Tag Archives: Europe

Crimea: EU renews sanctions

Brussels 20.06.2021 The Council has today decided to renew the sanctions introduced by the EU in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, until 23 June 2023.

“The restrictive measures currently in place were first introduced in June 2014, and include prohibitions targeting the imports of products originating from theillegally annexed Crimea or Sevastopol into the EU, and infrastructural or financial investments and tourism services from the illegally annexed Crimea or Sevastopol. Furthermore, the exports of certain goods and technologies to Crimean companies or for use in illegally annexed Crimea in the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors or for the prospection, exploration and production of oil, gas and mineral resources are also subject to EU restrictions.

“As stated by Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, in his Declaration on behalf of the EU on 25 February 2022, eight years since the violent, illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, the EU does not recognise and continues to condemn the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula as a serious violation of international law. The EU remains steadfast in its commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and dedicated to fully implementing its non-recognition policy.

“Russia has further violated Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity with its unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine which theEU continues to condemn in the strongest possible terms. It urges Russia to immediately stop its indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

“The European Union is unwavering in its commitment to help Ukraine exercise its inherent right of self-defence against the Russian aggression and build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future. It also remains committed to continue bolstering Ukraine ability to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Moscow expells European diplomats

Brussels 18.05.2022 Moscow said on Wednesday, May 18, it was expelling a total of 85 embassy staff from France, Spain and Italy in response to similar moves by those countries, highlighting the damage to relations with leading EU members since it launched its war on Ukraine. (Image above: Moscow, City)

The Foreign Ministry said it was ordering out 34 diplomatic staff from France, 27 from Spain and 24 from Italy.

The three countries are among European nations that have collectively thrown out more than 300 Russians since the February 24 invasion. In many cases, they accused Russian diplomats of spying, which Moscow has denied.

Russia’s response has included sending home 45 Polish staff and 40 Germans last month. It has also announced tit-for-tat moves against Finland, Romania, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Japan, among others.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called Wednesday’s announcement by Moscow a “hostile act” and said diplomatic channels must not be interrupted.

France said it deplored the Russian move as an unjustified response to what it said was its own decision in April to expel “several dozen Russian agents acting on our territory under diplomatic status and working against our security interests”.

Future of Europe conference report

Strasbourg 05.04.2022 A report on the final outcome of the Conference will be presented to the Presidents of the EU institutions during a closing event on 9 May in Strasbourg.

On Europe Day, three Co-Chairs of the Executive Board will present a final report of the Conference to the Presidents of the EU institutions. During the event, President Metsola, President von der Leyen and President Macron will deliver their speeches alongside speeches by citizens from the National and European Panels and by the Conference Co-Chairs. Cultural performances by Danse l’Europe and youth orchestra DEMOS are also planned.

Apart from 449 Plenary Members, including 108 citizens, 120 European Citizen Panellists and 200 citizens from local schools and Erasmus students will be invited to the event.

Ministers for European affairs and other VIP guests will also participate in the ceremony.

When: Monday 9 May, 12:00 – 14:00 Where: European Parliament in Strasbourg

During a final meeting, that took place from 29 April to 30 April at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the Conference Plenary reached a consensus on its final draft proposals.

The 49 proposals, on nine themes, include more than 300 measures on how to achieve them. They are based on recommendations from the European Citizens’ Panels, the National Citizens’ Panels and events, ideas recorded on the Multilingual Digital Platform as well as discussions held during the Conference Plenary and Working Group sessions.

The three institutions will examine swiftly how to follow up effectively to this report, each within their own sphere of competences.

Europe expulses Russian diplomats

Strasbourg 05.04.2022 Danemark,Germany, France, Latvia, and Lithuania have announced the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats as part of a joint European reaction to the massacre of civilians in a small c town of Bucha, near Ukraine capital, allegedly by Russian forces before they retreated.

The German government announced 40 Russian diplomats “undesirable,” and France declared it would expel 35 Russian diplomats, saying their activities were “against our security interests.”

