Tag Archives: Brussels

Antisemitic Prejudices in Europe report

Brussels 12.10.2021 A comprehensive picture of the anti-Semitic prejudice in 16 countries of the European Union has been revealed in the Report, presented in Brussels today by the Action and Protection League in alliance with the European Jewish Association in the Jewish House. The research seeks to explore the prevalence and intensity of anti-Jewish prejudices in the European societies. The intention of the engaged team has been to show how likely in times of crisis the societies are susceptible to use the antisemitic narrative to indulge themselves in illusions of solutions for a various range of problems.

The Report on “Antisemitic Prejudices in Europe” appeared in a specific context of concern about the rise of violence against Jews, which reflects in insecurities in Jewish communities across Europe.

In the report the cognitive antisemitism has been measured by a series of questions used several times in surveys in the last two decades. Based on support of rejection of the offered statements, measuring biased stereotyping there were tree major groups of the participants in the survey: non-antisemites, moderate antisemites, and strong antisemites.

The European Muslim are characterised by significantly stronger primary antisemitism than the non-Muslim population, however anti-semitism in Greece and several post-Soviet East European countries is “significantly stronger” than among European Muslims, the report discoveres.

Regarding Israel many European Muslims support anti-Jewish views, far more than proportion of non-Muslim population in any of the countries studies, the reports states.

During the research a group of latent anti-semites has been identified, which does not incline to the traditional anit-semitic views, but hostility towards Israel, but does not appear to be antisemitic in a traditional sense, getting the definition of latent anti-semitism.

Concerning the primary antisemitism there more than average antisemites in Greece (48%), Poland (42%), Hungary(42%), Slovkia (39%), the Czech Republic(36%), Romania (38%) and Austira (31%). The proportion of strong antisemites in Greece is almost three times the average – 35%, and is highest in Austria (21%) outside the former Soviet bloc.

In three Western European countries the proportion of those who accept traditional antisemitic prejudices and are also “averse” to Jews is negligible in Sweden, the Netherlands, and the UK representing from 3% to 6% of the adult population.

In spite of a grim landscape in some cases, there are also strong positive attitudes toward Jews and Israel, who are convinced that it is important for Europe to preserve Jewish traditions in their countries. The respondents are also friends of Israel, regarding Jewish state as a politically significant actor, and ally.

The indicator directs to 22% of the total population in the 16 countries as “strongly philosemitic”, 35% “moderately”, and 44% as non-philosemtic. The philosemitism is strong in Austria, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Greece. The results might seem contradictory at times, and the report needs further analysis and understanding of the social psychological theories dealing with prejudice in its cognitive, effective, and conative dimension.

Kosovo: EU calls to de-escalate

Brussels 26.09.2021 “I continue to follow the situation in the north of Kosovo closely. Serbia and Kosovo need to unconditionally de-escalate the situation on the ground, by immediately withdrawing special police units and dismantling of roadblocks. Any further provocations or unilateral and uncoordinated actions are unacceptable” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

“Kosovo and Serbia must find solutions to defuse the situation and agree on the way forward. The EU will actively support these efforts. Both Kosovo and Serbian leaders are fully responsible for any risks to the safety and well-being of local communities is on both Kosovo and Serbia. I stressed this in my calls with President Vucic and Prime Minister Kurti this week.

“The EU-facilitated Dialogue continues to be the only platform to address and resolve all open issues between the Parties, including those related to freedom of movement and licence plates, and I strongly urge Kosovo and Serbia to use it. Both Chief Negotiators coming to Brussels in the coming days is a first positive step. It is crucial that they come with a mandate to discuss the way forward and find sustainable solutions that are in the interests of the citizens.

“We repeat that we expect both Kosovo and Serbia to return to fostering an environment conducive to reconciliation, regional stability and cooperation for the benefit of their citizens. This is crucial for reaching a comprehensive and legally-binding agreement on normalisation of their relations, which is necessary for both to advance on their respective European paths.

