EU plus

Stories in this section cover the EU-27 countries plus the UK, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and the Balkan Countries (Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia).

Greece and Turkiye hold talks amid hopes for a new and positive era in relations
Türkiye has entered a new and positive era in its relations with Greece, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said Tuesday at a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart Giorgos Gerapetritis in Ankara. “Ankara and Athens have differences of opinion in the Aegean and Mediterranean. The sides now must bring a new approach to solving their problems,” Fidan told reporters after talks with Gerapetritis on issues that have troubled relations between the two countries for decades. Tuesday’s meeting was held ahead of the one on September 18 between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York The Greek newspaper, Kathamerini said that the meeting in Ankara on Tuesday " was seen as a window of opportunity that could lead to progress on low-policy issues which in the long run could lay the groundwork for both countries to agree to resort to the International Court of Justice at The Hague. The friendly environment on Tuesday was in stark contrast to a meeting two years prior when the previous Greek and Turkish foreign ministers essentially argued at a joint news conference in Ankara. The newspaper said that one of the results of Tuesday’s meeting is that responsibility for direct communication in case of crises has been transferred to the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers. Another takeaway was the extension of the moratorium both on the ground and in rhetoric, if possible. Both sides also agreed that by the time the High Cooperation Council convenes, tangible and deliverable results at various levels will be achieved, especially from the rich list of the positive agenda. The Turkish newspaper, Daily Sabah, agreed that Tuesday’s meeting "took place in a friendlier climate triggered by Greece sending assistance to Türkiye following two devastating earthquakes and Türkiye offering condolences after a deadly train crash in Greece earlier this year. It also followed a rare meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Vilnius in July, which was hailed as a positive milestone by both countries.
dennis2020 Wed, 09/06/2023 - 07:00 Netherlands and Denmark to give Ukraine advanced F16 aircraft
The Netherlands and Denmark announced Sunday they will give F-16 warplanes to Ukraine, a long-awaited announcement that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called an important motivation for his country’s forces, as they continue to repell Russian aggression. After months of entreaties from Zelensky for F-16s to bolster the Ukrainian air force, the US recently gave approval for the Netherlands and Denmark to provide Ukraine the American-made jets. Zelensky traveled to both countries Sunday to finalize the delivery deals.’’F-16s will certainly give new energy, confidence, and motivation to fighters and civilians. I’m sure it will deliver new results for Ukraine and the entire Europe,″ the Ukrainian leader said. Ukraine hopes the jets will give it a combat edge, after launching a counteroffensive against the Kremlin’s forces without air cover from Western aircraft, placing its troops at the mercy of Russian aviation and artillery. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte welcomed Zelensky to the Netherlands on Sunday. The two leaders inspected two gray F-16s parked in a hangar at a Dutch base in the southern city of Eindhoven. A few hours later, Zelensky and his wife were received by Danish prime minister Frederiksen, other Danish Cabinet ministers and Crown Princess Mary at the Skrydstrup air base in southern Denmark where Ukrainian pilots will receive F-16 training in coming months. The two leaders climbed into a Danish F-16 and tried out the seats.
dennis2020 Mon, 08/21/2023 - 05:50

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Borrell to visit Niger for bilateral meetings with Nigerien President, EU civilian mission

Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, will visit Niger on 5 and 6 July, the European Union has announced. He is due to have bilateral meetings with the EU civilian mission EUCAP Sahel Niger.

In a press release, the EU's External Action Service wrote that "the visit will offer an opportunity to further strengthen the EU-Niger partnership and to engage on a variety of bilateral, regional and global issues."

patrickn97 Wed, 07/05/2023 - 10:38
The Hague to host three meetings on the South Caucasus this week
This week in the city of the Hague, the foundation LINKS Europe will host three important meetings related to the South Caucasus region. The city will welcome participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia and beyond, many of who are involved in the delicate process of building trust and confidence between people after years of warfare and animosity in the South Caucasus Region. A spokesperson for LINKS Europe said that the three meetings are,in their different ways, all symbolic and significant, and are being held at a critical juncture for the future of the South Caucasus region, and its relations with Europe.  LINKS Europe has a long history of engagement with the region, and has for many years been particularly active in promoting peace, dialogue and reconciliation. "We are looking forward to three days of intensive meetings, discussions and debates, and we hope the outcome of the meetings will contribute to the wider ongoing process for  peace and reconciliation in the region, and for stronger relations between the region and the rest of Europe", the spokesperson said.
dennis2020 Mon, 07/03/2023 - 08:59
Protesters storm Swedish embassy in Baghdad after Quran-burning in Stockholm

Dozens of protesters stormed the Swedish embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Thursday (29 June) after Salwan Momika - an Iraqi living in Sweden - burned a Quran in protest in front of Stockholm's central mosque on Wednesday.