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called the move a response to the “unbelievable brutality” the Kremlin had committed in Ukraine.

The diplomats expelled from Germany have worked “against our freedom, against the cohesion of our society,” Baerbock added. “We will not tolerate this any longer.”

The decision was communicated to Russian Ambassador in Berlin Sergei Nethayev after he was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, Baerbock said. The affected envoys were given five days to depart from Germany.

The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the expulsions from France were part of a European approach to the murders in Bucha, where dozens of bodies were found in mass graves or littering the streets.

The Kremlin has rejected Western accusations that Russian forces were responsible, and provided with Ukraine military forces videos, and video of the Mayor of Bucha, who also did not even hint on any disorders, while declaring the liberation of the town form Russian troops.

Lithuania said earlier it had expelled Russia’s Ambassador to Vilnius and was recalling its top diplomat in Moscow in response to reports of Bucha massacre.

“Lithuania stands in full solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, who are victims of Russia’s unprecedented aggression. We are therefore lowering the level of Russia’s diplomatic representation,” Lithuanian top diplomat Gabrielius Landsbergis said in a statement on April 4.

“Unfortunately, what the world saw in Bucha can be only the beginning. We will be able to discover even more evidences of cruel war crimes in other towns upon their liberation. The war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine will not be forgotten,” he added.

Conference on the Future of Europe

Strasbourg 11.03.2022 #FutureofEurope The Conference plenary of 11-12 March 2022 will discuss the recommendations of the European Citizens’ Panels on ‘the EU in the world / migration’ and ‘a stronger economy, social justice and jobs / education, culture, youth and sport / digital transformation’ as well as related recommendations from National Citizens’ Panels.

The Plenary’s Working Groups will also meet and continue their preparatory discussions. The Plenary and the Working Groups will be web streamed and can be followed via the Platform.

The Conference of Europe Plenary debates the recommendations from the national and European Citizens’ Panels, and the input gathered from the Multilingual Digital Platform, grouped by themes, without a predetermined outcome. After these recommendations have been presented by and discussed with citizens, the Plenary will on a consensual basis put forward its proposals to the Executive Board. The latter will draw up a report in full collaboration and full transparency with the Plenary.

The Conference Plenary is composed of 108 representatives from the European Parliament, 54 from the Council, 3 from the European Commission, 108 from national Parliaments on an equal footing, and 108 citizens: 80 representatives from the European Citizens’

Panels, 27 from national Citizens’ Panels or Conference events (one per Member State), as well as the President of the European Youth Forum. 18 representatives from the Committee of the Regions and 18 from the Economic and Social Committee, 6 elected representatives from regional authorities and 6 elected representatives from local authorities, 12 representatives from the social partners and 8 from civil society also take part.

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is invited when the international role of the EU is discussed. Representatives of key stakeholders may also be invited.

The meetings of the Conference Plenary are presided by the three Co-Chairs of the Executive Board and held in the European Parliament premises in Strasbourg.

Belgium: Big Pharma Waterloo?

Brussels 01.11.2021 A number of Belgium MPs from the majority led by Mr. Servais Verherstraeten introduced a bill intended to approve the “epidemic emergency” On October 28, 2021. After all, the pandemic law requires that the government must approve this state within fortnight after the government has declared the epidemic emergency, reads announcement on Belgium site “Virus Waanzin” (Virus Nonsense), which unites sceptical and critical voices against the pandemic management.(Image: Waterloo, Beglium)

“The bill will be discussed urgently in parliament in the coming days.
If parliament DOES NOT approve this law, the epidemic emergency will expire. It is therefore a matter of convincing as many MPs as possible in the coming days not to approve the law. I call on all of you to make massive efforts to do this immediately. Convince the MPs you know or are close to not to push the population into apartheid and tyranny!

“The government believes that the emergency should be declared on the basis of a mathematical model. A model that predicts that the number of hospital admissions will be highest in the second half of November with an intensive care load of between 400 and 500 patients. According to the government, this would “put pressure on the healthcare sector”.