“I am in close touch with NATO Secretary General, whom I thank for the excellent cooperation between KFOR and EULEX. KFOR plays a key role in supporting regional stability in the Western Balkans”.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the UN General Assembly: “When it is beneficial to the West, the right of peoples to self-determination is elevated to an absolute. And then, in violation of the UN Security Council resolution, they recognise the artificially created formation of Kosovo, which was forcibly torn away from Serbia. No one is embarrassed that the Malvins are 12 thousand km from Britain…”

Afghanistan: NATO continues evacuations

Brussels 20.08.2021 NATO Foreign Ministers met via teleconference on Friday (20 August 2021) to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. “What we have witnessed in recent days is a tragedy for the people of Afghanistan,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He stressed that NATO’s top priority is the continuing evacuation of people from Allied and partner countries, and Afghans who have worked with NATO.
Statement by NATO Foreign Ministers on Afghanistan:
“We, the Foreign Ministers of NATO, met today to discuss the difficult situation in Afghanistan:

“We are united in our deep concern about the grave events in Afghanistan and call for an immediate end to the violence. We also express deep concerns about reports of serious human rights violations and abuses across Afghanistan. We affirm our commitment to the statement by the UN Security Council on 16 August, and we call for adherence to international norms and standards on human rights and international humanitarian law in all circumstances.

“Our immediate task now is to meet our commitments to continue the safe evacuation of our citizens, partner country nationals, and at-risk Afghans, in particular those who have assisted our efforts. We call on those in positions of authority in Afghanistan to respect and facilitate their safe and orderly departure, including through Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. As long as evacuation operations continue, we will maintain our close operational coordination through Allied military means at Hamid Karzai International Airport.

“The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity, and to build on the important political, economic and social achievements they have made over the last twenty years. We stand by civil society actors who must be able to continue to safely play their meaningful role in Afghan society. We call on all parties in Afghanistan to work in good faith to establish an inclusive and representative government, including with the meaningful participation of women and minority groups. Under the current circumstances, NATO has suspended all support to the Afghan authorities. Any future Afghan government must adhere to Afghanistan’s international obligations; safeguard the human rights of all Afghans, particularly women, children, and minorities; uphold the rule of law; allow unhindered humanitarian access; and ensure that Afghanistan never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists.

“For the last twenty years, we have successfully denied terrorists a safe haven in Afghanistan from which to instigate attacks. We will not allow any terrorists to threaten us. We remain committed to fighting terrorism with determination, resolve, and in solidarity.

“We honour the service and sacrifice of all who have worked tirelessly over the last twenty years to realise a better future for Afghanistan. Together, we will fully reflect on our engagement in Afghanistan and draw the necessary lessons.

“We will continue to promote the stable, prosperous Afghanistan that the Afghan people deserve and address the critical questions facing Afghanistan and the region, in the immediate future and beyond, including through our cooperation with regional and international partners, such as the European Union and United Nations”.

Borrell convenes urgent Council

Brussels 16.08.2021 “Following latest developments in Afghanistan, and after intense contacts with partners in the past days and hours, I decided to convene an extraordinary VTC (video-tele- conference) of EU Foreign Ministers FAC (Foreign Ministers Council) tomorrow afternoon for a first assessment” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

The EU’s relationship with Afghanistan is guided by the 2017 EU Strategy for Afghanistan, aimed at strengthening the country’s institutions and economy. The 2017 Cooperation Agreement provides the basis for developing a mutually beneficial relationship in several areas such as: human rights, the rule of law, health, rural development, education, science and technology, the fight against terrorism, organised crime and narcotics. Most recently, EU27 have given further steer in the May 2020 Conclusions of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council.

On 26 April 2021, the European Union and Afghanistan signed a Joint Declaration on Migration Cooperation. The Joint Declaration will help to address irregular migration and promote joint efforts in the fight against migrant smuggling and human trafficking and will facilitate the sustainable reintegration of people returning to Afghanistan by focusing on their individual needs and the needs of host and return communities, including opportunities for both skills development and employment.

The Joint Declaration continues the positive EU-Afghan cooperation achieved under the previous Joint Way Forward on Migration Issues, which expired earlier in April.

In line with the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, which places particular emphasis on strengthening partnerships between the EU and countries of origin and transit, the Joint Declaration brings significant improvements based on lessons learned from the implementation of the Joint Way Forward, including: a preference for the voluntary return of Afghan nationals, better protection of children, clearer definition of certain vulnerable groups, and a clarification that all EU Member States may participate in joint return operations by non-scheduled flights.

NATO faces multifaceted threats

Brussels 14.06.2021 “…We face multifaceted threats, systemic competition from assertive and authoritarian powers, as well as growing security challenges to our countries and our citizens from all strategic directions” reads the Brussels Summit Communiqué Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels 14 June 2021.

