Tag Archives: Charles Michel

Belarus suspends Eastern Partnership

Brussels 28.06.2021 “Belarus has taken another step backwards today by suspending its participation in the Eastern Partnership” the EU Council President Charles Michel (pictured) wrote on his Twitter micro blog page.
“This will escalate tensions further and have a clear negative impact on the people of Belarus by depriving them of opportunities provided by our cooperation” he added.

The head of the European Union’s Delegation to Belarus Dirk Schuebel was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today. The diplomats have informed him about the steps Belarus has been “forced to take” in response to the “unprecedented restrictive measures” imposed on the country by the EU.

Belarus has suspended its participation in the Eastern Partnership initiative of the European Union, the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on its website on 28 June.

EU-US: transatlantic partnership renewed

Brussels 15.06.2021 The EU-US summit on 15 June 2021 marked the beginning of a renewed transatlantic partnership and set a joint agenda for EU-US cooperation in the post-pandemic era. The leaders committed to regular dialogue to take stock of progress.

Key summit deliverables include three major new trade initiatives. The leaders agreed to:
– create a Cooperative Framework for Large Civil Aircraft;
– engage in discussions to resolve differences on measures regarding steel and aluminium by the end of the year;
– establish an EU-US Trade and Technology Council;
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, represented the EU. President Joe Biden represented the United States. It was the first EU-US summit since 2014 and the first visit by a US President to the EU institutions since 2017.
At the end of the summit, the leaders adopted a joint statement.

The European Union and the United States represent 780 million people who share democratic values and the largest economic relationship in the world. We have a chance and a responsibility to help people make a living and keep them safe and secure, fight climate change, and stand up for democracy and human rights. We laid the foundations of the world economy and the rules-based international order after World War II based on openness, fair competition, transparency and accountability. Some of the rules need an update: to protect our health, our climate and planet, to ensure democracy delivers and technology improves our lives.

“We, the leaders of the European Union and the United States, met today to renew our Transatlantic partnership, set a Joint Transatlantic Agenda for the post-pandemic era, and commit to regular dialogue to take stock of progress.

“Together, we intend to: (i) end the COVID-19 pandemic, prepare for future global health challenges, and drive forward a sustainable global recovery; (ii) protect our planet and foster green growth; (iii) strengthen trade, investment and technological cooperation; and (iv) build a more democratic, peaceful and secure world. We are committed to uphold the rules-based international order with the United Nations at its core, reinvigorate and reform multilateral institutions where needed, and cooperate with all those who share these objectives”.

EU leaders heading G7 Cornwall

Brussels 10.06.2021 The G7 summit hosted by this year’s UK G7 presidency will take place from 11 to 13 June in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, UK.

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 UK has invited leaders from Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa to attend part of the meeting as guest countries.

At the end of the summit, the leaders are expected to adopt a leaders’ communiqué.

The UK Presidency’s overarching theme is ‘Building Back Better’ from the pandemic. This will be reflected in all six working sessions.

“On 11-13 June, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel and the President of the
European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will represent the EU at the 46th G7 Summit hosted
by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.
This will be the first G7 Summit since the 2019 summit in Biarritz.
The summit comes after the G20 Global Health Summit and just before the EU-US Summit on 15
June. It will provide an impetus for the G20 Summit in October, the UN COP15 on Biodiversity in
October, the COP26 on Climate Change in November and the World Trade Organisation
Ministerial Conference in December.
As societies and economies guided by shared values, G7 leaders will commit to beating COVID-19
and tackle the recovery to ensure a more resilient international order.
The UK’s Presidency’s overarching theme this year is ‘Building Back Better’ from the pandemic.
This theme will be reflected in the six working sessions taking place between Friday 11 June and
Sunday 13 June”.

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-Japan online SUmmit

Bruxelles 27.05.2021 EU-Japan summit has take place via video conference, 27 May 2021.The EU was represented by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Japan has been represented by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. (Image above: Japan, urban landscape).

The leaders adopted a joint statement: ‘… Defeating the COVID-19 pandemic remains our highest priority. We view the vaccination process not as a race between countries but a race against time. Recognising extensive
immunisation as a global public good, we support universal, equitable and affordable access to
safe, effective and quality-assured COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and treatments, as well as
the strengthening of health systems. To this end, we have made substantial contributions to the
Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and its COVAX facility and are making efforts to
expand production of vaccines and other COVID-19 health products across the world. We will
also cooperate for the success of the COVAX AMC Summit on 2 June to be co-hosted by Japan
and Gavi. We welcome the EU’s leading role as a supplier of vaccines globally, including to
Japan. We will work towards the expansion of vaccine production and keeping supply chains
open and we call for refraining from unnecessary export and travel restrictions. We will work
also to restore visa waiver reciprocity. We support the holding of the Olympic and Paralympic
Games Tokyo 2020 in a safe and secure manner this summer as a symbol of global unity in
defeating COVID-19″.

