Tag Archives: EEAS

Crimea: EU stands for Ukraine territorial integrity

“Continued efforts by the Russian Federation to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, with further attempts to forcibly integrate the illegally-annexed Crimea and Sevastopol into Russia, represent a violation of international law” reads the statement by the European External Actions Service (EEAS) spokesperson on recent developments in the Crimean peninsula.

“The recent keel-laying ceremony of two assault ships in Kerch is yet another clear step in the ongoing militarisation of the peninsula, with a considerable negative impact on regional security in the Black Sea.

“Another concern is the latest restrictions of the freedom of movement for Ukrainian citizens to and from the Crimean peninsula. Access to mainland Ukraine and the right to return to the place of residence has to be granted unconditionally and should not require a Russian passport.

“The European Union continues to expect Russia to stop all violations of international law in the Crimean peninsula. The European Union is unwavering in its support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders”.

Two latest universal amphibious assault ships were laid down for the first time at the Zaliv Shipyard in Kerch, Crimea, on July 20.
The ceremony was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin who attached the keel-laying plaque to the Project’s first ship.

“Today three leading Russian shipyards are simultaneously laying down six new ocean-going ships. Here, in Kerch, these are two universal amphibious assault ships. At the Severnaya Shipyard in St. Petersburg, these are two frigates and at the Sevmash Shipyard in Severodvinsk, these are two nuclear-powered underwater cruisers,” the President said.

Venezuela cancels EU Ambassador eviction

“The Ministry of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the European Union’s External Action Service inform the international community that today, the Venezuelan Minister of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs, Jorge Arreaza, and the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, held a phone conversation in which they agreed on the need to maintain the framework of diplomatic relations, especially at times when cooperation between both parties can facilitate the path of political dialogue” reads the text of the statement of the Euroepan External Action Service (EEAS) attributed to a spokesperson.

“Consequently, the Venezuelan Government decided to rescind the decision taken on June 29, 2020, by which Ambassador Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa, Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Caracas, was declared persona non grata.

“They both agreed to promote diplomatic contacts between the parties at the highest level, within the framework of sincere cooperation and respect for international law”.

Ukraine National Bank independence in jeopardy

“Establishing a strong and independent National Bank has been a fundamental achievement for Ukraine, and remains crucial to the country’s future success. Over the past years, the National Bank of Ukraine has taken bold and much needed steps to ensure Ukraine’s macro-financial stability and facilitate a sustainable economic recovery. The Bank’s policies have served the Ukrainian economy and Ukrainian people well, by stabilising the national currency, reducing inflation and increasing foreign reserves, restructuring the entire banking sector and recovering assets lost in cases of bank fraud” reads the text of the statement of the European External Action Service, attributed to the spokesperson.

“The announcement of the resignation of the Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, Yakiv Smolii, against the backdrop of alleged political pressure sends a worrying signal. The Bank must maintain its ability to fulfil its role independently. Undermining this important institution jeopardises the credibility of and support for Ukraine’s reform agenda.

“Ukraine’s path to reform is challenging, in particular in the current exceptional circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic. The European Union will continue to support Ukraine in the implementation of much needed reforms, and counts on the Ukrainian authorities to maintain their level of commitment”.

EEAS senior diplomatic appointments

Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, announced today senior appointments in the European External Action Service (EEAS) in headquarters:

Joanneke BALFOORT as Director for Security and Defence Policy. She was previously Ambassador of the Netherlands to the EU Political and Security Committee.

Angelina EICHHORST as Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia. She was previously EEAS Director, Deputy Managing Director Western Europe, Western Balkans, Turkey and United Kingdom.

Carl HALLERGARD, as Director, Deputy Managing Director Middle East and North Africa. He was previously Deputy Head of Delegation to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva.

Javier NIÑO PEREZ as Director, Deputy Managing Director Americas. He was previously Head of the EEAS United States and Canada Division.