In accordance with free speech laws, the Swedish police had given Momika a permit for the protest but the police later released a statement saying that it would investigate the issue over potential incitement of hatred. Momika conducted his protest amid a heavy police presence.

patrickn97 Fri, 06/30/2023 - 10:03
Commentary: EU reaches out to Central Asia’s “Cinderella”
"Whilst this week’s EU-Tajikistan meeting can be dismissed as another piece of EU bureaucracy at play, for Tajikistan this mechanism is also a lifeline to the wider world," writes in this commentary. "Tajikistan has a lot of potential, in terms of natural resources, tourism and connectivity which remains untapped. It has in the last couple of years made various overtures to the EU indicating a willingness to engage more. It is right that this week the EU has sent a message that it is interested too." Following an EU-Tajikistan meeting on Monday (26 June), a statement said that “the participants reviewed their cooperation, including economic and trade relations, issues related to the security of energy supply, and connectivity both within Central Asia and between Central Asia and Europe. The two sides assessed progress in implementing the outcomes of both the EU-Central Asia Sustainable Connectivity Conference, and the EU-Central Asia Economic Forum [...] During their discussions, the two sides also touched on matters of regional and international interest, including the situation in Afghanistan and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The EU encouraged Tajikistan’s engagement with Central Asia’s neighbouring countries and welcomed its constructive role for broader cooperation within the Central Asia region and beyond.”
patrickn97 Wed, 06/28/2023 - 10:11
Opinion: EU candidate status madness is distracting Georgia from preserving stability and democratic development

"There are some misconceptions that Georgia can be transformed into some kind of Eastern European, especially Ukraine. This is more of a pipe dream rather than possible reality. Georgia will not be turned into a South Caucasian variation of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia, built on pro-Western Georgian nationalistic sentiments and highly anti-Russian attitudes," writes Archil Sikharulidze for in this op-ed for

patrickn97 Wed, 06/28/2023 - 09:56
Greek conservatives win second election in a month, far-right Spartans enter parliament

The Greek centre-right New Democracy party has convincingly won the second national election in a month in a result that will see the new far-right Spartans party enter parliament for the first time. The vote took place on Sunday (25 June).

patrickn97 Mon, 06/26/2023 - 08:24
Opinion: the Italian government must re-evaluate its stance on contraception for women

"Even if the government is indeed being sincere in their desire to protect the rights of unborn children by restricting access to contraception, by their own admission low birth rates in Italy persist," writes Arianna Belluardo in this op-ed for "Meanwhile, evidence thus far shows that improving access to contraception would not depress birth rates, but contrarily, reduce the rate of practised abortions, which remain in some cases physically and emotionally draining for women.

patrickn97 Thu, 06/22/2023 - 10:48
UK pledges $3bn for Ukraine reconstruction ahead of the International Ukraine Recovery Conference

The British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced $3bn of funding over the next three years for Ukraine's reconstruction on Tuesday (20 June).

The announcement came one day before the International Ukraine Recovery Conference 2023 taking place in London on Wednesday and Thursday (21-22 June). The total cost of Ukraine's post-war reconstruction is understood to be approximately $411bn, although this figure will increase as Russia's invasion and occupation continues.

patrickn97 Wed, 06/21/2023 - 09:57
German President Steinmeier visits Kazakhstan, holds talks with Kazakh President Tokayev
The German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has held talks with the Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev during an official visit to Kazakhstan on 20 June. President Tokayev said that Frank-Walter Steinmeier's state visit "opens up good opportunities for further strengthening of comprehensive cooperation between Kazakhstan and Germany", according to an official read-out from the Presidential Administration.  "We have been anticipating your visit, which is regarded as a very important one in terms of giving additional boost to the development of cooperation between Kazakhstan and Germany. Germany is considered here in Kazakhstan as a key partner in Europe. And we will be doing our utmost in order to enhance our cooperation in a variety of domains," said President Tokayev. On his part, President Steinmeier said that Germany is "not only looking back to the past 30 years of diplomatic relations, we are looking to the presence of our especially but not only economic growing relations, you are mentioning that many German companies are heavily invested in the meanwhile, here in Kazakhstan, and, you know, beyond economic relations."
patrickn97 Wed, 06/21/2023 - 09:34