We are determined to harness the benefits of data and digital transformation for society, the
environment and the economy, while upholding fundamental rights. We will collaborate to
promote global standards and comprehensive, including regulatory, approaches for digital
policies and technologies, notably on cybersecurity, secure 5G, “Beyond 5G” / 6G technologies,
block chain, and safe and ethical applications of artificial intelligence while encouraging an
innovative environment. This collaboration will also cover open and interoperable network
architectures. We underline our joint commitment to high standards of protection for personal
data, based on the already high degree of convergence between our systems. We undertake to
continue cooperation on “Data Free Flow with Trust” with a view to facilitating safe and secure
cross-border data flows through enhancing security and privacy. This will help us harness the
benefits of the digital economy. We will strive to reach a consensus-based solution on digital
taxation by mid-2021 within the OECD. We will work on strengthening EU-Japan digital
cooperation to support an inclusive, sustainable, human-centric digital transformation”.

Remarks by President Charles Michel after the EU-Japan summit via video conference
The EU and Japan are united in their cooperation based on shared values and principles, including freedom, respect for human rights, democracy, the rule of law, free and fair trade, effective multilateralism and the rules-based international order. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the EU-Japan strategic partnership.

Belarus: Borrell demands investigation

Brussels 24.05.2021 Top EU diplomat Josep Borrell called for an international investigation after Belarus forced a Ryanair passenger jet to land in Minsk, in an apparent effort to arrest an activist journalist.
“In carrying out this coercive act, the Belarusian authorities have jeopardised the safety of passengers and crew,” Borrell said in a statement issued on Monday, May 24, the following day after the incident.

“An international investigation into this incident must be carried out to ascertain any breach of international aviation rules,” the statement went on.

The Belarusian Transport Ministry on Monday announced it had set up a commission to carry out its own investigation into the forced landing and would publish the results soon, according to a report by the Russian RIA news agency.

EU to discuss incident at summit
The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, said EU leaders will discuss the incident at an EU summit beginning on Monday, adding that the affair would not remain “without consequences.”

Michel called on the Belarusian authorities to immediately release the detained passenger – the 26-year-old journalist Roman Protasevich who worked for Poland-based online news service NEXTA, which broadcast footage of protests against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (pictured) last year during presidential elections mass protests.

An EU spokesman said the leaders would discuss “possible sanctions” on Belarus. High-level officials in the country have already been sanctioned by the bloc over the brutal repression of the opposition, protesters and journalists following disputed elections in August 2020. More than 34,000 people have been arrested in the country since August, and thousands have been brutally mistreated.

Protasevich was traveling by commercial airline RyanAir from Athens to Vilnius, Lithuania, when the Belarusian air force sent a fighter jet. The flight, on Irish airline Ryanair, was diverted and escorted to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where the millennial opposition figure was taken into custody.

Protasevich was returning to Vilnius from an economic conference in Greece with Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Greek officials said.

The flight, which had been carrying some 170 passengers, should have taken about three hours. As it approached the border between Belarus and Lithuania, a MiG-29 fighter jet was scrambled to intercept it.

Lukashenko, who is often referred to as “Europe’s last dictator,” personally ordered the fighter jet MiG29 to escort the Ryanair plane to the Minsk airport after a bomb threat alert, his press service said. According to the statement, Lukashenko, an ally of President Vladimir Putin of Russia, gave an “unequivocal order” to “make the plane do a U-turn and land.”

EU supports WHO PANDEMIC TREATY

Brussels 20.05.2021 The Council adopted today a decision to support the launch of negotiations for an international treaty on the fight against pandemics. The World Health Assembly, the main governing body of the WHO, is expected to back the establishment of a process for a Framework Convention on Pandemic Preparedness and Response during its (virtual) meeting which starts on 24 May. The proposal for an international treaty on pandemics was first announced by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, at the Paris Peace Forum in November 2020. (Image above: Brussels).

The objective of the Council decision is to assure the participation of the EU in the negotiations addressing matters falling within Union competence, in view of the Union’s possible accession to the treaty.

The proposal to conclude a treaty on pandemics is discussed in the context of international efforts to reinforce global health security, in particular on preparedness and response to health emergencies, in light of lessons learnt from the pandemic.

