EU top diplomt Josep Borrell participated in a G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that took place via video-teleconference call on Wednesday, 25 March.
“The discussion focussed on the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The High Representative Borrell (pictured) stressed that the pandemic represented a global challenge of unprecedented nature, with far-reaching consequences for the economic and geopolitical spheres, which required a global response. He underlined the importance of a strongly coordinated and multilateral approach, while stepping up international cooperation and providing humanitarian assistance to most affected countries, with a particular view to Africa. High Representative also stressed the need to ensure that citizens receive correct information related to the pandemic, that special measures are consistent with democratic values and that all countries share an interest in pushing back against disinformation and false narratives.
“During the meeting, several other foreign policy and security issues were addressed, including those related to Iran, Syria, the regional situation in the Gulf and Middle East, Libya, Sahel, Afghanistan, security in the EU neighbourhood and in Asia. The importance of enhancing international cooperation in multilateral frameworks was also highlighted by Borrell.
“On Iran, the High Representative drew the attention of G7 partners to the difficult situation in the country because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the potential spill-over to neighbouring countries and the need to step up assistance to the Iranian people as a matter of priority. In this regard, he clarified that humanitarian aid and medical services are outside of the scope of sanctions. He underlined the importance of an effective response, including through unimpeded humanitarian assistance and stimulus measures in view of the dramatic impact of the outbreak on the livelihoods of ordinary Iranian people. The EU top diplomat supports Iran´s request for aid from the IMF and the need for avoiding any punitive measures in addressing the pandemic. He also addressed the state of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA). He stressed the need to preserve the deal and for full implementation of the JCPoA by all sides. He also referred to the ongoing efforts by the EU to contribute to de-escalation and pursue stability in the wider region.
“The High Representative highlighted the necessity of renewed international efforts in order to address the Syrian crisis and pave the way for a political solution. He reaffirmed the EU’s focus on addressing the humanitarian situation and informed G7 partners that the EU will again organise a Brussels Conference for the Future of Syria and the region.
“The High Representative agreed to stay in close contact with all G7 counterparts in the coming weeks and months, in order to ensure close international coordination and cooperation on all of the pressing issues.”
Christine Lagarde (France) obtained Parliament’s approval to be the European Central Bank (ECB) next president, in a plenary vote on September 17.
In the secret vote, MEPs casted 394 ballots in favour, 206 against and 49 abstentions to recommend Lagarde to head up the European Central Bank.
The European Parliament gives a non-binding opinion on whether or not a candidate is suitable to fill the role of President of the ECB, with the final decision taken by the European Council. She is due to replace the current incumbent, Mario Draghi on 1 November.
Earlier on Tuesday, the plenary held a debate on her suitability for the position.
Chrisine Lagarde’s candidature will now be put on the agenda of October’s European Council Summit.
Lagarde previously held various senior ministerial posts in the French government, and led International Monetary Fund (IMF) since 2011, being reelected by consensus for a second five-year term, starting 5 July 2016 as the only candidate nominated for the post.
The idea of a second Brexit referendum is very likely to be voted again in Westminster although the government remains opposed to the second plebiscite on the same issue of leaving the European Union, the British finance minister said.
“I remain optimistic that over the next couple of months we will get a deal done,” he told reporters in Washington where he is attending meetings at the International Monetary Fund.
Philip Hammond said he hoped parliament would break the Brexit deadlock by passing a deal by the end of June, potentially ending the calls for a new referendum, and there was a “good chance” of a breakthrough in talks with the opposition Labour Party.
The German parliament’s budget committee must decide if the bailout plan for Greece agreed by euro zone finance ministers and the IMF on June, 15 evening is up to the level of a significant change to the existing program, Germany’s finance minister said.
In an interview with ARD television on June 15 (15.06.2017) , Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the IMF had agreed to launch a loan program for Greece – a condition set by the German parliament to support a further bailout – but that the international lender would pay out only later.
“There was white smoke,” Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said to reporters, hinting on the elections of the Pope. The negotiations for a technical deal were concluded on all issues, and the way has now been paved for debt relief talks, he added.
Greece and its foreign creditors reached a deal on a package of bailout-mandated reforms, Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said, paving the way for the disbursement of further rescue funds.
Talks on the deal, including and labor and energy reforms, also pension cuts and tax rises, had lasted for half a year mainly due to a argument between the European Union and the International Monetary Fund over fiscal targets.
Greece now needs to legislate the new measures before euro zone finance ministers approve the disbursement of loans, money Athens needs to repay 7.5 billion euros in debt before July. PHOTO: illustration
The next scheduled Eurogroup meeting is on May 22. The reduction of Greece’s debt much awaited by general public will also be discussed.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Thursday it would be possible to develop the euro zone’s European Stability Mechanism (ESM) rescue fund into a European monetary fund soon.
Asked if this would be possible in the short term, Schaeuble replied: “Yes, I think so.”
Speaking on the sidelines of International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington, he also said any new aid programs for euro zone countries should be without the international lender and so under European auspices.