Tag Archives: G7

Tense G7 opens in Biarritz

World leaders are gathering in Biarritz (France) for the G7 summit. Addressing the event the European Council President Donald Tusk said will be a “difficult test of unity and solidarity” due to deep divisions over a range of issues including trade and climate change.

The annual gathering of the G7 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) some of the world’s key industrial countries, open on August 24 in the French Atlantic resort of Biarritz.

The three-day summit is taking place against the backdrop of an escalating trade war between the US and China, Brexit, mounting tensions between Washington and Tehran over Iran nuclear programme and global concern over Amazon forest fires ravaging Brazil.

Thousands of different groups of protesters from all over the world rallied in the nearby town of Hendaye.

Mogherini to counter disinformation

At January Foreign Affairs Council participants discussed the action plan against disinformation presented earlier (5.12.018).

Ministers exchanged views on the implementation of the action plan, focusing on its external aspects. They underlined the need to build a common and holistic response to the security challenges posed by foreign interference, while respecting national approaches and protecting freedom of expression and of the media.

They highlighted the creation of an EU “Rapid Alert System to share expertise and best practices, and to promote coordinated action, notably through awareness raising campaigns. Ministers stressed the need to engage with civil society to tackle disinformation, including with CSOs, NGOs, business and academia, as well as to work with international partners, in particular NATO and the G7, to address disinformation more efficiently. They also underlined the importance of contributing to strengthening the resilience of neighboring countries.

First of all, our work on disinformation, to counter disinformation coming from outside the European Union. This is a work we are doing together with the different institutions – we have put together an Action Plan that we presented already at the end of last year – and that is now subject to a common work for the implementation that requires a stronger determination and inputs also from our Member States”, the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said, while commenting on Foreign Ministers Council agenda.

We discussed with the Foreign Ministers their side of the work and ways in which we can do better in this respect. Obviously, in particular in view of the European Parliament elections, but there was a very strong focus on the need to look at all different kind of disinformation that come from within, from outside the European Union, and in different forms. We decided to move forward together, at full speed, with a lot of determination, and implement the Action Plan we have put forward” Mogherini added.

“European mandarins will decide for you what is truth. Brrrr”, wrote Belgium politician Theo Frnacken.

Salvini trades barbs with Sefcovic

This week started with Italian Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini trading barbs with European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic concerned with the political situation in Italy and the rise of Salvini’s League party. “It is the umpteenth attack by Europe on Italy, on the League and on the government,” Salvini  responded.

“Now they are taking an interest in us, but for years the EU bureaucrats ignored our country’s requests for help to stop the arrivals and saddled us with 700,000 immigrants” – Salvini continued “It would be better if he apologizes and shuts up“.

Sefcovic, who announced this week that he is seeking the nomination of the European Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats to be the next Commission president, said that “we are all worried” when asked by ANSA* new agency about the political situation in Italy and the rise of the League. “I have been to Italy many times and I was always impressed by how this great, important European country was honestly pro-EU,” Sefcovic said to ANSA. “It’s truly a new situation for us. “We have to ensure that, in the future, Italy returns to being the great G7 country that is strongly pro-EU again”.

*Italian news agency ANSA receives funds of European Commission.

Russian senator against “euphoria” to Trump’s G7 remarks

Russian senator, and chair of the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the Council of Federation (higher chamber of Russian parliament) Konstantin Kosachev said, there is no place for ‘euphoria’ reacting of President’s Trump remarks about Russia’s return to the G7 club. He pointed out that the opinion of the U.S. President is not shared by the other G7 members, and Canada, hosting the meeting, has made it clear ahead of the event.

“… The obvious thing: Russia is needed for G8 more than the G8 for Russia. In particular, as a negotiation platform. But also as an instrument of rallying the ranks of the Western countries themselves. The appearance on this intra-Western “get-together” previously excluded Russia would help for a while to forget about the contradictions within the current “Seven” (and they are all the more noticeable)…” – the senator continued.

The rhetoric question Kosachev rises is about Russian interest to return to the Club: “Do we need it?”, he asks. And then he answers: no.

” I am convinced that we do not need to rush in to every remark about “it would be nice to return Russia if it …”,  etc., but to offer our own conditions for return: the lifting of sanctions and respect for interests.”

