Tag Archives: UK

Michel on Queen Elizabeth II legacy

Brussels 09.09.2022 “We remember a remarkable woman today. A remarkable human being. Who shouldered an immense responsibility over the past 70 years. Her inspiration has spanned generations. And touched the lives of so many” writes the president of the European Council Charles Michel.

“While we all mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth the Second, we also consider her reign. It has left a legacy like few others in European and global history. From the turbulent years of the Cold War well into the globalised era of the 21st century.
For many, she was an anchor of stability in a rapidly changing world. She was once called “Elizabeth the Steadfast”. She was indeed a wise leader who never failed to show us the importance of lasting values in this modern world – values like service, commitment, and tradition.
‘She once said: “grief is the price we pay for love”. She was respected, esteemed, and sincerely loved by so many around the world. Our thoughts are, first and foremost, with the King and the Royal Family, with the people of the United Kingdom, and the Commonwealth.
For us in the European Union, her reign covered almost the full arc of post-war European integration. We will always remember her contribution to reconciliation among our nations after World War II and the Cold War. She had experienced the devastation of World War II and knew the importance of trust and cooperation among our countries.
Many of our past and present European leaders have experienced her warm hospitality. So did I at several occasions.
“We will do our part to carry on her legacy. Her special legacy of building bridges and of building trust among nations.”

Borrell: Queen Elizabeth Il remarkable reign

Brussels 09.09.2022 “Queen Elizabeth Il’s remarkable reign oversaw key events of the 20th & 21st century. The EU pays tribute to her unique contribution to building peace & reconciliation” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell writes.
“While her loss will be felt around the world, our immediate thoughts are with her family & the people of the UK”

“In honour of HM Queen Elizabeth II, all EU delegations around the world will be flying the flag on half-mast. We stand with the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom in mourning Her Majesty’s passing”.

At the moment the Queen died, the throne passed immediately and without ceremony to the heir, Charles, the former Prince of Wales.

But there are a number of practical – and traditional – steps which he must go through to be crowned King.

Assange at edge of extradition

Brussels 18.06.2022 Wikileaks founder Julian Assange extradition to the U.S. has been approved by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Mr Assange has 14 days to appeal over the decision, the Home Office confirmed.

Previously the British courts found extradition would not be “incompatible with his human rights” and that while in the U.S. “he will be treated appropriately”.

Julian Assange is wanted by the American authorities over documents leaked in 2010 and 2011, which the US says broke the law and endangered lives.

The Wikileaks documents related to the war crimes during Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The Australian is being held at Belmarsh prison in London after mounting a lengthy battle to avoid being extradited.

Extradition allows one country to ask another to hand over a suspect to face trial.

Responding to the home secretary’s order, Wikileaks confirmed it would appeal against her decision.

Assange’s spouse, Stella, said her husband had done “nothing wrong” and “he has committed no crime”.

“He is a journalist and a publisher, and he is being punished for doing his job,” she declared.

In a press conference outside the British Embassy in New York, his brother Gabriel Shipton said they would take his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights if not successful in the UK’s High Court.

Media company Wikileaks is a whistle-blowing platform that publishes classified material provided by anonymous sources.

Crimes Group in support of Ukraine

Brusssels 27.05.2022 This week the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom announced the creation of the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA), a mechanism aimed at ensuring efficient coordination of their respective support to accountability efforts on the ground. The ACA will reinforce current EU, US and UK efforts to further accountability for atrocity crimes in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It advances commitments made by the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom to demonstrate international support and solidarity at this crucial historical moment for Ukraine.

The overarching mission of the ACA is to support the War Crimes Units of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine (OPG) in its investigation and prosecution of conflict-related crimes. The ACA seeks to streamline coordination and communication efforts to ensure best practices, avoid duplication of efforts, and encourage the expeditious deployment of financial resources and skilled personnel to respond to the needs of the OPG as the legally constituted authority in Ukraine responsible for dealing with the prosecution of war crimes on its own territory.

EU High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell said: “It is critical to ensure that all those responsible for the terrible atrocities committed during the unprovoked Russian military aggression in Ukraine are brought to justice. There can be no impunity for war crimes. The Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group will be providing advice and supporting the ongoing efforts of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s War Crimes Units to collect, preserve, and analyze evidence of atrocities to help the investigations and ensure justice takes its course.”

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said: “This initiative will directly support efforts by the Ukrainian Office of the Prosecutor General to document, preserve, and analyze evidence of war crimes and other atrocities committed by members of Russia’s forces in Ukraine, with a view toward criminal prosecutions. The ACA is an essential element of the United States’ commitment that those responsible for such crimes will be held to account.”

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “We are determined to ensure those responsible for the vile atrocities committed in Ukraine are held to account. The UK has already made a clear commitment to supporting Ukraine in its investigations, including through deploying war crimes experts to the region and releasing additional funding to aid the ICC in their investigations. We are now stepping up our efforts through this landmark initiative with our partners in the US and EU. Justice will be done.”