Josep Borrell also announced today senior nominations in the EEAS in EU Delegations in the world, who will be formally appointed following receipt of their respective agréments by the host country:

Andreas VON BRANDT has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Afghanistan. He is currently Deputy Director in the Cabinet of the NATO Secretary General.

Birgitte MARKUSSEN has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the African Union. She is currently EEAS Director, Deputy Managing Director Africa.

Jeannette SEPPEN has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Angola. She is currently Senior Civilian Representative to the EMASoH mission (European-led Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz).

Malgorzata WASILEWSKA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM. She is currently the Head of the EU Delegation to Jamaica.

Irchad RAZAALY has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. He is currently Head of the EEAS West Africa Division.

León DE LA TORRE KRAIS has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Chile. He is currently Head of the EU Delegation to Bolivia.

Charles-Michel GEURTS has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Ecuador. He is currently Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Indonesia.

Christian BERGER has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt. He is currently Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey.

Thomas PEYKER has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Guatemala. He is currently Adviser, Senior Inspector in the EEAS Inspection Division.

Jaume SEGURA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Honduras. He is currently Political Counsellor in the Embassy of Spain in Mexico.

Thomas GNOCCHI has been nominated as Head of the EU Office to Hong Kong and Macao. He is currently Deputy Head of the EEAS Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Division.

Lucie SAMCOVA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Iceland. She is currently Deputy Head of the EEAS Migration and Human Security Division.

Marianne VAN STEEN has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Jamaica, Belize, Turks and Caicos Islands, Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. She is currently Head of the EU Delegation to Ecuador.

Maria CASTILLO FERNANDEZ has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Korea. She is currently Head of the EU Delegation to Malaysia.

Thomas SZUNYOG has been nominated as Head of the EU Office in Kosovo. He is currently Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the Political and Security Committee of the European Union.

Ina MARCIULIONYTE has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. She is currently Ambassador of Lithuania to China, Thailand, Korea, Mongolia, Vietnam and Myanmar.

Laurent DELAHOUSSE has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Liberia. He is currently Special Envoy for Public Diplomacy in Africa, Department for Africa and the Indian Ocean, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Paris, France.

Jose SABADELL has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Libya. He is currently Director of Policy Planning in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain.

Michalis ROKAS has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Malaysia. He is currently the Head of the EEAS Support to Delegations Division.

Oana Cristina POPA has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro. She is currently the Ambassador of Romania to Serbia.

Ranieri SABATUCCI has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Myanmar. He is currently Head of the EU Delegation to the African Union.

Nona DEPREZ has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Nepal. She is currently Head of the FPI Partnership Instrument Division, European Commission.

David GEER has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of North Macedonia. He is currently Head of the EEAS Sanctions Policy Division.

Alexandra VALKENBURG has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to The Holy See, Order of Malta, UN Organisations in Rome and to the Republic of San Marino. She is currently Ambassador of the Netherlands to Cuba and Jamaica.

Patrick SIMONNET has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Sultanate of Oman. He is currently Head of the EEAS Horn of Africa, East Africa Division.

Christian BADER has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to South Sudan. He is currently Ambassador, Special Adviser to the Director of the Crisis and Support Centre, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Petros MAVROMICHALIS has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. He is currently Head of the EEAS Open Source Intelligence Division.

Luc VERON has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to the Philippines. He is currently Head of the EEAS Selection and Recruitment Division.

Marcus CORNARO has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Tunisia. He is currently Principal Adviser to the EEAS Secretary General.

Nikolaus MEYER-LANDRUT has been nominated as Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey. He is currently German Ambassador to France and Monaco.

Image above: Europa buildng Brussels

EU expects Kyrgyzstan to release Askarov

Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic on May 13 upheld the life sentence of prominent human rights defender Azimjan Askarov. Mr Askarov was initially sentenced to life imprisonment in September 2010 on charges of allegedly organising mass riots and involvement in the killing of a policeman. Today’s hearing was Mr Askarov’s final opportunity to appeal his case and follows earlier unsuccessful appeals in the lower instance court.

