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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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News
EU to integrate financial contributions to Ukraine into its 2023 budget

EU to integrate financial contributions to Ukraine into its 2023 budget

On Tuesday (4 October), the European Union announced that it will integrate financial support to Ukraine into its 2023 budget, making its monetary contributions more structured and predictable, thus easing the economic pressures on war-torn Ukraine. The support payments will tighten the links between the EU and Ukraine, which got one step closer to achieving full EU membership after being granted candidate status earlier this year.  The decision to formalise the financial support was taken after criticism from the United States and others, who have accused the EU of delaying current support payments, and thereby raising doubts on how committed the EU is to Ukraine’s reconstruction after the war’s conclusion.  Out of the €9 billion promised in May this year, only €1 billion has so far been paid out, while the next payment of €5 billion is expected to reach Kyiv before the end of the year. Meanwhile, the United States has contributed over €10 billion in financial support, and over €25 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion in late February. Financially, Ukraine is struggling significantly as a result of the ongoing war with Russia. Reports estimate that monthly foreign aid of approximately €5 billion is required for the Ukrainian economy to stay afloat. Oleg Ustenko, the economic adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, predicts that Ukraine’s deficit will shrink in the coming year to approximately €3.5 billion per month, as Ukraine has managed to resume initially disrupted economic activities in its western regions.
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Monday Commentary
Opinion: Preparing for the worst, whilst working to avoid it

Opinion: Preparing for the worst, whilst working to avoid it

Putin’s annexation of parts of Ukraine takes the world to the verge of War, but a stronger and more united global condemnation of Russian aggression can still make Putin step back. Monday Commentary is back. Every Monday, commonspace.eu Managing Editor, Dennis Sammut discusses a hot topic on the European and international agenda. This week he weighs the implications of Russia’s annexation of parts of Ukraine, and the dilemma it poses to the rest of the world. He argues that it takes the world to the verge of a world war involving nuclear-armed states. But this can still be avoided if there is more global unity in condemnation of the Russian aggression.
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Editorial
Editorial: A dark day in the history of Europe

Editorial: A dark day in the history of Europe

Friday, 30 September 2022 will for a long time be remembered as a sad and dark day for Europe. This afternoon, at 15:00 (12:00 GMT) in the St George Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace president Vladimir Putin will hold a signing ceremony annexing four more regions of Ukraine into the Russian Federation. The events in Europe in the 1930 are repeating themselves with an eerie familiarity: a big country invades a smaller neighbouring country, organises a sham referendum in parts or all of that country, after which it claims the moral authority to annex that territory or country.  In an act of cynicism late on Thursday, the Russian president signed two decrees recognising Zaporizhzhia and Kherson as independent territories. Their so called independence will last for only a few hours, before they are absorbed into Russia. The documents, shared on Russian state media, say the independence of the two regions is being recognised in accordance with international law and "enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations". However, UN Secretary General António Guterres has said any annexation of a country's territory based on the use of force violates the UN Charter and international law. Europeans thought that those times were over, and that the lessons had been learnt. Apparently not. Russia's invasion of Ukraine last February set the stage for what will take place in the Kremlin today. After votes in Luhansk and Donetsk in the east of Ukraine, and in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in the south, Russia will annexe them, in defiance of the wish of the Ukrainian people and their legitimate government, and of most of the international community. It has already acted in this way once, when in 2014, in similar circumstances it occupiued and annexed Crimea. Today's events are being hailed as a victiory by the Kremlin. A stage has already been set up in Moscow's Red Square, with billboards proclaiming the four regions as part of Russia and a concert planned for the evening in celebration. Some Russians may decide to follow the misguided steps of their leaders, but for the rest of Europe today is a sad and dark day.
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News
Macron hosts Pashinyan at the Elysee to discuss situation in the South Caucasus

Macron hosts Pashinyan at the Elysee to discuss situation in the South Caucasus

French president. Emanuel Macron on Monday (26 September) hosted Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan at the Elysee Palace to discuss the current situation in the South Caucasus, and particularly Armenian-Azerbaijani relations. Macron described the situation following the recent armned clashes on 13-14 September as "critical". President Macron said France will do everything to pursue its goal, which is a stable, safe and prosperous South Caucasus." Macron also discussed the issue of relations between Armenia and Turkey. "This is a difficult but very necessary process and you know that France is also committed to this issue. This process is very important for the region", he said. In conclusion, Macron reiterated France's commitment to achieving peace and stability for Armenia and the entire region. "I welcome your sense of responsibility and your position to do everything to establish peace.  I want your country to have calm and peaceful borders", Macron told Pashinyan in his opening remarks.
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Germany seals major energy deal with the UAE

Germany seals major energy deal with the UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Germany signed a "landmark agreement" on Sunday (25 September) aimed at accelerating joint efforts to boost energy security, decarbonisation and combat climate change. The major deal was struck in the presence of UAE President, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is currently visiting the Emirates. The deal secures the delivery of 137,000 cubic meters of LNG to be sent to the new LNG terminal in Brunsbüttel near Hamburg in December. According to the dpa news agency, the amount included in the first delivery equates to around 0.95 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. However, the LNG deal can only make up for a small part of the 56.3 billion cubic meters of gas that Germany received from Russia in 2020.
Opinion: Macron's 'European Political Community' offers an opportunity for a continent-wide approach to critical security issues
French President Emmanuel Macron's proposal to create a "European Political Community" can, if handled correctly, provide a permanent framework where EU countries and other European states can interact on critical political and security issues. However, for the community to succeed it must not simply become an extension of the EU. It must be designed to ensure that all countries involved have a voice in fostering political dialogue and cooperation in order to address issues of common interest, writes Maximiliaan van Lange in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. Overall the idea of a European Political Community is a positive one. Ensuring that countries like Turkey and the UK can be equal partners in the discussion on the future of Europe's security, is an important and positive step. Making sure that smaller countries in the Balkans and the Caucasus can also be part of the conversation is equally relevant. But for the Community to succeed it must quickly carve a niche for itself in the crowded field of European institutions, which apart from NATO and the EU, also includes the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the Western European Union, not to mention multiple sub regional entities. The best option for the new community is to focus on security, and the security threats poised by the new Russian and Chinese assertivness.
Maximiliaan va… Sat, 09/24/2022 - 10:12