“Otherwise it will be a senseless waste of time for the next ambitions and vanity of the Westerners. Russia certainly does not have such a dream, as, for example, the Ukrainian leadership  to “glow” often next to the richest and most influential. You need to speak on an equal footing and in essence, the rest – games in words” – the senator concludes.

Tusk opposes Russia re-entering G7

Reacting upon remarks of President Donald Trump, EU Council president Donald Tusk said: “On most fronts, the G7 continues to push in the same direction: when it comes to achieving the complete denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula, countering the aggressive stance of Russia and searching for a political solution to the conflict in Syria.

“We must also demonstrate unity regarding the ongoing land reclamation and militarisation in the South China Sea, as the international law must apply to all countries, big and small, on land and at sea. As the G7, we also want to defend our democracies from threats by foreign actors. To this end, we will discuss stepping up cooperation to prevent and respond to unacceptable foreign interference in our democratic processes”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also opposed Russia re-entering G7, indicating the “time is not right”. “Here we all agreed that a return of Russia to the G7-format summits can’t happen until substantial progress has been made in connection with the problems with Ukraine,” she said. “That was the common view.”

Russia was suspended from the group — then known as the G8 (pictured above) — in 2014 after the majority of member countries allied against Kremlin annexation of Crimea, which Moscow continues to consider an integral part of Russian Federation after the referendum, when an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to reunite with their historic motherland.

Asked in an interview earlier this week about what would need to happen for Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Austria’s ORF broadcasting corporation that “there are no such conditions and there can never be.”

Italian PM Conte agrees with President Trump on Russia return to G7

Italian Prime minister Giuseppe Conte agreed with the suggestion of President Donald Trump that return of Russian into G7 is in interest of all.

“Russia should be in this meeting,” Trump told reporters upon leaving the White House for the summit, which is being held in Charlevoix, Canada. “They should let Russia come back in, because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.” (Image: G8 with Russia).

G8

Russia was suspended from the group — then known as the G8 (pictured above) — in 2014 after the majority of member countries allied against Kremlin annexation of Crimea, which Moscow continues to consider an integral part of Russian Federation after the referendum, when an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to reunite with their historic motherland.
A number of the European politicians have already acknowledged the legality of the referendum, pointing out that the after the coup-d’état in Kiev, the citizens of Crimea were not obliged to accept the new authorities, and had a freedom of choice, according to the self-determination principle of the UN Charter. (Image above: Crimean bridge)
Asked in an interview earlier this week about what would need to happen for Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Austria’s ORF broadcasting corporation that “there are no such conditions and there can never be.”

EU concerned about side effects of US anti-Russian measures

The EU is currently raising its concerns via all diplomatic channels with the US and its counterparts on the side effects of the new US package of measures against Russia on the EU. The Commission will continue to closely monitor the on-going legislative process in the US and the subsequent implementation of the Bill and will act swiftly if and when needed.

On the basis of a presentation by President Juncker and Vice-President Katainen, the College of Commissioners discussed today the state of play of the US draft Bill on Russia sanctions – “Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act 2017”. Commissioners expressed their concerns notably because of the draft Bill’s possible impact on EU energy independence.

The Bill as endorsed by the US House of Representatives demonstrates that a number of these concerns are being taken into account. It nevertheless foresees the imposition of sanctions on any company (including European) which contributes to the development, maintenance, modernisation or repair of energy export pipelines by the Russian Federation. Depending on its implementation, this could affect infrastructure transporting energy resources to Europe, for instance the maintenance and upgrade of pipelines in Russia that feed the Ukraine gas transit system. It could also have an impact on projects crucial to the EU’s diversification objectives such as the Baltic Liquefied Natural Gas project.

While the College underlined the importance of the sanctions regime against Russia and its strict implementation, it expressed concerns about the possible negative political consequences of the draft Bill. As reiterated at the G7 in May, new sanctions should always be coordinated between allies.

“The EU is fully committed to the Russia sanctions regime. However, G7 unity on sanctions and close coordination among allies are at the heart of ensuring the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements. This is a core objective that the EU and the US share. The US Bill could have unintended unilateral effects that impact the EU’s energy security interests. This is why the Commission concluded today that if our concerns are not taken into account sufficiently, we stand ready to act appropriately within a matter of days. America first cannot mean that Europe’s interests come last” – Juncker said.

The Commission will continue to closely monitor the on-going legislative process in the US and the subsequent implementation of the Bill and will act swiftly if and when needed.

The president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker reacted upon the newly adopted US sanctions package against Russia with a statement:

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