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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).

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News
Progress in EU hosted talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Progress in EU hosted talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan

A third round of meetings between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan hosted by the European Union in Brussels have resulted in progress on a range of issues as the two countries work to resolve the long standing conflict between them. European Council president, Charles Michel welcomed president Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and prime minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia for another meeting in trilateral format on Sunday (22 May). He later described the talks as "frank and productive". In a statement to the media late on Sunday night Michel said the talks focused on the situation in the South Caucasus and the development of EU relations with both countries as well as the broader region. Summarising the meeting, Michel said "the discussion was frank and productive. We reviewed the entire set of issues. We had a detailed discussion on humanitarian issues, including demining, and efforts to free detainees and address the fate of missing persons." He listed a number of outcomes from the meeting including on border issues, connectivity, on a future peace agreement and on socio economic development. In conclusion president Michel said that he also stressed the importance of preparing the populations for long-term sustainable peace. The EU is ready to step up its support. "We agreed to remain in close contact and will meet again in the same format by July/August." 

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Editor's choice
News
Brussels hosts important discussions between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan

Brussels hosts important discussions between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan

The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Nikol Pashinyan and Ilham Aliyev, will today meet in Brussels together with the president of the European Council, Charles Michel. The trilateral meeting is taking place at a critical moment for the future of the South Caucasus as Armenia and Azerbaijan seek ways to build peace between them following the 44 Day Karabakh war in the autumn of 2020. It is taking place in the shadow of the Russian invasion of Ukraine which has caused the bbiggest crisis on the European continent since World War II. Michel hosted a previous meeting with Aliyev and Pashinyan on 14 December 2021, and a new format appears to be emerging for contact between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Observers are hesitant to call it a peace process yet, but the importance of the talks is considerable. This was highlighted yesterday when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on the phone with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to stress the US support for the talks. In Brussels Michel is expected to urge Pashinyan and Aliyev, with who he has built a strong personal rapport over the last year, to work together to de-escalate tensions on the border, move forward with the process of agreeing the terms of a peace agreement, and implement confidence and security building measures to support their work and help build trust at the political, military and societal levels.
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News
Putin must stop this war immediately and unconditionally

Putin must stop this war immediately and unconditionally

Shock has turned to anger right across the world as the truth about Russian atrocities in Ukraine began to emerge. The leaders of Europe, the US and other countries have strongly condemned war crimes being committed by invading Russian forces in Ukraine. In a statement on Monday (4 April) the European Union said: "We stand in full solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in these sombre hours for the whole world. The EU will continue to firmly support Ukraine and will advance, as a matter of urgency, work on further sanctions against Russia. President Putin must stop this war immediately and unconditionally."
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Interview
In an interview with commonspace.eu Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Paruyr Hovhannisyan describes EU-Armenia relations as "very diverse, multifaceted and dynamic"

In an interview with commonspace.eu Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Paruyr Hovhannisyan describes EU-Armenia relations as "very diverse, multifaceted and dynamic"

In November of last year Paruyr Hovhannisyan was appointed Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia with responsibility for relations with the European Union. This week he was in Brussels where he had meetings with officials from the EU institutions. Commonspace.eu spoke with the Deputy Foreign Minister on the current state of Armenia-EU relations and prospects for the future. Hovhannissian described relations as very diverse, multifaceted and dynamic.
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Interview
GEU Podcast: Giving EU citizens a voice on foreign policy – with Dr Dennis Sammut

GEU Podcast: Giving EU citizens a voice on foreign policy – with Dr Dennis Sammut

“I think what is important is that the issue of international affairs is understood not to be an elitist sphere but something that impacts the lives of everyone in one way or another; and as a result, discussions on foreign policy need to be extended to include the wider citizenry. This is a challenge going forward and an increasingly important one.” – Dr Dennis Sammut on the latest final episode of Global Europe Unpacked
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News
Pashinyan and Aliyev will meet in Brussels next week

Pashinyan and Aliyev will meet in Brussels next week

President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and prime minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia will meet in Brussels on 6 April at the invitation of European Council president Charles Michel. The three leaders will review developments since their last meeting on 14 December 2021. In preparation of the leaders' meeting, the European Union on Wednesday (30 March) hosted a meeting of high-level officials from Armenia and Azerbaijan in Brussels to advance joint efforts to find solutions to a range of issues between both countries.   A statement posted on the website of the European External Action Service said, "the meeting between Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Armenia, Armen Grigoryan, and Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Hikmet Hajiyev, was facilitated by EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Toivo Klaar."
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Opinion
Opinion: Three summits, one message - Mr Putin we will make sure your aggression in Ukraine will fail

Opinion: Three summits, one message - Mr Putin we will make sure your aggression in Ukraine will fail

One month after Mr Putin launched an unprovoked war against Russia's neighbour Ukraine, despite being warned of the serious consequences if he did that, the leaders attending the summits in Brussels  had one important message: Mr Putin, we will not let you get away with this. We are united in making sure that your aggression against Ukraine fails. It cannot be otherwise, writes Dennis Sammut in this op-ed. If Putin destroys the Ukrainian state, and the rest of the world does nothing, then we will be back to the dark days of the 1930s. No country or society in the world will be able to feel safe again.