Quote: “The modeling as included in the document “SARS-CoV-2 variants and vaccination in Belgium” of October 12, 2021, prepared by the Simid consortium, shows that the peak in hospital burden of the fourth wave would be expected In the second half of November, this prospective modeling shows a load of ICU services between 400 and 500 COVID patients at the height of a fourth wave, putting pressure on the continuity of normal services and regular non-COVID care Even if the prospective modeling does not look beyond mid-December for methodological reasons, the endpoint of the model shows that in mid-December the hospital load would still be higher than the current load. Furthermore, from the previous waves, we learned that a normalisation of the situation in hospitals takes several weeks.”

“In the second wave, about 1,500 Covid patients were admitted to the ICU. Now 500 should already give rise to an “emergency”. This is an absolute shame. We have been asking for the ICs to expire for a year and a half now, which the government is not doing. But now an emergency has to be declared in Belgium for 500 beds that would be occupied at the top at the end of November.

“We have not yet been able to get our hands on the SIMID report. If you find that report, please post it on Facebook. Very curious what sorcery will be used next. It’s the time of year for that.
We know how badly the mathematicians have been wrong in the past 2 years. It would be a miracle if they were right.

“So we get an emergency that is declared on the basis of mathematical divination. What will the government do if it turns out that there will eventually be a peak of, say, 300 beds? Excuse himself?
What a gamble to put the entire country in an emergency for 500 beds in IC on such loose grounds”.

EUCO: EU Summit conclusions on pandemic

Brussels 22.10.2021 European Council conclusions on COVID-19:
“Vaccination campaigns around Europe have brought about significant progress in the fight against COVID-19. Nevertheless the situation in some Member States remains very serious. In order to further increase vaccination rates throughout the Union, efforts to overcome vaccine hesitancy should be stepped up, including by tackling disinformation, notably on social media platforms. It is necessary to remain vigilant regarding the emergence and spread of possible new variants.

“In light of the development of the epidemiological situation, the European Council calls for further coordination to facilitate free movement within, and travel into, the EU, and for a revision of the two Council recommendations. It encourages the Commission to accelerate its work regarding mutual recognition of certificates with third countries.

“Based on the experiences of the COVID-19 crisis, the EU’s resilience to and horizontal preparedness for crises must be strengthened. To ensure better prevention of, preparedness for and response to future health emergencies in the EU, the European Council calls for the conclusion of the negotiations on the Health Union legislative package and for ensuring that Member States are adequately involved in the governance of the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA). It recalls the need to swiftly take work forward on access to medicines across Member States.

“The European Council reiterates the EU’s continued commitment to contributing to the international response to the pandemic and to ensuring access to vaccines for all. It calls for the rapid removal of obstacles hampering the global roll-out of vaccines, and invites the Commission to further engage directly with manufacturers in this respect. This will allow Member States to speed up the delivery of vaccines to countries most in need. The EU will continue to support the production and uptake of vaccines in partner countries.

“In the context of the upcoming G20 meeting and in view of the special session of the World Health Assembly in November, the European Council underlines its support for a strong, central role of the World Health Organization in future global health governance and for the objective of agreeing an international treaty on pandemics”.

Antisemitic Prejudices in Europe report

Brussels 12.10.2021 A comprehensive picture of the anti-Semitic prejudice in 16 countries of the European Union has been revealed in the Report, presented in Brussels today by the Action and Protection League in alliance with the European Jewish Association in the Jewish House. The research seeks to explore the prevalence and intensity of anti-Jewish prejudices in the European societies. The intention of the engaged team has been to show how likely in times of crisis the societies are susceptible to use the antisemitic narrative to indulge themselves in illusions of solutions for a various range of problems.

The Report on “Antisemitic Prejudices in Europe” appeared in a specific context of concern about the rise of violence against Jews, which reflects in insecurities in Jewish communities across Europe.

In the report the cognitive antisemitism has been measured by a series of questions used several times in surveys in the last two decades. Based on support of rejection of the offered statements, measuring biased stereotyping there were tree major groups of the participants in the survey: non-antisemites, moderate antisemites, and strong antisemites.

