption of the new EU Arctic Policy.

“It is a necessity. First of all, because the Arctic is home for hundreds of thousands of Europeans. Secondly, environment crisis and climate change already showed us that what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. Similarly, global actions and demand patterns do not stay out of the region. Geopolitical competition is growing and the balance in the Arctic has been lost in climate field. We have to bring this balance back.

“This is the reason why today we adopted the new Joint Communication for a stronger EU engagement for a peaceful, sustainable and prosperous Arctic with the European Green Deal at its heart.

“This is the make or break decade in the fight against the climate and biodiversity crises. Our generation has the unique and only opportunity to change the world and the Arctic is at the centre of this change.

“The Arctic is warming up three times faster than the rest of the planet. Forest fires are becoming the norm in some parts of the region. Collapsing infrastructure led last summer to a huge oil slick. This must be fixed and the reason is simple: the melting of ice and thawing of permafrost in the Arctic further accelerate climate change and have huge knock-on effects, felt by Europeans and throughout the world. The EU is ready to lead by example.

“…We will enhance our strategic foresight, especially regarding the links between climate change and security. We will look to extend our Civil Protection capacities in the Arctic and offer new services from our world-leading Copernicus and Galileo satellite systems, to help environmental monitoring, maritime safety and search and rescue.

“In this, it will be important to work together with all Arctic partners in Europe, with the US and Canada, and with other partners involved in Arctic affairs.

“In the entire climate change or geopolitical action local and indigenous people are at the center of our efforts. There are many Europeans among them and we will support an inclusive and sustainable development of the Arctic to the benefit of them and future generations. We will be stimulating better education, sustainable growth and jobs.

“We aim to increase the involvement of young, women and Indigenous Peoples in Arctic decision-making. We seek to boost digital connectivity through EU space programmes and the Connecting Europe Facility and support technologies and solutions for the green transition, including through the EU Recovery Plan.

“The EU is in the Arctic. We have strategic and day-to-day interests, both in the European Arctic and the broader Arctic region. By this strategy, the EU aims to promote sound environmental management, biodiversity protection and efficient energy use, support climate change mitigation and adaptation, and contribute to the resilience of the people in the face of climate change effects”.

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