Region

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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End to sea-bed fishing on protected deep-sea ecosystems in EU waters

In dozens of different places off Europe's Atlantic coast, fishermen with fishing gear towed along the seabed are no longer welcome. The European Commission has closed different places to them to protect fish and other marine life there.

Fishermen are no longer allowed to cast their bottom nets in 87 sensitive zones along the coast of Ireland, France, Spain, and Portugal. These are areas where the ocean is between 400 and 800 metres deep. Bottom fishing in deeper water has already been banned in those parts of the Atlantic since 2016.

Maximiliaan va… Sat, 09/17/2022 - 11:44
Far-right Sweden Democrats projected to be second largest party after general election

Preliminary results from the Swedish parliamentary elections on Sunday (11 September) project the far-right Sweden Democrats becoming the second largest party. 

patrickn97 Mon, 09/12/2022 - 10:54
Albania cuts diplomatic relations with Iran accusing it of a massive cyberattack
Albania broke diplomatic relations with Iran on Wednesday. Announcing the decision, Prime Minister Edi Rama said Iran had launched a massive cyberattack against the country during the summer. “The Council of Ministers has decided on the severance of diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran with immediate effect,” he said. The prime minister accused Iran of targeting the computer networks of Albanian institutions on July 15 in an attempt to “paralyze public services and hack data and electronic communications from the government systems.” He said: “The said attack failed its purpose. Damages may be considered minimal compared to the goals of the aggressor. All systems came back fully operational and there was no irreversible wiping of data.” He added that Iranian diplomats and support staff would be given 24 hours to leave the country.
dennis2020 Thu, 09/08/2022 - 06:57
EU tells Georgia the door for membership is still ajar
Relations between Georgia and the European Union  have been passing through a difficult patch recently. Whilst both sides profess eternal love and loyalty, tensions over ongoing domestic Georgian political processes have marred what was once a good example of a harmonious relationship. Georgian prime minister, Irakli Garibashvili is currently in Brussels where he is co-chairing, with EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, a session of the EU-Georgia Council, the body that oversees the relationship. At the heart of the current state of relations is the EU's refusal to grant candidate status to Georgia, as it did recently with Ukraine and Moldova. The Georgian government is still reeling from the snub, and the Georgian opposition continues to use this as a stick to beat the government. At a press conference yesterday both sides tried to downplay differences, and the EU made it clear that the door for Georgian EU membership, whilst not exactly wide-open, was still ajar.
dennis2020 Wed, 09/07/2022 - 09:41
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Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to start working on the text of a peace treaty

Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to start working on the text of a peace treaty

The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, on Wednesday (31 August) hosted in Brussels the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, prime minister Nikol Pashinyan and president Ilham Aliyev, for talks on the future of relations between the two countries and peace in the South Caucasus. Michel said that at the meeting it was agreed "to step up substantive work to advance on the peace treaty governing inter-state relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and tasked the Foreign Ministers to meet within one month to work on draft texts." President Michel underlined that "it is important to take the population along on both sides and prepare them for a long-term sustainable peace. Public messaging is critical in this regard – in a sensitive situation like this every word spoken in public is obviously listened to by the other side and weighed. The EU is ready to further step up its support towards a long-term sustainable peace. The EU will also continue to push for the advancement of economic development for the benefit of both countries and their populations." The three leaders agreed to meet again in this format by the end of November.
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Michel hosts Aliyev and Pashinyan in Brussels tomorrow

Michel hosts Aliyev and Pashinyan in Brussels tomorrow

The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, will host the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Brussels tomorrow Wednesday (30 August) as part of efforts to help the two countries achieve lasting peace. This will be the third time Charles Michel will be welcoming President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia in less than nine months. The meeting is scheduled to start at 13.00 Brussels time. Ahead of tomorrow's meeting, Michel on Tuesday (30 August) held separate telephone conversations with the two leaders. Sources told commonspace.eu that last minute details regarding the meeting tomorrow were discussed to ensure the success of the meeting. Michel also touched on issues related with the bilateral agenda between the EU and the two countries.
France and Algeria open new chapter in relations
French President Emmanuel Macron and his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune Saturday declared a "new, irreversible dynamic of progress" in the relations between the two countries, at the end of a state visit by the French president to the former French colony. The three-day visit comes less than two months after Algeria marked six decades of independence following 132 years of French rule and a devastating eight-year war. It also comes as European powers scramble to replace Russian energy imports -- including with supplies from Algeria, Africa's top gas exporter, which in turn is seeking to expand its clout in North Africa and the Sahel. In their joint declaration on Saturday, the two leaders said "France and Algeria have decided to open a new era ... laying the foundation for a renewed partnership expressed through a concrete and constructive approach, focused on future projects and youth." Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune had on Thursday hailed "promising prospects for improving the special partnership" between the two countries. The baggage of history weighs heavily on Franco-Algerian relations. Speaking at a joint press conference with his Algerian counterpart on Thursday evening, Macron -- the first French president to be born since Algerian independence in 1962 -- said that "we didn't the choose the past, we inherited it".
dennis2020 Mon, 08/29/2022 - 08:07