“Following the latest announcement by Turkish Authorities that the drilling ship Yavuz is going to be dispatched for a new drilling operation, the EU recalls its position concerning Turkey’s illegal drilling activities in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone” reads the statement of the European External Action Service spokesperson.
“Concrete steps towards creating an environment conducive to dialogue in good faith are needed. The intention by Turkey to launch further exploration and drilling activities in the wider region goes, regrettably, in the opposite direction.
“The international law of the sea, the principle of good neighbourly relations and the sovereignty and sovereign rights over the maritime zones of all Member States have to be respected. All members of the international community must abide by these principles and should refrain from any actions undermining regional stability and security.
This week the European Council adopted a framework for restrictive measures in response to Turkey‘s unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. The framework will make it possible to sanction individuals or entities responsible for or involved in unauthorised drilling activities of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The sanctions will consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities will be forbidden from making funds available to those listed.
“Turkey’s declared intention to illegally conduct a new drilling operation northeast of Cyprus is of grave concern. This second planned drilling operation, two months after the start of the ongoing drilling operations west of Cyprus, is a further unacceptable escalation which violates the sovereignty of Cyprus” says the text of the statement by EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini on Turkey’s new drilling operation northeast of Cyprus.
“We call on the Turkish authorities, once again, to refrain from such actions, act in a spirit of good neighbourliness and respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus in accordance with international law.”
“Recalling the conclusions of the European Council on 20 June 2019, Turkey’s continued actions have a serious negative impact across the range of EU-Turkey relations. As mandated by the European Council, the Commission and the EEAS are about to present options to the Council for appropriate measures. The European Union will respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus.”
Cyprus condemned Turkey‘s second attempt to drill for oil and gas in waters off the island, after the EU warned Ankara to stop its “illegal” activities or face sanctions.
“The Cypriot government condemns in the strongest terms the new illegal Turkish drilling in the east of Cyprus” the authorities said.
Bulgaria plans to end practice offering wealthy foreigners to obtain citizenship against investment, the justice ministry said on the 22 of January, adding the scheme had failed to bring any significant economic benefits.
The legal changes come a day after the media reports about the European Commission plans to warn against such an application schemes, which could be used by foreign organized crime groups to infiltrate the EU. It also increases the risk of money laundering, emblazonment, corruption and tax evasion.
Bulgaria is one of three EU countries, along with Cyprus and Malta, that currently grant citizenship against investment. The other 20 member states, including these three, also offer the resident permits on similar conditions.
The European Commission will warn against selling the EU citizenship or residence to wealthy individuals, which could help foreign organized crime groups infiltrate the bloc and increase the risk of money laundering, corruption and tax evasion.
The warnings are included in a draft report that is expected to be published on January 23 by the European Union’s executive, according to Reuters.
Although individuals who purchase citizenship and residence in EU states can do it for legitimate reasons, the commission said the schemes posed “risks of infiltration of non-EU organized crime groups in the economy, money laundering, corruption and tax evasion.”
Malta (pictured), Cyprus and Bulgaria are the countries practicing attraction of wealth in exchange of the citizenship.
The issue of granting EU citizenship is regularity under fire of criticism, while countries issue passports to individuals in spite of their criminal records.
The EU-Turkey leaders’ meeting will take place on 26 March at the Evksinograd residence in Varna, Bulgaria.
It will bring together Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, Boyko Borissov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria (pictured), and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey.
This working dinner will be an occasion to assess matters of mutual interest and recent developments in Turkey, including the country’s illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea and its involvement in Syria.
At their last EU summit on 22-23 March, EU leaders called on Turkey to respect Cyprus’ sovereign rights to explore and exploit its natural resources, in line with EU and international law.
They also recalled Turkey‘s obligation to respect international law and good neighbourly relations, and normalize relations with all EU member states including the Republic of Cyprus.
Furthermore, the European Union expressed its grave concern over the continued detention of EU citizens in Turkey. It called for the swift and positive resolution of these issues.
The EU Commission is legally obliged to take measures temporarily reintroducing visa requirements for US citizens, given that Washington still does not grant visa-free access to nationals of five EU countries. In a resolution approved on Thursday, MEPs urge the Commission to adopt the necessary legal measures “within two months”.
The text prepared by the Civil Liberties Committee was adopted by a show of hands.
Citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania still cannot enter US territory without a visa, while US citizens can travel to all EU countries visa-free.
According to the visa reciprocity mechanism, if a third country does not lift its visa requirements within 24 months of being notified of non-reciprocity, the EU Commission must adopt a delegated act – to which both Parliament and the Council may object – suspending the visa waiver for its nationals for 12 months.
Following a notification of non-reciprocity on 12 April 2014, the Commission should have acted before 12 April 2016 but it has yet to take any legal measure. Canada also imposes visa requirements on Bulgarian and Romanian citizens, but it has announced that they will be lifted on 1 December 2017.