European union – Europa Site http://europasite.net/ Tue, 28 Jun 2022 17:54:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://europasite.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/icon-2021-07-05T150327.373-150x150.png European union – Europa Site http://europasite.net/ 32 32 Ukraine and Moldova face a long road to EU membership https://europasite.net/ukraine-and-moldova-face-a-long-road-to-eu-membership/ Tue, 28 Jun 2022 17:35:54 +0000 https://europasite.net/ukraine-and-moldova-face-a-long-road-to-eu-membership/ Hours after the European Union made a historic decision to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova last week – a move that could open the door to EU membership – lawmakers Bulgarians recalled how long and winding the road will be. Bulgaria’s parliament voted last week to lift its own two-year veto on membership […]]]>

Hours after the European Union made a historic decision to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova last week – a move that could open the door to EU membership – lawmakers Bulgarians recalled how long and winding the road will be.

Bulgaria’s parliament voted last week to lift its own two-year veto on membership talks with neighboring North Macedonia after apparently reaching an agreement on the country’s terms of membership. North Macedonia has been a candidate for EU membership since 2005, but its accession process has been continuously hampered. Among the most vocal objections is Greece’s veto over the country’s name, which was changed from Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia in 2019 following a historic 27-year dispute between the two nations. Shortly after, Bulgaria introduced a veto in 2020 due to another long-running dispute over history and language.

The back and forth over North Macedonia’s EU membership is a message to potential new member states that while Brussels is open to new countries, not everyone in the neighborhood is. All EU enlargement decisions require the unanimous approval of member states, making the enlargement process hostage to history, language and regional rivalries. Since the 1995 enlargement for Austria, Finland and Sweden, the accession process has become longer and more complicated, the case of the Western Balkans being the most pronounced.

Hours after the European Union made a historic decision to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova last week – a move that could open the door to EU membership – lawmakers Bulgarians recalled how long and winding the road will be.

The Bulgarian parliament voted last week get up her own two years vetoed membership talks with neighboring North Macedonia after apparently reaching an agreement on the country’s terms of membership. North Macedonia is a candidate for EU membership since 2005, but its accession process has been continuously hampered. Among the most vocal objections is Greece’s veto over the country’s name, which has been amended from Macedonia to the Republic of North Macedonia in 2019 Next a historic 27-year dispute between the two nations. Soon after, Bulgaria introduced a veto in 2020 because of another long-running feud over history and language.

The back and forth over North Macedonia’s EU membership is a message to potential new member states that while Brussels is open to new countries, not everyone in the neighborhood is. All EU enlargement decisions require the unanimous approval of member states, making the enlargement process hostage to history, language and regional rivalries. Since the 1995 enlargement for Austria, Finland and Sweden, the accession process has become longer and more complicated, the case of the Western Balkans being the most pronounced.

Bulgaria insists that Macedonian identity and language have Bulgarian origins. Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, has also raised concerns about the alleged repression of Bulgarians in North Macedonia, who count around 3,500. North Macedonia has denied these claims.

Friday’s vote in the Bulgarian parliament on the veto essentially gave the green light for a draft solution drawn up by France. But it’s a conditional green light. Among the list of demands described in the document is an appeal to North Macedonia to recognise the country’s Bulgarian minority in the preamble of its constitution. There is also a requirement this “Nothing in North Macedonia’s EU accession process can be interpreted as recognition by Bulgaria of the existence of a ‘Macedonian language'”, which many Bulgarians reject as a separate language .

Skopje is unlikely to play ball. “What we have are impossible bilateral issues which are a denial of our identity,” said Nikola Dimitrov, former foreign minister of North Macedonia. “Bulgaria has received the right [by the EU] to keep us on a leash during the membership process. This means that bilateral issues will be promoted to European issues such as the rule of law. It shouldn’t be.

Relations between Western Balkan leaders and the EU came to a head on Thursday hours before the announcement on Ukraine and Moldova. In a fiery exchangeAlbanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has accused the EU of promoting a “twisted spirit of enlargement” by allowing Sofia to maintain its veto power.

“The spirit of enlargement has shifted from a shared vision of an entire community to the abduction of individual member states,” he said. Albania, which received candidate status in 2014, had much at stake: the EU gathered its application for membership with North Macedonia, as is the case in the enlargement process.

rama too rang a note of caution to Ukraine and Moldova regarding their expectations of EU membership. “North Macedonia [has been a] candidate for 17 years, if I haven’t lost count, Albania for eight years, so welcome to Ukraine. It is a good thing to grant candidate status, but I hope that the Ukrainian people will not have many illusions about this. In a text message, the Prime Minister said he was relieved by the Bulgarian vote, but described it as “the end of the very beginning”.