At the European Council of 25 February 2021 EU leaders underlined the need for global multilateral cooperation to adress current and future health threats and agreed to work on an international treaty on pandemics within the WHO framework and to advance global health security.

On 30 March 2021, leaders from all around the world joined the President of the European Council and the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in an open call for an international treaty on pandemics.

The European Union has an informal observer status at the WHO.

Ceuta: Spanish borders are EU borders

Brussels 18.05.2021 The European Council President Charles Michel expressed “full solidarity” with Spain after holding urgent talks with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who cancelled his trip to Paris to address with what he has described a “serious crisis” for both the Iberian country and the EU.

European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told the European Parliament that the influx on Monday, May 17, was unprecedented, reportedly among six thousand arrivals about 1,500 are claiming to be minors.

“It is worrying that at least 6,000 people, a big number of them children, have been swimming to Ceuta, putting their life in danger. Many had to be rescued. One person died,” Johansson said.

“…A big number of them children, have been swimming to Ceuta. Putting their life in danger. Many had to be rescued. One person died. The most important thing now is that Morocco continues to commit to prevent irregular departures and that those that do not have the right to stay are orderly and effectively returned.
Spanish borders are European borders. The European Union wants to build a relationship with Morocco based on trust and shared commitments. Migration is a key element in this regard I am following this very closely together with the High Representative / Vice President Josep Borrell, and Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi
and of course, with the Spanish authorities”.

“We cannot rely on third countries to prevent irregular migration anymore! We need to finally start protecting our own borders and return irregular migrants immediately! THIS is what you call border protection, not asking other countries politely to prevent migrants to depart!” the Member of the European Parliament Bernhard Zimniok (AfD, Germany) tweeted in response to the Commissioner Johansson.

#Sofagate: Junker clarifies

Brussels 08.04.2021 European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was left without a seat, and had to sit on a nearby sofa, as the bloc’s leaders met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Only two chairs were set up for the meeting, which involved Ursula von der Leyen, President Erdogan, and EU Council President Charles Michel.

When consulted by Politico Magazine the former EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that when he travelled with the European Council presidents during his term at the helm of the Commission, it was “clear for everyone that, from a protocol point of view, the president of the Council is No. 1, and the president of the Commission is No. 2.”

“When I was traveling with Tusk or Van Rompuy, I always respected that protocol order,” Juncker told POLITICO in a phone interview, referring to the two former Council presidents. “Normally I had a chair next to the chair of the president of the Council, but sometimes it happened that I was sitting on a sofa.”

Nevertheless, the former Commission chief suggested that von der Leyen could have been treated differently.

“I think it would have been better to have her sitting at the same level” as Michel, “but from a protocol point of view the president of the Council is No. 1.”

Asked if he believes the episode in Ankara merits a controversy, the former president was dismissive.

Some critics of President Erdogan have underlined that he is not arranging the protocol himself, and officially the President of the European Commission is the fourth in the line after the President of the European Parliament, the President of the Council (Charles Michel), the President of the rotating presidency, now Portugal, and finally the boss of all the civil servants – Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commmission.

EU-Russia: “many disagreements”

Brussels 22.03.2021 With a view to the European Council meeting of 25 and 26 March a phone call between the President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin took place on Monday 22 March 2021.

The Presidents discussed relations between the EU and Russia.

President Michel expressed the view that EU-Russia ties are at a low point and confirmed the EU’s approach of the five guiding principles, based on the EU’s core values.

There is currently disagreement in many areas.

From the EU perspective, the relationship with Russia can only take a different direction if there is sustained progress on issues like the implementation of the Minsk agreements, stopping hybrid and cyber-attacks on Member States and respect for human rights. In this context Alexey Navalny’s case was raised. Charles Michel reiterated the EU’s call on the Russian authorities to release Mr Navalny and proceed with a transparent investigation into the assassination attempt on him.
The leaders also exchanged views on the Covid pandemic, on vaccines and on regional and global issues.

Kremlin readout: “Taking into account the upcoming discussion at the European Council meeting on March 25-26 of the problems of relations between Russia and the EU, Charles Michel touched upon a number of issues concerning the current state of affairs and the prospects for dialogue between Moscow and Brussels.

Vladimir Putin assessed the unsatisfactory state of Russian-EU ties, which has developed due to the non-constructive, sometimes confrontational line of partners. The Russian side emphasized its readiness to restore a normal, depoliticized format of interaction with the European Union, if a real reciprocal interest is shown in this.

The issues of combating the coronavirus pandemic were also touched upon, in particular the possibility of using the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, the political settlement of the internal Ukrainian conflict, the situation in Belarus and some other topical issues”.

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