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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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Editor's choice
Editorial
Editorial: Give Georgia EU candidate status before the end of the year

Editorial: Give Georgia EU candidate status before the end of the year

"These are difficult times for Georgia, for Europe, and for the whole world. Yet from every crisis, an opportunity arises. The Ukraine crisis has created conditions that open Georgia’s door for EU membership. Regardless of the rather unorthodox path this endeavour has taken, future generations of both Georgians and Europeans will look back at this historic moment, and say that the right thing was done," writes commonspace.eu in this editorial. "But before that, there is much work to be done. Candidate status will only be the beginning of a long, laborious and difficult process. And as a priority, the EU needs to develop a much more sophisticated communication strategy for dealing with Georgia and the Georgian people. It's useless preaching values or stating hard truths unless you can explain them in the way that your audience can understand them. Those that wanted to drive a wedge between Georgia and the EU have played on this weakness. If Georgia becomes a candidate country, dealing with this issue will become easier to deliver, even if achieving the objective will still be difficult."
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News
Georgian PM visits Brussels, says government "spares no effort to obtain EU candidate status"

Georgian PM visits Brussels, says government "spares no effort to obtain EU candidate status"

The Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili paid an official visit to Brussels yesterday Wednesday (14 June), in which he met with the European Council President, Charles Michel, and addressed this year’s Europalia biennial multidisciplinary arts festival, which is showcasing Georgian arts and culture. In a statement posted on the website of the Georgian PM, it was announced that Garibashvili held a business lunch at the invitation of President Michel, in which the process of Georgia's accession to the EU was the main topic of discussion. "Dignitaries reviewed the progress achieved by Georgia towards the implementation of 12 priorities defined by the European Commission. Leaders noted that recognition of the European Perspective of the country is a historic decision, thereby highlighting that granting the status of an EU Candidate Country to Georgia by the end of the year is critical, inter alia for ending the polarization in the country. Special attention was paid during the discussion to the security architecture in the region, along with the grave humanitarian and security position in the occupied territories of Georgia," the statement added.
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News
Swedish negotiators head to Ankara for renewed talks on NATO membership

Swedish negotiators head to Ankara for renewed talks on NATO membership

Swedish negotiators are in the Turkish capital city of Ankara today, on Wednesday (14 June), for the first set of talks with Turkey on its NATO membership bid since President Erdogan's election victory on 28 May. Sweden applied for NATO membership alongside Finland on 18 May 2022, almost three months after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. While Finland joined the military alliance on 4 April, Sweden's bid continues to be held up by objections from Turkey and Hungary. Sweden's chief NATO negotiator Oscar Stenström and top civil servant in the Swedish foreign ministry, Jan Knutsson, are expected to meet Akif Cagatay Kilic, the new security advisor appointed by President Erdogan following his 28 May victory. The two sides will discuss Sweden's membership of NATO, and the extent to which the country has fulfilled its promises in the so-called "trilateral memorandum" between Turkey, Sweden and Finland signed at NATO's summit in Madrid on 28 June last year. Last Sunday (4 June), NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urged Turkey to approve Sweden's membership ahead of the bloc's summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 11-12 July.
Editor's choice
News
Liechtenstein FM makes first official visit to Georgia

Liechtenstein FM makes first official visit to Georgia

Liechtenstein's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Education and Sports Dominique Hasler is making her first official visit to Georgia from Sunday (11 June) to Tuesday (13 June). Immediately after arriving on Sunday, Hasler visited Odzisi, the closest village to the administrative line separating Russian-occupied South Ossetia from the rest of Georgia "to get acquainted with the ongoing situation in areas adjacent to the line", according to agenda.ge. The First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Lasha Darsalia, accompanied Hasler to the occupation line. On Monday (12 June), Hasler also met with her Georgian counterpart Ilia Darchiashvili, as well as with the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Shalva Papuashvili, and the Georgian Prime Minister, Irakli Garibashvili. Describing Hasler's first official visit to Georgia as "historic", Darchiashvili highlighted the two states had potential to further strengthen economic ties through Georgia’s agreements via the European Free Trade Association, of which Liechtenstein - the six smallest country in the world - is a member. 
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News
EU interior ministers reach "historic" agreement on migration, but significant opposition remains

EU interior ministers reach "historic" agreement on migration, but significant opposition remains

Interior ministers from the European Union's 27 member states reached a deal on the bloc's migration policy yesterday (8 June) after some 12 hours of negotiations at a meeting in Luxembourg. The agreement outlines how responsibility for looking after migrants and refugees who arrive in the EU without authorisation is shared out among member states, a topic which has been the source of much disagreement since 2015, when well over 1 million migrants and refugees entered the EU, many of them fleeing the war in Syria. Under the deal agreed yesterday and set to be finalised ahead of a 2024 EU election, each country would be responsible for a set number of people, but would not necessarily have to take them in. Countries unwilling to receive irregular migrants and refugees arriving ad hoc to the EU would be able to help their hosting peers through cash - around 20,000 euros per person - equipment or personnel, reports Reuters. The agreement would introduce a new expedited border procedure for those deemed unlikely to win asylum to prevent them from lingering inside the bloc for years.