Region

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).

Germany officially confirms export of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, approves re-export from third countries
After weeks of growing pressure from allies, Berlin has finally announced that it will send 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. It has also approved the re-export of Leopard 2 tanks from third countries. Other countries have also pledged to send Ukraine Leopard 2 tanks, including Poland, Norway and Portugal. It has also been reported that Spain intends to send Ukraine the German-made tanks too. Last week, the UK announced that it would send 14 of its Challenger 2 tanks to Kyiv. The announcement comes as the United States is reportedly considering arming Ukraine with its around 30 of its powerful Abrams tanks, and reports of Switzerland intending to lift its ban on supplying Kyiv with arms. The Leopard 2 first came into service in 1979, has a top speed of 68km/h (42mph), and a maximum range of around 500km (311 miles). They are specifically designed to compete with the Russian T-90 tanks, which Moscow has been using during its full-scale invasion.
patrickn97 Wed, 01/25/2023 - 11:51 Poland officially asks Germany for permission to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine
Poland has officially asked Germany for permission to send some of its German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the Polish Defence Minister announced in a tweet on Tuesday morning (24 January). In the tweet, Mariusz Blaszczak wrote: "The Germans have already received our request for consent to the transfer of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. I also appeal to the German side to join the coalition of countries supporting Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. This is our common cause because it is about the security of the whole of Europe!'' Germany has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks to either supply Ukraine with its Leopard 2 tanks, or at least approve other countries' re-export of them. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock had said on Sunday (22 January) in an interview with French television that she would not "stand in the way" of Poland if it wanted to sent its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. On his part, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said on Tuesday morning that Berlin had yet to decide on the delivery of combat tanks to Ukraine, saying that "There is no news that I can deliver at this point. I have said that shortly a decision will be made and I can only assume that will be the case."
patrickn97 Tue, 01/24/2023 - 12:38

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Criminal networks in the Western Balkans have become key actors in both regional and European Union drug markets

Criminal networks in the Western Balkans have become key actors in both regional and European Union drug markets

Criminal networks in the Western Balkans have become key actors in both regional and European Union drug markets, a report by the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) said on Monday. The report says that the strategic geographical position of countries such as Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo, combined with high demand for drugs, particularly in the European Union and Turkey, have accelerated criminal groups’ operations. “Some EU countries are located on trafficking routes that pass through the Western Balkans before re-entering the EU. This means that trafficking flows can be complex,” the agency said in the report which is part of a bigger regional study conducted between 2019 and 2022. Sizeable diasporas from the region in the EU also provide a pool of individuals who can be exploited or recruited into these networks, the report said. The EMCDDA report discusses Western Balkan groups’ operational presence in Belgium and the Netherlands, with the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam being important for drug distribution and import into the EU.
European Union’s new 6.8 million euros project to boost sustainable energy in Central Asia

The European Union has launched a new project “Sustainable Energy Connectivity in Central Asia” (SECCA) ahead of the EU-Central Asia Connectivity Conference “Global Gateway for Sustainable Development”  which opened on Thursday (18 November) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. National energy authorities and experts from the Central Asian countries (CA) and representatives of the EU attended the launch event.

The SECCA project, with a total budget of 6.8 million euros, aims to promote a more sustainable energy balance in CA in accordance with EU best practices. 

Maximiliaan va… Fri, 11/18/2022 - 17:56
EU and Egypt sign memorandum of understanding on renewable hydrogen cooperation

The European Union and Egypt have taken a further step to boost their long-term cooperation on the clean energy transition by establishing a strategic partnership on renewable hydrogen and preparing the ground for a just energy transition in Egypt. Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding with Egypt's Minister for Petroleum Tarek El Molla and Minister for Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohammed Shaker El-Markabi at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Maximiliaan va… Thu, 11/17/2022 - 11:59
Opinion: Europe finds itself in a double-bind over African gas

Europe needs to make sure that it does not unfairly exploit the area and it does not unduly oscillate between advocating for renewable energy while at the same time looking for fossil fuels in Africa, writes Alexandra Dumitrescu in this op-ed for commonspace.eu.

patrickn97 Tue, 11/15/2022 - 09:38
EU and Kazakhstan strengthen their strategic partnership with the signing of agreement on raw materials
The European Union (EU) and Kazakhstan have strengthen their strategic partnership by signing an agreement on raw materials, batteries and renewable hydrogen on Monday (7 November) at a ceremony on the margins of the 27th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27), which kicked off in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The agreement focuses on the development of a secure and sustainable supply of raw materials and refined materials, renewable hydrogen and battery value chains, and contributes to the green and digital transformation, reported the press service of the European Commission.  Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, who is representing Kazakhstan at the COP27, said that the document will create conditions for the establishment of financial and technological cooperation between Kazakhstan and EU industrial alliances. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen noted the partnership will build a cleaner foundation for both economies.
dennis2020 Wed, 11/09/2022 - 07:46
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EU concerned at situation in the Balkans amid tension between Kosovo and Serbia

EU concerned at situation in the Balkans amid tension between Kosovo and Serbia

EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, has expressed concern at recent developments in the Balkans amid increasing tensions between Kosovo and Serbia. Borrell, who is currently on an official visit to Abu Dhabi where he is participating in the 2022 Sir Bani Yas Forum, on Saturday (5 November) spoke with Serbian president Alexander Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister, Albin Kurti. A statement issued later by the European Extern Action Service, said: "The recent developments in the relations between Kosovo and Serbia put years of hard work and achievements reached under the EU-facilitated Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina at risk and hamper the security situation in the region and beyond. The European Union calls both sides to refrain from any unilateral actions, which might lead to further tensions.