The NATO-Russia Council, which brings together all 29 NATO Allies and Russia, met in Brussels on Friday July 5 to discuss Ukraine, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), and transparency and risk reduction. This was the second meeting of the NATO-Russia Council this year. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who chaired the meeting, said: “Our discussion was frank but necessary. Allies and Russia hold fundamentally different views but we are committed to continuing our dialogue.”
“Outcome of the Russia–NATO Council meeting: It is the choice and decision of the American side, which has refused the concrete and realistic measures of mutual transparency that we had proposed to alleviate concerns that have piled up” Russian mission to NATO wrote in Twitter micro blog after the meeting. The detailed comments have been published on the Facebook page of the mission:
“The NRC meeting on July 5 focused on the security situation in Europe in the context of US announced withdrawal from the INF Treaty on August 2. The Russian Side indicated that attempts to shift the blame on Russia for the demise of the INF were unjustified. It is the choice and decision of the American side, which has refused the concrete and realistic measures of mutual transparency that we had proposed to alleviate concerns that have piled up. We drew the attention to real risks of further aggravating military and political situation in Europe. The Russian Side noted the need to exercise restraint. We confirmed that in our planning of the steps to ensure the interests of Russia’s military security in the context of the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty we are not intended to deploy corresponding missile systems in Europe and other regions unless the US intermediate- and shorter-range missiles are deployed there. We called on NATO countries to make the same statement”.
The EU member-states are striving for an agreement on the European Union’s top jobs by July 2, by the day of the new European Parliament constitution – in the attempt of avoiding an institutional crisis, the European diplomats say.
The diplomats doubt if the a deal can be reached at the Summit, pointing to a disagreement between Berlin and Paris over a German candidate Manfred Weber’s bid to take over the job of the President of the Commission later this year.
The five top executive positions are to be attributed to start a new political cycle.
European Council President Donald Tusk said that he was “cautiously optimistic” that EU leaders would agree on candidates to hold the bloc’s top jobs when they meet in Brussels on June 20.
“I remain cautiously optimistic, as those I have spoken to have expressed determination to decide swiftly. I hope we can make it on Thursday” Tusk said.
The top jobs include the successors for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU chief diplomat Federica Mogherini, the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt Mario Draghi, and Donald Tusk, the President of the EU Council.
Following an European election end May, the new European parliament is due to gather in Strasbourg for the first time on July 2 and should then elect its new president for 2019-24.
President Emmanuel Macron’s candidate to lead a new centrist alliance in the European Parliament Nathalie Loiseau said on she was pulling out of the race, in a defiance to French government influence in the parliamenEt.
Nathalie Loiseau was quoted by Belgian newspapers disparaging allies in Renew Europe, formed by Macron’s party and the liberal ALDE, and adding she intends a sweeping overhaul of the group, the third biggest in the European Parliament.
Loiseau was quoted in Le Soir calling ALDE’s longtime leader Guy Verhofstadt “an old git with pent-up frustrations” and branding the conservative European People’s party candidate for Commission president an “ectoplasm”.
Loiseau described the comments, made during an off-record briefing to journalists in Brussels, as “pure fiction” but their leak damaged her credibility just as competition for the leadership intensified. And according to her own words she preferred to renounce her ambition to lead the group.
After the European Parliament elections EU heads of state or government will meet for a summit on 28 May 2019 in Brussels.
They will discuss the outcome of the vote and launch the procedure of the nomination process for the heads of the EU institutions.
“Naturally, this process will follow the rules set down in the Treaties. It should reflect geographical balance as well as demography, so that both large and smaller countries are represented in the highest positions in the EU.”
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council
President Tusk, who announced the meeting after the summit in Sibiu, stressed that he would like the European Council to nominate the new EU leaders in June 2019.
“President Juncker followed Prime Minister Theresa May‘s announcement this morning –without personal joy. He will respect and establish working relations with any new Prime Minister, whomever they may be – without stopping his conversations with Theresa May“, said the European Commission spokesperson, while announcing the reaction on the resignation during midday briefing for Brussels press corps.
The top EU negotiator Michel Barnier expressed his “full respect” to Theresa May for her determination to achieve orderly Brexit.
The resignation was announced in Prime Minister emotional statement, pointing out that she profoundly regrets failure to reach Brexit deal compromise, leading to orderly departure from the EU.
In June British Prime Minister Theresa May will undertake one more effort to receive the endorsement for her Brexit deal from the Westminster before the summer break, setting a new deadline for her exit from the EU plan and a potential timetable for her own departure.
Brexit had been due to take place on March 29, but May government was unable to get her departure deal (WA) approved by the House of Commons, which rejected the so-called Withdrawal Agreement (WA) three times. As a crisis response the EU offered delay to 31 October, an absolute deadline before the start of a new institutional cycle: from November onward the procedure of the appointment of new European commissioners should start. According to the EU Treaty the UK will be obliged to appoint a Commissioner to Brussels if it is still a member of the European Union by November 2019.
The NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, will meet the incumbent President of Ukraine, H.E. Mr. Petro Poroshenko, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.”There will be no media opportunity” the spokesperson informs via Twitter micro blog.
At present, leading areas of cooperation focus on counter-terrorism, defence against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agents, the development of advanced technologies, and the detection and clearance of unexploded ordnance and mines.
Furthermore, in the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Platform on Countering Hybrid Warfare, the SPS Programme assists a joint initiative from Ukraine and Lithuania to develop an early warning system to counter hybrid threats. An event will take place in Vilnius in April 2019 to make recommendations and provide a way ahead.
Over 33 activities with Ukraine are ongoing, which makes the country the biggest beneficiary of NATO’s SPS Programme.
“One of the current flagship projects is called ‘Dexter,”said Dr Deniz Yüksel-Beten, Senior SPS and Partnerships Cooperation Advisor at NATO. “It aims to develop a system to detect explosives and firearms in public spaces, remotely and in real time, without disrupting the flow of passengers,” she added.
Through another project, Ukrainian and Italian scientists are developing a new type of crystal sensors to detect CBRN agents, which can be used to support counter-terrorism measures.