“Russia’s aggressive actions constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security; terrorism in all its forms and manifestations remains a persistent threat to us all. State and non-state actors challenge the rules-based international order and seek to undermine democracy across the globe. Instability beyond our borders is also contributing to irregular migration and human trafficking. China’s growing influence and international policies can present challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance”.

“We will engage China with a view to defending the security interests of the Alliance. We are increasingly confronted by cyber, hybrid, and other asymmetric threats, including disinformation campaigns, and by the malicious use of ever-more sophisticated emerging and disruptive technologies. Rapid advances in the space domain are affecting our security”.

“The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the erosion of the arms control architecture also undermine our collective security. Climate change is a threat multiplier that impacts Alliance security. The greatest responsibility of the Alliance is to protect and defend our territories and our populations against attack, and we will address all threats and challenges which affect Euro-Atlantic security…”

NATO-Russia: dual track approach

Brussels 14.06.2021 “…Today I really look forward to welcoming all the NATO Leaders to our summit. We meet at a pivotal moment for our Alliance. And today we will open a new chapter in our transatlantic relations.
The Leaders will discuss a wide range of issues, among them Russia” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said ahead of the Summit.

“Our relationship with Russia is at its lowest point since the end of the Cold War. This is due to Russia’s aggressive actions. I am confident that the NATO Leaders will confirm our dual track approach to Russia: strong defence combined with dialogue. I’m sure that the NATO Leaders will welcome the opportunity to consult with President Biden ahead of his meeting with President Putin”.

https://twitter.com/jensstoltenberg/status/1404346633249247235?s=20 .

“We will also address China. There are of course opportunities and we need to engage with China on issues like climate change, arms control.But China’s military build-up, growing influence and coercive behaviour also poses some challenges to our security. We need to address them together as an Alliance.

“On this background, NATO Leaders will today agree an ambitious forward-looking agenda, the NATO 2030 agenda.
This is about how to reinforce our collective defence, how to strengthen our resilience, and sharpen our technological edge. And for the first time in NATO’s history, also make climate and security an important task for our Alliance. To do all of this, we need to resource our higher level of ambition.Therefore we need to invest more. I welcome that we are on a good track. We now have seven consecutive years of increased defence spending across European Allies and Canada. And these Allies have added in total 260 billion extra US dollars for defence.

“I am also confident that NATO Leaders will agree to invest more together, to meet our higher level of ambition. This is a force-multiplier and it demonstrates the unity of our Alliance.
So all together I’m absolutely certain that the decisions we will make today, they will send a strong message of unity, of resolve and that we are making NATO stronger in an age of global competition”.

EU-US Summit on 15 June

Brussels 06.06.2021 The EU and US leaders are expected to address a wide range of issues of common concern, including COVID-19, climate, trade and investment, foreign affairs, and common values. The EU will be represented by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. The US will be represented by President Joe Biden.

Representatives from Washington and Brussels met in the Belgian capital on Wednesday,June 2, to reaffirm the strength of the EU-US partnership on foreign policy and security issues.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Stefano Sannino, secretary general of the European External Action Service, met as the Biden administration seeks to reassure European allies after the transatlantic relationship took a battering under former president Donald Trump.

Sannino and Sharman called the upcoming summit “as an important step in the revitalized transatlantic partnership.”

Presidents of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and European Council Charles Michel will host US President Joe Biden in Brussels, however Biden will participate at a NATO leaders’ summit in Brussels a day earlier.

The leaders are expected to hold talks on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, trade and regulatory policies, as well as various foreign policy questions at the summit.

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will travel to the United Kingdom and Belgium in June 2021. This will be the first overseas travel by President Biden. This trip will highlight his commitment to restoring our alliances, revitalizing the Transatlantic relationship, and working in close cooperation with our allies and multilateral partners to address global challenges and better secure America’s interests.

President Biden will attend the G7 Summit in Cornwall, U.K., which is happening from June 11-13, where he will reinforce our commitment to multilateralism, work to advance key U.S. policy priorities on public health, economic recovery, and climate change, and demonstrate solidarity and shared values among major democracies. He will also hold bilateral meetings with fellow G7 leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

From the United Kingdom the President will travel to Brussels, Belgium, where he will participate in the NATO Summit on June 14. President Biden will affirm the United States’ commitment to NATO, Transatlantic security, and collective defense. NATO leaders will discuss how to orient the Alliance to future threats and ensure effective burden sharing. The President will also hold bilateral meetings with fellow NATO leaders.

