Tag Archives: EU

NAVALNY: EU aims at stronger russia sanctions

Brussels 21.01.2021 Following the recent imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, MEPs call on EU countries to significantly strengthen sanctions against Russia.

In a resolution, adopted with 581 votes in favour, 50 against and 44 abstentions, Parliament calls on EU member states to take an active stance on the arrest of Alexei Navalny and many of his followers at their next meetings and to “significantly strengthen the EU’s restrictive measures vis-à-vis Russia”. This includes sanctioning the “individuals and legal entities” involved in the decision to arrest and imprison Alexei Navalny, they say.

Sanctions should also be imposed against Russian oligarchs linked to the regime, members of President Putin’s inner circle and Russian media propagandists, who possess assets in the EU and can currently travel there. Additional restrictive measures could also be taken under the new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime.

Following years of deteriorating relations, MEPs stress the importance of critically reviewing cooperation with Russia in various foreign policy platforms and on projects such as Nord Stream 2. They call on the EU to immediately stop the completion of the controversial pipeline. MEPs also underline that the EU should no longer be a welcoming place for Russian wealth of unclear origin.

With a view to the new administration in Washington, Parliament stresses that the EU should use this momentum to strengthen transatlantic unity in protecting democracy and fundamental values against authoritarian regimes.

The resolution finally demands the immediate and unconditional release of Alexei Navalny and of all other persons detained in relation to his return to Russia, be they journalists, members of his team or citizens showing support.

Provisional EU-UK Agreement

Brussels 26.12.2020 The European Union and the United Kingdom reached an agreement in principle on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement on December 24, 2020.

The entry into application of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is a matter of special urgency.

The United Kingdom, as a former Member State, has extensive links with the Union in a wide range of economic and other areas. If there is no applicable framework regulating the relations between the Union and the United Kingdom after 31 December 2020, those relations will be significantly disrupted, to the detriment of individuals, businesses and other stakeholders.

The negotiations could only be finalised at a very late stage before the expiry of the transition period. Such late timing should not jeopardise the European Parliament’s right of democratic scrutiny, in accordance with the Treaties.
In light of these exceptional circumstances, the Commission proposes to apply the Agreement on a provisional basis, for a limited period of time until 28 February 2021.
The Council, acting by the unanimity of all 27 Member States, will then need to adopt a decision authorising the signature of the Agreement and its provisional application as of 1 January 2021. Once this process is concluded, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK can be formally signed.

The European Parliament will then be asked to give its consent to the Agreement.

As a last step on the EU side, the Council must adopt the decision on the conclusion of the Agreement.

EU-UK Sunday talks continue

Brussels 13.12.2020 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he will “continue talking” with the EU in an attempt to reach a trade deal, but that leaving without one and trading in future on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms is more likely.

The European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, and the UK prime minister have agreed that trade talks should continue, and she called the exchange of opinions on telephone this morning “useful”.

Prime Minister has underlined that both parties had described the discussions as “constructive and useful”, in a moving away from their previous terms of “lively and interesting”. The joint statement was a sign they were working to try to find a way forward together, he added.

EU-UK: preparations for no-deal

Brussels 10.12.2020 In spite of the considerable efforts of the negotiators “very large gaps remain” between the UK and EU, despite talks in persona between Boris Johnson, who came to Brussels, and EU to executive Ursula von der Leyen aimed at breaking the Brexit trade deadlock, according to No 10 spokesperson.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said the two sides were still “far apart“. Meanwhile talks between the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost and the EU’s Michel Barnier will resume in Brussels. However British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it was “unlikely” the negotiations would be extended beyond December 13, Sunday.

After their meeting, the British Prime minister and European Commission president “agreed that by Sunday a firm decision should be taken about the future of the talks”, a No 10 spokesperson added.

In view of the looming no-deal on Thursday morning, the EU set out the measures it would implement in the event of a no-deal scenario.

The plan includes allowing aviation safety certificates to continue to apply to avoid the grounding of aircraft.