The Court’s decision is not in line with the views adopted by the UN Human Rights Committee in March 2016. The Committee found that Mr Askarov had been arbitrarily detained, held in inhumane conditions, tortured and mistreated, and prevented from adequately preparing his trial defence, and that his human rights had therefore been violated under a number of articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The UN Human Rights Committee called on the Kyrgyz Republic to take appropriate steps to immediately release Mr Askarov and quash his conviction. In addition, the European Union notes that Mr Askarov’s advanced age and poor health exposes him to significant risks in the global coronavirus pandemic. The European Union expects Kyrgyzstan to implement the UN Human Rights Committee’s opinion in order to fully comply with its international human rights obligations.

EU allocates €3.3bn to Western Balkans

Ahead of the 6 May meeting between the EU and the region, the European Union reinforces its support to the Western Balkans to address the coronavirus crisis.

As announced on April 29, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank will mobilise over €3.3 billion to benefit the citizens of the Western Balkans. This support will continue addressing the immediate health and resulting humanitarian needs of the COVID-19 pandemic and will help with the social and economic recovery of the region.

The EU and the Western Balkans are facing this crisis together. Given their European perspective, the EU has included the Western Balkans in several initiatives and instruments reserved for EU Member States. These include the joint procurement of medical equipment, exempting the region from the EU’s export authorisation scheme for personal protective equipment and the supply by the EU of testing material. The EU has also ensured the fast flow of essential goods across land borders through “green lanes”. The region is also associated to the work of relevant EU health bodies as well as to the research and innovation effort.

With today’s package, the EU sent another strong and clear signal that it will continue to support the Western Balkans partners.

This support also extends to the reforms needed to advance on the EU path, considering that the post-COVID-19 recovery will only work effectively if the countries keep delivering on their commitments related to the EU accession. In this context, Western Balkans partners are encouraged to strongly focus on the reforms related to rule of law, the functioning of democratic institutions and public administration.

Once the immediate COVID-19 crisis is over, an Economic and Investment Plan for the region will be put forward later this year to support long-term recovery, economic growth and reforms required to move forward on the EU path. (Image North Macedonia, archive)

ALDE Baalen condemns China disinformation

The president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party Hans van Baalen issued a statement on China COVID-19 pandemic strategy used for political purposes. Van Baalen position received support of his party members.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, China has been using this public health emergency to deploy a global disinformation campaign. The campaign has targeted mainly Western countries and includes all sorts of disinformation intended to cover up the real number of people infected and build a new story deflecting the origins of the outbreak.

These disinformation hostilities are building distrust in the ability of democratic institutions to deliver effective responses to fight the pandemic.

Last week the European External Action Service (EEAS) published a report documenting narratives and disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. They used notably soft language towards China following pressure from Chinese officials.

What’s more, China’s censorship machine has taken down any information that the government might consider fake, and many Internet activists and journalists have been detained.

“Renew Europe MEP Bart Groothuis initiated a cross party letter along with other MEPs from the Renew Europe Group to High Representative Josep Borrell, asking for clarification on allegations that the report by the EEAS was diluted at the request of the Chinese Government.

“Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Russia are deploying a global disinformation campaign intended to position themselves as global leaders and undermine the trust on liberal democracies and their institutions.

“The EU needs to be vigilant and respond to these hostilities. The European External Action Service report on narratives and disinformation of COVID-19 is one step forward, however, the recent allegations regarding the softening of the content upon the request of the Chinese government are of deep concern. The EU cannot let an external country to influence in the information shared.

“The EU must find its position in this new global stage and it has all it takes to fight back and lead by example, but unity and cooperation of all member states and stronger liberal institutional powers are needed. The EU can be a leader on the global stage, but it needs to portrait itself as a true Union of liberal democratic states that tackle the crisis collectively, efficiently and transparently.

