Tag Archives: EEAS

EU-Turkey Mediterranean de-escalation

The recent withdrawal of the research vessel Oruç Reis is an important step paving the way for a meaningful dialogue between Greece and Turkey. The EU also calls for a similar decisions as concerns Cyprus. Turkey’s announcement on Tuesday of the extension of the Navtex for the Yavuz drilling vessel will fuel further tensions and insecurity in the Eastern Mediterranean at a moment when there is an opportunity to pursue immediate de-escalation, and resume dialogue and negotiations, which is the only path towards lasting solutions” reads the European External Action service Spokesperson Statement on the exploration activities in Eastern Mediterranean.

Meanwhile Turkey’s Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said seismic vessel Oruc Reis was pulled back for its periodical maintenance, howeveer Greece can turn this into an opportunity for talks in eastern Mediterranean row.

Neighbours in Mediterranean, both NATO allies, Turkey and Greece have overlapping claims to continental shelves and rights to extract potential energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions flared last month after Ankara sent Oruc Reis to map out possible oil and gas drilling prospects in waters claimed by Greece, Cyprus and Turkey.

Turkey’s navy had issued an advisory earlier this month saying the vessel would continue operations in the area until September 12. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had confirmed that it would continue exploratory operations for longer but no extension to the advisory was issued as of noon.

EU condemns Novichok attack on Navalny

“The European Union condemns in the strongest possible terms the poisoning of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny“,read the text of the Russia: Statement by the head of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny addressed to Russia.

“The toxicological analysis carried out by a specialised laboratory of the German armed forces proves that Mr Navalny was poisoned by a military-grade chemical nerve agent of the “Novichok” group, developed by the Soviet Union and later, Russia. The use of chemical weapons under any circumstances is completely unacceptable and a breach of international law.

“It is essential that the Russian government investigates thoroughly and in a transparent manner the assassination attempt of Mr Navalny. Alexei Navalny’s case must not go unresolved. Those responsible must be brought to justice.

“We are grateful to the staff of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin hospital in Berlin for their treatment of Mr Navalny and wish him a prompt and full recovery.The European Union will continue to closely follow the issue and discuss its implications”.

Borrell invites Ankara for broad dialogue

“Today’s announcement by Turkey of renewed drilling activities by the Yavuz vessel in a maritime zone which has been delineated by Cyprus and Egypt regrettably fuels further tensions and insecurity in the Eastern Mediterranean” reads the statement issued on Sunday August 16 by the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell on renewed drilling activities by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“This action runs counter and undermines efforts to resume dialogue and negotiations, and to pursue immediate de-escalation, which is the only path towards stability and lasting solutions, as reiterated by EU Foreign Ministers last Friday”.

“I call on the Turkish authorities to end these activities immediately and to engage fully and in good faith in a broad dialogue with the European Union”.

Turkey’s vice president Fuat Oktay criticised the recently announced defense cooperation between France and the “Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus”, the text appeared on his official Twitter micro blog on Sunday, August 16.

“It is unacceptable under any circumstances that France organizes joint exercises with the Greek Cypriot administration and deploys its military aircraft to the island contrary to the 1959-60 agreements,” Fuat Oktay said on Twitter.

“It is essential for France not to seek adventure in Cyprus-related matters, and act much more responsible” he warned.

On Saturday, August 15, it was announced that a 2017 defense cooperation agreement between Cyprus and France had entered into force this August 1.

Oktay has underlined that it is essential that international circles, especially the EU, take a stand against the “spoiled, aggressive and unlawful attitudes” of France in the region.

No attempt contrary of Turkey and the TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] has a chance of succeeding in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said.

Turkey will continue standing with the Turkish Cypriots to provide unconditional support to their just and legitimate struggle as well as “resolutely” continue the exploration within its jurisdiction area with the drill ship Yavuz, the vice president ensured.

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“.

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