“The EU will “never sacrifice (its) future” to conclude a post-Brexit agreement at the cost of concessions that would weaken its single market, warned European negotiator Michel Barnier, while negotiations between Brussels and London are deadlocked.

Boris Johnson travels to Brussels

Brussels 08.12.2020 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will travel to Brussels for a summit in persona with the European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, in an attempt to reach a breakthrough in the EU-UK stalled negotiations.

A long-awaited decisive meeting will be held in the “coming days”, the two leaders said in a joint statement following a phone call lasting over an hour, to ensure the agreement on a trade and security. The diplomatic sources on both sides pointed to 9-10 December as the most likely dates.

However none of the diplomats expressed certainty about the sealing of the deal. There is also a backdrop of pessimism among the experts, presuming this “gesticulation” is mere attempt to convince the electorates at both side of the Channel in sincere attempt to reach a results.

“Talks are in the same position now as they were on Friday,” a UK government source said, referring to the December 4. “We have made no tangible progress. It’s clear this must now continue politically. Whilst we do not consider this process to be closed, things are looking very tricky and there’s every chance we are not going to get there.”

Brexit: no-deal looming

Brussels 04.12.2020 “After one week of intense negotiations in London, together with
David Frost, we agreed today that the conditions for an agreement are not met, due to significant divergences on level playing field, governance and fisheries” the EU top negotiator Michel Barnier wrote on his Twitter account.

“We agreed to pause the talks in order to brief our Principals on the state of play of the negotiations. President von der Leyen, and Prime Minister Johnson will discuss the state of play tomorrow afternoon” Barnier informed. The similar announcement made the UK sherpa David Frost on his micro blog.

After a long period of the negotiations, shifting from one deadlock to another, there is little hope left to see the deal done. There is also little expectation for last minute “miracle” solution patching the differences. There is no hope in the last minute mending done by Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen who would meet on have talks on December 7.

NK: EU expect full implementation of ceasefire

Brussels 11/23/2020 The “scorched earth” strategy of Armenians leaving the Kalbajar region of Azerbaijan did not escape the attention of the European Commission.
“We take note of various information and various complaints that come from the parties in the situation regarding Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions. Since there is no direct access to the territories, it is very difficult for us to verify these statements, and therefore I will not be able to answer specific accusations that concern the situation in these territories, but what is important, is the observance of the ceasefire regime, which must be fully implemented” the spokesperson said.

The EU was very clear in its expectations, the EU diplomat added, referring to the EU Declaration 27 of November 19,
underlining the “importance of guaranteeing humanitarian access and the best possible conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of the displaced populations in and around Nagorno-Karabakh”. The preservation and restoring the cultural and religious heritage in and around Nagorno-Karabakh was also included into the Declaration, along with the demand of investigation of “any war crimes that might have been committed”.

The EU is “closely watching how the situation, regarding the ceasefire”, which was concluded with the mediation of Russia and how it is being implemented on the ground, the spokesperson continued.

The media reports on the “scorched earth” strategy used by the Armenians leaving the Kalbajar region of Azerbaijan, have caused a great deal of concern of the ecologists, who have pointed at the disaster of the forests set ablaze, and the intentional destruction of unique flora and fauna of the mountains.

The “scorched earth” strategy that is prohibited by the 1977 Geneva Conventions, being defined as “war crime”. It has been reportedly used by local inhabitants of the Kelbajar region, while they were abandoning the area. They set ablaze houses, gardens, forests, and also massively culled animals, which can subsequently lead to sanitary problems. The pictured and videos of the devastation, and fires were shown on the CBC TV Azerbaijan channel.

Armenia receives hundreds of millions from the EU in to aid programmes, but now the government in Yerevan will face the multi-million claims of Azerbaijan for the damages to nature of Kalbajar caused intentionally, since the Minister of Ecology of Azerbaijan has already begun to prepare claims to the International Court in the Hague, the Azerbaijan media reports.