The fight against COVID-19 is a common fight. Authoritarian regimes that cover up and disguise information cannot be the leading example, but liberal democracies that safeguard civil liberties and share transparent and efficient information“.

EU condemns Syria use of chemical weapons

9/4/2020 “Declaration by the High Representative Josep Borrell on behalf of the EU on the release of the first report of the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team
The European Union welcomes the release of the first report of the Investigation and Identification Team to the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and to the Secretary General of the United Nations on 8 April 2020.

“We fully support the report’s findings and note with great concern its conclusions. The European Union strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Arab Air Force as concluded by the report. Those identified responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable for these reprehensible acts.

Accountability is essential to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons. The use of chemical weapons by anyone – be it a State or a non-State actor – anywhere, at any time and under any circumstances is a violation of international law and can amount to the most serious of international crimes – war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Impunity for these horrible acts will not be tolerated. It is now up to the International Community to duly consider the report and take appropriate action. The European Union, consistent with its own commitment to the Partnership against impunity of the use of chemical weapons, is determined to ensure that this clear violation of the core principles of the Convention receives the strongest possible response from the Chemical Weapons Convention’s States Parties.

The European Union has previously imposed restrictive measures on high-level Syrian officials and scientists for their role in the development and use of chemical weapons and is ready to consider introducing further measures as appropriate.

The European Union is a steadfast supporter of the Chemical Weapons Convention, a key instrument of international arms control and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The European Union is committed, at the highest level, to supporting the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in its efforts to implement the decision of States Parties, in June 2018, to put in place arrangements to identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic.

The European Union reiterates its full support to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and underlines the complementarity of its work with the United Nations. We have full confidence in the objectivity, impartiality and independence of the Organisation’s Technical Secretariat and its Investigation and Identification Team”.

Borrell: COVID19 will reshape world

“The COVID-19 crisis is not a war but it is ‘war-like’ in that it requires the mobilisation and direction of resources at unprecedented levels. Solidarity between countries and a readiness to make sacrifices for the common good are decisive. Only by pulling together and cooperating across borders can we beat the virus and contain its consequences – and the EU has a central role to play. This was the clear and united position of EU Foreign Ministers when we discussed the crisis on 23 March via video-link.

“It is sometimes said that wars are won not by tactics or even strategy, but by logistics and communications. This seems true for COVID-19 as well: whoever is best at organising the response, quickly drawing on lessons learnt from around the world and communicating successfully towards citizens and the wider world, will come out strongest.

“There is a global battle of narratives going on in which timing is a crucial factor. In January, the dominant framing was of this being a local crisis in Hubei province, aggravated by the cover up of crucial information by Chinese party officials. Europe was sending a lot of medical equipment to help Chinese authorities that were overwhelmed at the time. Since then, China has brought down local new infections to single figures – and it is now sending equipment and doctors to Europe, as others do as well. China is aggressively pushing the message that, unlike the US, it is a responsible and reliable partner. In the battle of narratives we have also seen attempts to discredit the EU as such and some instances where Europeans have been stigmatised as if all were carriers of the virus.

“The point for Europe is this: we can be sure that perceptions will change again as the outbreak and our response to it evolves. But we must be aware there is a geo-political component including a struggle for influence through spinning and the ‘politics of generosity’. Armed with facts, we need to defend Europe against its detractors.

“There is also a battle of narratives within Europe. It is vital that the EU shows it is a Union that protects and that solidarity is not an empty phrase. After the first wave in which national authorities took centre stage, now the EU is coming to the fore with joint actions on all tracks where member states have empowered it to act: with joint procurement of vital medical equipment, with a joint economic stimulus and a necessary relaxation of fiscal and state aid rules.

“In addition, the EU’s role contains a big external component. We are assisting member states with their consular efforts, helping to bring stranded Europeans back home. For example, in the past week, joint efforts in Morocco enabled the repatriation of around 30.000 EU citizens. This shows that we can deliver together.

