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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
Armenia and Azerbaijan recognise each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty

Armenia and Azerbaijan recognise each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty

After hours of negotiations, with the mediation of European Council president Charles Michel, and French president Emanuel Macron, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan , Nikol Pashinyan and Ilham Aliyev, have taken a historic step towards lasting peace. Both countries have recognised each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty, and committed to tangible steps to establish peace and stability in the region. President Macron tweeted early this morning "Tonight, Armenia and Azerbaijan confirmed their commitment to the Charter of the United Nations and the Alma Ata 1991 Declaration through which both recognize each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty." The four leaders held two long sessions of negotiations on the margins of the summit of the European Political Community which was launched at Prague Castle on Thursday afternoon (6 October). It is also understood that a number of other decisions were taken. It was agreed that the EU will deploy on the Armenian side of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border a civilian monitoring mission, for a period of two months starting from October.

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Analysis
Macron gets a second chance to push for a new type of French partnership with Africa

Macron gets a second chance to push for a new type of French partnership with Africa

The re-election of Emmanuel Macron as President of the French Republic was the occasion for many congratulations from African heads of state with most leaders hailing the French president's "brilliant" election. Yet on the continent, not everyone is so enthusiastic, and speculation is high how France’s Africa policy will play out during Macron’s second term. The silence of Bamako, Conakry and Ouagadougou reflects the challenges of Emmanuel Macron's African policy in the years to come. Macron has put a great deal of energy into opening a new chapter in the relationship between France and Africa, but the results have been below expectations. A sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship is very important in these new, uncertain times. Whether it is through the gas alternative proposed by some North African countries, or the emergence of new partnerships in the Sahel and in English-speaking Africa, France will have to play a prominent role and has much to gain from being close with Africa. 
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News
NATO membership can be arranged quickly once Finland and Sweden submit application

NATO membership can be arranged quickly once Finland and Sweden submit application

The NATO membership of Finland and Sweden will be arranged quickly if they apply to join the Western military alliance. There will also be 'interim measures' until the two countries become full members of the organisation. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said this on Thursday (28 April) at a press conference at the European Parliament in Brussels. "If they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden will be warmly welcomed and I expect the process to go quickly".Sweden and Finland announced two weeks ago that they are considering membership in NATO. The Swedish government may want to submit a formal application as early as the end of June. The two countries have had a neutral status for various historical reasons. Since the war in Ukraine, their position on neutrality has changed.
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Opinion
Russia’s war against Ukraine: where do we stand and what can the future bring?

Russia’s war against Ukraine: where do we stand and what can the future bring?

"Two months into the war against Ukraine there is no end in sight and Russia’s most recent actions even point to an intensification of the fight. The Russian leadership must stop the aggression and reconsider the unacceptable path it has chosen: for the sake of Ukraine, Russia, Europe and the wider world", says Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for foreign and security policy in this article which first appeared on his blog on the website of the European External Action Service on 26 April 2022. In the article the head of the EU diplomacy says that "Defending Ukraine from Russia’s invasion is rejecting the law of the jungle, the notion that “might makes right”. Being “neutral” is a false concept here. One country has invaded another one. Putting them on the same footing fails to differentiate between the attacker and the attacked. Such “neutrality” may respond, of course, to a variety of reasons, from hidden alignment to fear of reprisals, but it becomes in practice support to Russia and its war of aggression."
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News
A sigh of relief in Europe as Macron sweeps to victory

A sigh of relief in Europe as Macron sweeps to victory

There was a sigh of relief across Europe on the news of the victory of Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the French presidential elections held on Sunday (24 April), thwarting an attempt to unseat him by far right candidate Marie Le Pen. Many in Europe are describing the outcome as a win for the European Union.  "Bravo Emanuel", European Council president Charles Michel wrote on twitter. “In this turbulent period, we need a solid Europe and a France totally committed to a more sovereign and more strategic European Union.” Whilst Macron was always the favorite to win, European countries watched anxiously as his lead in opinion polls narrowed in the days before the ballot. A victory for Le Pen, a deeply eurosceptic politician who has professed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, would have had huge implications for the stability of the EU. Le Pen had long flirted with the idea of leaving the bloc, although she insisted during her campaign that she had no “secret agenda” this time for quitting the group or the euro single currency.
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News
Charles Michel meets Zelensky in Kyiv and visits Borodyanka

Charles Michel meets Zelensky in Kyiv and visits Borodyanka

European Council president Charles Michel, who is currently paying a surprise visit to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, met on Wednesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.  Later, Zelensky tweeted: "My valuable friend Charles Michel is in Kyiv today. Sanctions against Russia, defense and financial support for our country, and responses to a survey on compliance with EU criteria have been discussed. I thank for the meaningful meeting and solidarity with the Ukrainian people," said Zelensky. During the course of the day, Michel also visited the town Borodyanka. He said that the situation in the town was the same as in Bucha and many other Ukrainian towns. "History will not forget the war crimes that have been committed here. There can be no peace without justice," he said.
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Commentary
Europeans must recognise the challenges ahead, and prepare for them

Europeans must recognise the challenges ahead, and prepare for them

The international community, and particularly the European Union -  because this remains first and foremost a European problem - has to prepare itself for three huge challenges ahead: rebuilding and embracing Ukraine; rebuilding European security in a way that it can deal with a Russian threat in the future; and determining how to deal with a wounded and weakened Russia which in the short term can be even more dangerous. All European, from the leaders at the top, to the citizens at the grass roots must accept the truth as it is: there is now a new reality which requires a different response; there is a huge cost, which all Europeans will be expected to pay; there are risks and dangers that we all thought were buried in the past, which now need to be prepared for. Europe has the strength and the resilience, the resources and the capacities, necessary to deal with these challenges as long as the enormity of the current and emerging situation is well understood, and properly addressed.
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News
EU officials see with their own eyes Russian horrors in Ukraine

EU officials see with their own eyes Russian horrors in Ukraine

European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen and EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, travelled to Kyiv on Friday in a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian government and people, on a day when again dozens were killed in indiscriminate Russian attacks against civilians at a railway station, and when further evidence emerged of a Russian massacre of Ukrainians in the town of Bucha..  The two EU leaders started their trip in Bucha, scene of an earlier Russian massacre. European Commission president Von der Leyen said the civilian deaths in the Ukrainian town showed the “cruel face” of Russia’s army. In Bucha, where forensic investigators started to exhume bodies from a mass grave, Von der Leyen looked visibly moved by what she saw in the town northwest of Kyiv where Ukrainian officials say hundreds of civilians were killed by Russian forces.