 

The ‘scorched earth’ strategy is a war crime as defined in the 1977 Geneva Conventions. This barbaric strategy of destroying anything that could potentially be used by the enemy is condemned by international law, and the procedures concerning war criminals are under the jurisdiction of International Criminal Court in The Hague.
It is a permanent international criminal justice body whose competence includes the prosecution of those responsible for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, as well as military aggression. Established by the 1998 Rome Statute, the Court has officially began its work on July 1, 2002. (Image below: culled cattle left behind).

EU-UK: fisheries disagreements remain

Brussesl 07.11.2020 “We took stock of the negotiations with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson today.Some progress has been made,but large differences remain especially on level playing field and fisheries. Our teams will continue working hard next week. We will remain in close contact in the next days” Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president wrote on her Twitter micro blog. (Image above: illustration)

Previously the British sherpa David Frost wrote that “Progress made, but I agree with Michel Barnier that wide divergences remain on some core issues. We continue to work to find solutions that fully respect UK sovereignty”.

Supporters of Brexit regard fishing not only as an industry but as a symbol of sovereignty that will now be fully regained. The UK government indicated that any new agreement on fisheries must be based on the understanding that “British fishing grounds are first and foremost for British boats”.

However the EU wishes to preserve access for its vessels and says reaching a “fair deal” on fisheries is a pre-condition for a free trade agreement or a deal with no tariffs or taxes on goods between the two.

EU: Georgia elections “competitive”

“Georgia held the first round of its 2020 Parliamentary elections on 31 October, under a revised electoral system and with high voter turnout, despite the challenging context of the COVID-19 pandemic.” the statement of the European External Actions Service reads.

“According to the joint statement of preliminary findings and conclusions of the international observers from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the Parliamentary Assemblies of the OSCE, Council of Europe and NATO, the elections were competitive and, overall, fundamental freedoms were respected.

“The observers noted, however, that the conduct of the elections was impacted by pervasive allegations of pressure on voters and blurring of the line between the ruling party and the state throughout the campaign and on election day, reducing public confidence in some aspects of the process.

“Ensuring the highest democratic standards throughout the entire electoral process, including during the second round, remains key, as well as a fair, transparent and rigorous handling of all complaints and appeals. It is important that all parties continue to adhere to democratic principles and standards and respect for human rights. Ensuring conditions for a free and pluralistic media environment is extremely important including to allow voters to make a fully informed choice. The European Union will remain very attentive to developments during the remainder of the electoral period and in particular on the day of the second round.

“The revised legal framework provided a sound basis for the holding of democratic elections. Recent legislative amendments partially addressed previous OSCE/ODIHR and Council of Europe/Venice Commission recommendations, however, although a number remain outstanding. It will be important to continue addressing shortcomings in the electoral framework, including the final recommendations of OSCE/ODIHR, through an inclusive dialogue, after the second round on 21 November.

“The European Union stands by a democratic, stable, prosperous and inclusive Georgia and continues to support Georgia’s process of political association and economic integration with the EU as per its Association Agreement”.

EU ready for Cyprus negotiations

Brussels 20.10.2020 “The Turkish Cypriot community selected Mr. Ersin Tatar as its new leader. It is important now to see a constructive engagement with a view to reaching a comprehensive settlement and reunification” reads the Joint Statement by the High Representative Borrell and Commissioner Ferreira on the electoral process in the Turkish Cypriot community.

The European Union supports the resumption of negotiations, under the auspices of the United Nations (UN), and remains fully committed to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, and of reunification based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, within the UN framework and in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, including UNSC resolutions 550 and 789, and in line with the principles on which the EU is founded. A solution to the Cyprus problem would be to the benefit of Cyprus and the EU in general.

The EU stands ready to play an active role in supporting these negotiations. A stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and the development of cooperative and mutually beneficial relationships amongst all partners in the region, bilaterally and multilaterally, is in the EU’s strategic interest.

« Older Entries