While in Brussels President Biden will participate in a U.S.–EU Summit, which will underscore our commitment to a strong Transatlantic partnership based on shared interests and values. The leaders will discuss a common agenda to ensure global health security, stimulate global economic recovery, tackle climate change, enhance digital and trade cooperation, strengthen democracy, and address mutual foreign policy concerns.

We look forward to having further details to share about this trip soon, including potential additional elements.

EU-Switzerland breakaway

Brussels 26.05.2021 Switzerland cancels ratification of framework agreement with EU. “Based on the results of negotiations in recent months, the Federal Council has determined that the talks with the EU … “haven’t led to the necessary solutions,” said Swiss President Guy Parmelin. (Image above: Geneva, Switzerland).

After months and months of uncertainty, the Federal Council has decided to pull the plug. “Substantial differences” remain between Switzerland and the EU “concerning central areas of the agreement,” said the Swiss government. The conditions necessary for the conclusion of the agreement are therefore not met: end of negotiations. The Federal Council, however, asked the Federal Department of Justice and Police to assess how bilateral relations could be stabilised by means of “autonomous adaptations” of Swiss law. Discussions with Brussels are not about to end.

“Discussions with the EU have not resulted in the solutions Switzerland needs with regard to the directive on the rights of citizens of the Union, wage protection and state aid. Substantial differences remain, above all as regards the protection of wages and the directive on the rights of citizens of the Union “. It is therefore over for the institutional agreement.

MEPs May plenary agenda

Brussels 13.05.2021 MEPs are set to approve the new Erasmus+ programme, funding for the transition to a green economy and support for the cultural sector during the 17-20 May plenary.
Outside plenary, negotiators from the Parliament, Council and Commission will meet to thrash out a deal on a Covid-19 certificate to make it easier for people to travel in the EU this summer. The EU certificate would show that someone had been vaccinated, recovered from or had a negative Covid test.

Parliament will consider a proposal to waive intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines.

Parliament will vote on the new €26 billion Erasmus+ programme for 2021-2027, allowing significantly more people to benefit from learning and mobility, including people living with a disability, those living in poverty or in a remote location and migrants.

MEPs are also expected to approve the Just Transition Fund, a €17.5 billion package to help European regions move to a green economy. It can help finance a range of support for micro-enterprises and research institutions to job-seeking assistance and reskilling.

The cultural sector has been hit had by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Creative Europe programme will bring €2.2 billion in investment to the cultural and creative sector, including support for the live music sector..
Members are set to adopt the European Solidarity Corps programme for 2021-2027, supporting volunteering activities for young people in the EU and beyond.

MEPs will discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after some of the worst clashes in years took place in recent days.
Parliament’s proposals for decarbonising Europe’s energy system, industry and transport sector will be presented during the May plenary. MEPs say hydrogen produced from renewable sources is key to achieving climate neutrality.
MEPs will be calling for new legal options for people outside the EU to work here to fill shortfalls in the EU job market, in order to help reduce irregular migration. In addition, they will vote on a report criticising the EU and some EU countries for overusing informal agreements on the return and readmission of irregular migrants.

Parliament will call for more support for digital innovation and the use of artificial intelligence in a resolution on Europe’s digital future.

Strasbourg #EPlenary to be held remotely

Brussels 15.10.2020 “I regret to announce that next week’s plenary will not take place in Strasbourg, but will be held remotely” David Sassoli announced on his Twitter micro blog.

“The situation in France and Belgium is very serious and travelling is not advised” he added.
However “Strasbourg remains the home of the European Parliament, and we will do everything we can to return”.

President Macron will impose a 9pm-6am curfew for Paris and eight other big French cities from Saturday, October 17, in an attempt to contain a “second wave” coronavirus outbreak that has spread across Europe.

During the announcement on October 14 President Macron ensured his compatriots, that the exceptional measure will last four weeks, with a possibility of prolongation until December 1. There are fines of 135 euro and 1500 euro foreseen for “non-respect” of the curfew. The popularity of President Macron has dropped almost 40% after the announcement, because the effectiveness of this extreme restrictive measure is not understood.

On contrary, to European continental restrictive and punitive measures, in countries like Sweden, where the accent was made on a dialog with the citizens, and educational strategy, the COVID-19 is largely in the past.

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