General Prosecutor of Ukraine, Iryna Venediktova said: “There is ample evidence of the atrocities committed by Russia’s forces on the territory of Ukraine against civilians, including children. The creation of this support group and the advice of international experts with experience in other international criminal tribunals and national criminal law practice will help the ongoing work of our teams in investigating and prosecuting these crimes.”

The ACA will bring together multinational experts to provide strategic advice and operational assistance to OPG specialists and other stakeholders in areas such as collection and preservation of evidence, operational analysis, investigation of conflict-related sexual violence, crime scene and forensic investigations, drafting of indictments, and co-operation with international and national accountability mechanisms. This engagement with the OPG and other justice, law enforcement and security agencies of Ukraine has been and will continue to be driven by the needs of the Ukrainian government and the parameters of its support will be developed in close consultation with the OPG. To this end, it will closely associate its activities with the ongoing operational work taking place in cooperation with EU Member States, partner third countries and the International Criminal Court, including the Joint Investigation Team coordinated by Eurojust.

Draghi: avenues for peace dialogue

Brussels 19.04.2022 “So far, Putin’s goal has not been the search for peace, but the attempt to annihilate the Ukrainian resistance, occupy the country and entrust it to a friendly government. We will stay close to our Ukrainian friends: the reopening of our Embassy in Kiev is good news. Yesterday I heard from our ambassador Zazo to congratulate him directly” said Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi (pictured), interviewed on Sunday, April 18, by Corriere della Sera.

“The line of all allies – added Draghi – remains that of avoiding a direct involvement of Europe in the war. One of the cornerstones of this conflict is the assertion by all NATO leaders, started by the U.S. President Biden, that there will be no direct involvement of the Alliance. I understand the reasons that push Sweden and Finland to think about joining NATO ”.

“All the crucial decisions, were taken with a very wide parliamentary consensus. Since the first debate on the war, some parliaments have tried to reproach antiquities and I have been asked to say what I thought of it. I replied: this is not the time to reproach oneself with the sympathies and affairs of the past. It’s time to all be together. And I keep repeating it. Among other things, this is a debate of especially some politicians. It does not seem to me that among the majority of citizens there is time to make trials in the past ” Draghi continued.

The Prime minister also spoke about the phone calls with Putin. “I am beginning to think that those who say are right: it is useless for you to talk to them, time is wasted. I have always defended Macron and I continue to believe that as the incumbent President of the EU it is right to try every possible avenue of dialogue. But I have the impression that the horror of war with its carnage, with what it did to children and women, is completely independent of the words and phone calls that are made “.

NATO pledge for heavy weapons to Ukraine

Brussels 07.04.2022 The NATO member states have agreed to supply new types of advanced weaponry to Ukraine, alliance representatives have said, as Kyiv prepares for a next offensive by Russia in the Donbass region.

The pledge has been announced after a plea from Ukraine Foreign minister to move faster with weapons supplies. Six weeks since Russia invasion of Ukraine, some of the troops have largely withdrawn from territory north of Kyiv after failing to seize the capital, but are regrouping and rearming ahead of an attempt to advance in the Eastern region near Donbass.

These events influenced demands from Kyiv for western countries to supply more heavy weapons, armour and more advanced systems. Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said he would use the Alliance meeting in Brussels to ask for aircraft, missiles, armoured vehicles and heavy air defence systems, additionally to the other types of equipment.

UK foreign secretary Liz Truss said to press that member states had agreed to send more weapons.

“There was support for countries to supply new and heavier equipment to Ukraine, so that they can respond to these new threats from Russia,” the top diplomat explained. “And we agreed to help Ukrainian forces move from their Soviet-era equipment to NATO standard equipment, on a bilateral basis.”

Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, said Washington was looking at sending “new systems” to Ukraine.

“We are not going to let anything stand in the way of getting Ukrainians what they need,” he said. “We are looking across the board right now, not only at what we have provided . . . [but] whether there are additional systems that would make a difference.”

Previously the allies have supplied Ukraine with anti-tank missiles, drones and other defensive weaponry before and during the war. However, they have declined to supply other classes of weapons or impose a no-fly zone, as Kyiv has demanded, over the risk of engaging Russia in a wider war.

Ukrainian defence forces with NLAW anti-tank weapons in Kyiv last month: Nato countries have promised to send more advanced systems as a fresh assault by Russia looms
Kuleba said afterwards he was “cautiously optimistic” that alliance states would meet his demand but warned that delays would result in more deaths.

“Either you help us now, and I am speaking about days . . . or your help will come too late,” Kuleba said. The Ukranian diplomat added also added that without these weapons many people might die.

He added: “I was very specific about the requests and the timeline that they should be accommodated. I will be looking forward to the follow-up from allies.”

Ukraine has warned Russia is preparing a fresh offensive in the Donbas, aimed at seizing territory in the two administrative regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, which separatists have partially occupied since a Moscow-backed uprising in 2014.

Ukraine’s military authorities on Wednesday called on residents living in the regions to leave “while they still had the chance”.

Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary-general, said allies had agreed to “further strengthen” support for Ukraine immediately and in the “medium and long term”.