The European Muslim are characterised by significantly stronger primary antisemitism than the non-Muslim population, however anti-semitism in Greece and several post-Soviet East European countries is “significantly stronger” than among European Muslims, the report discoveres.

Regarding Israel many European Muslims support anti-Jewish views, far more than proportion of non-Muslim population in any of the countries studies, the reports states.

During the research a group of latent anti-semites has been identified, which does not incline to the traditional anit-semitic views, but hostility towards Israel, but does not appear to be antisemitic in a traditional sense, getting the definition of latent anti-semitism.

Concerning the primary antisemitism there more than average antisemites in Greece (48%), Poland (42%), Hungary(42%), Slovkia (39%), the Czech Republic(36%), Romania (38%) and Austira (31%). The proportion of strong antisemites in Greece is almost three times the average – 35%, and is highest in Austria (21%) outside the former Soviet bloc.

In three Western European countries the proportion of those who accept traditional antisemitic prejudices and are also “averse” to Jews is negligible in Sweden, the Netherlands, and the UK representing from 3% to 6% of the adult population.

In spite of a grim landscape in some cases, there are also strong positive attitudes toward Jews and Israel, who are convinced that it is important for Europe to preserve Jewish traditions in their countries. The respondents are also friends of Israel, regarding Jewish state as a politically significant actor, and ally.

The indicator directs to 22% of the total population in the 16 countries as “strongly philosemitic”, 35% “moderately”, and 44% as non-philosemtic. The philosemitism is strong in Austria, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Greece. The results might seem contradictory at times, and the report needs further analysis and understanding of the social psychological theories dealing with prejudice in its cognitive, effective, and conative dimension.

Europe biodiversity threatened

“In its conclusions , the Council reaffirms that the EU and its member states will lead and step up efforts to halt biodiversity loss and restore ecosystems. The conclusions provide political guidance for the work towards a post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The Council also calls upon the Commission to develop without delay an ambitious, realistic and coherent 2030 EU biodiversity strategy as a central element of the European Green Deal.

“Member states unanimously stress the need for urgent global action at all levels to halt biodiversity loss. The Council notes with serious concern the alarming state of nature, with around one million species at risk of extinction, and the severe implications of unabated climate change. The Council underlines the importance for the EU and its member states to develop and adopt national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs) for achieving the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

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“The Council is committed to leading by example and making a robust contribution to the adoption of an ambitious and realistic post-2020 global biodiversity framework to halt the loss of and restore biodiversity by 2030. It is also committed to mainstreaming biodiversity into all relevant EU policies such as the new common agricultural policy (CAP). Member states unanimously underline the need to eliminate subsidies harmful to biodiversity and to enhance the review of the implementation and accountability of nature and biodiversity policies, actions and commitments, with the aim of stepping up actions on all levels.

“In addition, the Council calls for the full, effective and coherent integration of biodiversity into the design and implementation of the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2021-2027 as well as in future policies such as the common fisheries policy and the circular economy action plan. Member states will accelerate the transition towards a resource-efficient, safe, circular and climate-neutral economy that also protects and restores biodiversity and ecosystem services.

“Member states underline the importance of making domestic and international financial flows, including in public procurement, consistent with the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

“The Council will revert to this issue in order to adopt a mandate for the EU position in the negotiations at the UN biodiversity conference (CBD COP15) in October 2020 in Kunming, China. The landmark conference is due to agree a post-2020 global biodiversity framework.”

NATO extends Stoltenberg mandate

NATO Allies agreed on March 28, 2019 to extend the mandate of Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (60) by a further two years, until 30 September 2022.

Jens StoltenbergNorwegian politician, who served twice as Prime minister. During his mandates the defence spending increased substantially, resulting in Norway becoming one of the highest per capita defence contributors among allies of NATO. He has been enhancing  modernisation of the Norwegian armed forces, and conducted policies contributing troops to various NATO operations.

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