“Much more remains to be done. Worldwide, around 100,000 European travellers have registered at local embassies or consulates but the true figure of those that need to come home lies much higher.

“A global pandemic needs global solutions and the EU has to be at the centre of the fight. I am in touch with partners around the world, from Asia, Latin America and Africa, to help build a coordinated international response. In a crisis, the human instinct is often to turn inwards, to close borders and fend for yourself. While understandable, this stance is self-defeating. The COVID-19 emergency cannot be solved within one country, or by going it alone. Doing so simply means all of us will struggle longer, with higher human and economic costs.

“What we should work for instead is a radical scaling up of international cooperation among scientists, economists and policy-makers. At the UN, the WHO and the IMF. Within the G7 and G20 and other international fora. Pooling resources to work on treatments and a vaccine. Limiting the economic damage by coordinating fiscal and monetary stimulus measures and keeping trade in goods open. Collaborating on re-opening borders when scientists tell us that we can. And fighting on-line disinformation campaigns. This is a time for solidarity and cooperation, not blame games which will not heal a single infected person.

“While the needs are great at home, the EU should also be ready to assist others in fragile situations who risk being overwhelmed. Just think of the refugee camps in Syria and what would happen if COVID19 broke out there to people who have already suffered so much. In this respect Africa is a major concern. With Ebola it may have built more recent experience with handling pandemics than Europe, but health systems overall are very weak and a full outbreak would wreak havoc. Social distancing and living in confinement is exponentially more difficult in densely populated urban areas of Africa. Millions in Africa make their living in the informal economy and will have to handle the outbreak without any social safety net. Even before the virus has hit the continent, Africans, with other emerging economies, have to deal with a massive level of capital withdrawal.

“Elsewhere countries like Venezuela or Iran may well collapse without our support. This means we should ensure they have access to IMF assistance. And with Iran, we need to make sure that legitimate humanitarian trade can proceed despite US sanctions.

“We should also remember that none of the other problems that we focused on before the corona-crisis, has gone away. In fact, they may get worse. COVID-19 may well deepen some of the longer running conflicts in the neighbourhood. As Europe we already had to navigate a world of growing geo-political tensions, especially between the US and China. Here too, the risk is that COVID-19 will compound pre-existing trends.

“Overall the task for the EU is to defy the critics and demonstrate in very concrete terms that it is effective and responsible in times of crisis. Jean Monnet wrote in his memoirs that “Europe will be forged in crises, and will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises.” Let that be our guiding philosophy as we battle this crisis and prepare for what comes after.”

EU diplomats focus on Russia and Turkey

#Gymnich: Statement by the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell following the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Zagreb, (Image: archive).

“…Turkey and Russia were in our agenda. Our relations with these two countries are difficult, but we have to improve them from different points of view. We have been accumulating difficulties and we have to restart a new approach to overcome these difficulties. [In our relations] with Russia we have five guiding principles since the Crimea crisis, which are very well fitted to the situation. We have to increase our engagement on selective issues, in which we have to have a good partnership with Russia: energy, climate change, Artic, Russia’s engagement in Syria and Libya, playing important roles that affect our security. Today has been an interesting approach on how to deal with that.

“On Turkey the situation is strongly linked to the crisis in Idlib. [We are] at the beginning of a migration crisis, the consequences of the Turks letting people go, making [them] maybe believe that the borders of Europe were open. We have to defend our borders, we have to conciliate the respect of the human rights of migrants with the fact that our borders cannot be violated, people cannot across the borders illegally. At the same time we have to talk with the Turks about many issues that affect directly our security, because Turkey is also playing an important role in the Libyan crisis.

“Tomorrow we are going to approve a statement putting [down in] black and white the conclusions, but today has been an open discussion about these two important neighbours which are unavoidably part of our security and part of our most important concerns.”

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