The promise of further military aid came amid regrets of Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, admitting Russia had suffered “significant losses of troops” during the invasion of Ukraine, which he described as “a huge tragedy” for his compatriots.

Peskov said Russia had withdrawn from Kyiv and Chernihiv in central Ukraine last week as a “goodwill act to lift tension from those regions and show Russia is really ready to create comfortable conditions to continue negotiations”, however fighting would continue in the Donbas, he added.

“It was a clear message from the meeting today that allies should do more and are ready to do more to supply more equipment. They realise and recognise the urgency,” he said.

Borrell sends EU formal response to Lavrov

Brussels 10.02.2022 Anna van Densky: The European Union has formally handed over its collective response to the letter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the European security issues, the EEAS spokesperson announced, and Russian diplomatic mission to the EU confirmed.

“Permanent Representative of Russia to the EU Vladimir Chizhov met Director Security and Defense policy at the European External Action Service Joanneke Balfoort, who on the instruction of the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell handed over his address to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on behalf of foreign ministers of 27 EU member-states,” the Permanent Mission said.

The document is the response to the address of the Russian Foreign Minister on the security indivisibility topic, sent on January 28 of this year to top diplomats of certain European countries, the US and Canada.

Russian diplomatic mission made it clear that the EU does not anticipate to make the contents of this response public, the diplomatic mission source added, mentioning as a reference the name of Joanneke Balfoort, the Director Security and Defence policy at European External Action Service.

Meanwhile in Moscow Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has informed British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss of Kiev’s reluctance to implement the Minsk Agreements, as Lavrov had underlined at a press conference following his talks with Truss.

“We thoroughly explained the situation around Kiev’s reluctance to implement the Minsk Agreements as the Ukrainian regime is not only unwilling to fulfil them but openly rejects them,” Lavrov said .

According to the top diplomat Russia also “explained what steps we are taking to convince those who have influence on the Kiev regime to make [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky and his government implement their obligations under the Minsk Agreements, which were enshrined in the UN Security Council’s resolution,” Lavrov continued.

Further Lavrov added that Moscow and London interpreted the Minsk accords in different ways.

“We have different interpretations of the Minsk Agreements though I don’t understand how it is possible to have different interpretations of what is written in black and white,” the Russian top diplomat explained.

Camilla future Queen Consort

Brussels 06.02.2022 The British monarch Queen Elizabeth II said she wants Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, to be known as Queen Consort when Prince Charles becomes King.

In a message marking the 70th anniversary of her reign, the Queen said it was her “sincere wish” that Camilla would have that title.

The Queen is the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee.

She is spending her day privately on the Sandringham estate, with national celebrations to be held in June.

The Queen’s reign began when she was 25 years old, following the death of her father, George VI, on 6 February 1952.

The monarch said that, 70 years on, the day is one she remembers “as much for the death of my father, King George VI, as for the start of my reign”.

UK: #PartyGate allegations mount

Brussels 25.01.2022 British police will investigate alleged lockdown breaches at Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Downing Street residence after receiving evidence from an internal government probe into a series of gatherings.

Boris Johnson has entered a crucial week for his premiership, ahead of a report over alleged parties at Downing Street during lockdown.

Civil servant Sue Gray is expected to publish her findings this week – although the date is not confirmed.

Ms Gray – who is currently a permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office – is investigating a series of allegations about lockdown-breaking parties at Downing Street.

Her report is “the biggest threat” to Mr Johnson’s premiership on what is expected to be a significant week for his government, the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg says.

She says many MPs see Ms Gray’s report as the crucial piece of evidence that will help them make up their mind about whether it is time to end Mr Johnson’s leadership.

The prime minister is reported to be determined to hang on to his position – believing he has done nothing wrong.

So far six Conservative MPs have publicly declared no confidence in Mr Johnson.

But more are thought to have submitted letters to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 committee, who organises Tory leadership contests.

If 54 letters are submitted a no confidence vote is triggered which could result in a leadership election.

EU welcomes Serbia reforms

Brusssels 14.01.2022 “France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union welcome Serbia’s January 16 national referendum on constitutional changes as a key step to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and to enhance the transparency and effectiveness of the country’s rule of law institutions. We believe that these reforms are a step forward towards Serbia’s alignment with European standards and will support Serbia’s EU accession process”, reads the Joint Statement by Embassies of France, Germany, Italy, UK, USA and the Delegation of EU on the Referendum. (Image: Belgrade,Serbia).

“We have encouraged all Serbian citizens to take part in the referendum and believe it important for eligible voters to be able to vote in elections and referenda. We note with regret that the Kosovo government has not allowed the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to collect ballots of eligible voters living in Kosovo for the upcoming referendum in accordance with past practice. We call on the Kosovo government to allow Serbs in Kosovo to exercise their right to vote in elections and electoral processes in accordance with this established practice”.

“We call upon the governments of Kosovo and Serbia to refrain from actions and rhetoric that increase tensions and to engage constructively in the EU-facilitated Dialogue. It is important that both governments achieve progress towards a comprehensive agreement that unlocks the EU perspective and increases regional stability”.

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