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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).

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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Greek and Turkish defence ministers met in Brussels
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and his Greek counterpart Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, met on Thursday (13 October) on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels, amid ongoing tensions between their two countries. The meeting between the two ministers comes as the two countries amid ongoing disagreements between Athens and Ankara on a range of issues, including the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus, migrant pushbacks and more. Both ministers were in Brussels to attend the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence. The two uneasy NATO neighbors have long-standing sea and air boundary disputes which lead to near-daily air force patrols and interception missions mostly around Greek islands near Turkey's coastline. The situation exacerbated recently as both sides started deploying troops on small islands in the Aegean that up to now have been largely demilitarised.
dennis2020 Fri, 10/14/2022 - 07:37
Charles Michel to visit Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan at the end of the month

European Council president, Charles Michel is expected to bvisit Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan at the end of October.

Michel tweeted 

Pleased about President @TokayevKZ’s invite to visit Astana & attend the Central Asian leaders meeting on 26-27/10.
Also pleased about visiting Uzbekistan on 28/10 & meet with President Mirziyoyev.
🇪🇺 is ready to deepen ties with Central Asia & support intra-regional cooperation

dennis2020 Tue, 10/11/2022 - 06:50
Editor's choice
Monday Commentary
Monday Commentary: Success in Prague

Monday Commentary: Success in Prague

On 6 October in Prague, the leaders of 44 European countries gathered in the historic settings of Prague Castle for the first meeting of the European Political Community (EPC). Such an initiative was needed. The war in Ukraine, Russia’s bellicose postures, and the threat of an energy crisis caused by the disruption of Russian energy supplies have helped focus the minds of European leaders. Prague offered an opportunity to discuss and analyse and approximate positions. Important discussions on the margins of the main event, such as the quadripartite meeting with Armenia and Azerbaijan and the Turkey-Armenia leaders meeting, contributed to the process of resolving some of the more intractable problems of the last decades. The work of the European Political Community needs now to be taken forward. In future, the biggest task of the EPC will be to engage Russia. But not yet. For the moment the Community has done what is needed, which is to contribute to build a united front against Russian aggression in Ukraine. It must continue to do so until Russian aggression ends.
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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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First Summit of the European Political Community opens in Prague

First Summit of the European Political Community opens in Prague

In the historic settings of Prague Castle, leaders from across Europe gathered on Thursday for the first summit of the European Political Community. Apart from the leaders of the 27 EU member states, leaders from non EU member states are also attending, including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom With the dramatic consequences of Russia’s aggression war, EU leaders agreed during the European Council meeting in June 2022 to launch the European Political Community with the aim of bringing together countries on the European continent. The ambition is to bring leaders together on the European continent and to foster their cooperation on issues of common interest, revolving around peace and security, the economic situation, energy and climate, and migration and mobility. No formal written outcome of the European Political Community is envisaged. After the traditional family photo, the meeting kicked off with a round table discussion on peace and security in Europe. This story will be updated throughout the day.
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Leaders gather in Prague for first summit of European Political Community

Leaders gather in Prague for first summit of European Political Community

Leaders from across Europe have gathered at Prague Castle for the launch of the European Political Community. Apart from the leaders of the 27 EU member states, leaders from non EU member states are also attending, including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom An unusual scene, even before the summit had started was of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish President Recip Tayip Erdogan meeting informally before the opening of the summit. This story will be updated throughout the day.