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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).

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Progress in EU hosted talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Progress in EU hosted talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan

A third round of meetings between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan hosted by the European Union in Brussels have resulted in progress on a range of issues as the two countries work to resolve the long standing conflict between them. European Council president, Charles Michel welcomed president Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and prime minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia for another meeting in trilateral format on Sunday (22 May). He later described the talks as "frank and productive". In a statement to the media late on Sunday night Michel said the talks focused on the situation in the South Caucasus and the development of EU relations with both countries as well as the broader region. Summarising the meeting, Michel said "the discussion was frank and productive. We reviewed the entire set of issues. We had a detailed discussion on humanitarian issues, including demining, and efforts to free detainees and address the fate of missing persons." He listed a number of outcomes from the meeting including on border issues, connectivity, on a future peace agreement and on socio economic development. In conclusion president Michel said that he also stressed the importance of preparing the populations for long-term sustainable peace. The EU is ready to step up its support. "We agreed to remain in close contact and will meet again in the same format by July/August." 

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Task Force Takuba, the EU's mission in the Sahel, is not going according to plan

Task Force Takuba, the EU's mission in the Sahel, is not going according to plan

The foreign ministers of Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad failed to agree on the terms for a joint ministerial summit with the European Union and have instead chosen to hold bilateral talks with EU High Representative Josep Borrel. The cancellation followed a series of coups in Mali and Burkina Faso, which has put into question the main European military tool in the Sahel region, the Takuba force. Task Force Takuba was created with much fanfare, and after a lot of French insistence, in March 2020 to help Mali and its neighbours in the West African Sahel fight militants linked to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, who have taken over large parts of their territory. 
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NATO tells Russia to withdraw its troops from Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine

NATO tells Russia to withdraw its troops from Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine

NATO has called on Russia to withdraw its troops from Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova where they are deployed without the consent of these countries. The call came as part of a western response to Russian sabre-rattling and attempts to assert the Kremlin's hegemonic control over its neighbouring countries, and amid fears of an imminent Russian military incursion in Ukraine
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'The EU and the process of reform and renewal in the Eastern Neighbourhood: six countries, six nuances and a giant elephant in the room'

'The EU and the process of reform and renewal in the Eastern Neighbourhood: six countries, six nuances and a giant elephant in the room'

The conference, 'The EU and its Eastern Neighbourhood', was held over three sessions at The Hague Humanity Hub (city centre) in The Hague on Tuesday 23 November 2021. The first session addressed the topic, 'The EU and the process of reform and renewal in the Eastern Neighbourhood: six countries, six nuances and a giant elephant in the room'. Read the summary here.
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Brussels provides Ukraine with 1.2 billion euros financial assistance package

Brussels provides Ukraine with 1.2 billion euros financial assistance package

The European Commission proposes to support Ukraine with 1.2 billion euros of new financial assistance package made of both emergency loans and grants. The country is experiencing a financial shortage and borrowing is becoming more complex and expensive now that Russia uses threatening language and has deployed military troops and heavy weapons close to Ukraine's border.
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NATO sends additional military forces to Eastern Europe because of Russian threat

NATO sends additional military forces to Eastern Europe because of Russian threat

NATO is sending extra reinforcements to its member states in Eastern European because of Russia's military troop build-up on the border with Ukraine. The deployment includes frigates, fighter jets and troops for "collective defence". The reinforcements will be stationed in the Baltic Sea and Lithuania, among other places. A Russian invasion of Ukraine now appears increasingly likely, and the US and a number of western countries have evacuated non essential staff from their missions in Kyiv.