Albania is now likely to move on to accession negotiations with the EU while North Macedonia tries to find a compromise. The halting progress, experts say, is needed to show candidate new members that the door to the EU is not locked.

“Now that the EU grants candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova, they must ensure the credibility of the enlargement process in the Western Balkans in order to ensure the credibility of the process with these two countries”, said said Zoran Nechev, lead researcher. at IDSCS, a North Macedonian think tank. “But the process is broken in the Balkans, and I guess they [the EU] wanted to know they could move something.

But Bulgaria’s appeasement set a dangerous precedent for the future of EU enlargement, analysts fear. Not only will this likely further boost nationalist sentiment in North Macedonia and Bulgaria, but it could also set a roadmap for other member states on how to use the enlargement process to settle old scores with the countries neighbors.

“An example could be Hungary vetoing Ukraine’s progress in accession talks on Transcarpathia,” Nechev said, referring to the western part of Ukraine which is home to around 150,000 ethnic Hungarians. . Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, Budapest had threatens to block Kyiv’s NATO membership due to the country’s language law, which granted Ukraine a special status and made secondary schools switch to Ukrainian and teach minority languages ​​in separate classes.

“At the end of the day, this is a Pyrrhic victory for Bulgaria. There is no love lost among the alleged brothers in North Macedonia,” said Dimitar Bechev, from the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies Dimitar Kovacevski, the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, “is in a ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t’ position,” Bechev said.

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Biden: G-7 to ban Russian gold imports to pressure Putin on Ukraine https://europasite.net/biden-g-7-to-ban-russian-gold-imports-to-pressure-putin-on-ukraine/ Sun, 26 Jun 2022 21:40:00 +0000 https://europasite.net/biden-g-7-to-ban-russian-gold-imports-to-pressure-putin-on-ukraine/ Placeholder while loading article actions TELFS, Austria — President Biden and several of his Group of Seven counterparts announced a ban on further Russian gold imports on Sunday — and appeared to be heading for a consensus on a cap on Russian gas prices — to further isolate the country from financial markets and punish […]]]>
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TELFS, Austria — President Biden and several of his Group of Seven counterparts announced a ban on further Russian gold imports on Sunday — and appeared to be heading for a consensus on a cap on Russian gas pricesto further isolate the country from financial markets and punish President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine.

A ban on gold imports, which could cost tens of billions of dollars in fines, has emerged as the main new economic sanction aimed at pushing Russia out of the summit. Administration officials declined to comment on whether further punitive action would be taken.

“The United States has imposed unprecedented costs on Putin to deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war on Ukraine,” Biden said. tweeted Sunday morning, noting that gold is “a major export that brings in tens of billions of dollars for Russia.”

Biden and other leaders of industrialized countries have started their meetings in southern Germany on Sunday for a summit that is expected to be dominated by discussions of the fallout from the war in Ukraine.

Biden, who arrived late Saturday evening, attended mass with a US Army priest before starting his day with a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to discuss the war.

The two leaders had a little chat as Biden, silhouetted by the Alps, joked that he had skied a lot but hadn’t in a while. “It’s beautiful,” he remarked.

The conversation then turned more serious, with Biden thanking Scholz for Germany’s resolve and ability to keep the alliance together. “We have to stay together. Because Putin was counting from the start that NATO and the G-7 would part ways one way or another,” Biden said. “But we haven’t, and we’re not going to.”

In the afternoon, summit leaders announced a new global infrastructure investment program, with the aim of mobilizing $600 billion in public and private investment by 2027. United pledging $200 billion – would go to improving health, communications and energy. infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries. It aims to help counter ambitious global spending by China, which has invested heavily in Africa and Asia through its Belt and Road Initiative.

“Our nations and our world stand at a true inflection point in history,” Biden said.

Some of the initial plans highlighted by Biden administration officials include a $2 billion project to develop a solar panel project in southern Angola; building telecommunications cables that would link Singapore to France via Egypt and the Horn of Africa, extending high-speed internet access; and the construction of a large manufacturing plant for multiple vaccines in Senegal.

The day also included hints of disagreements between some of the top leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In a statement, Downing Street said Johnson had “emphasized” to Macron that “any attempt to settle the [Ukraine] the current conflict will only cause lasting instability and will give Putin the right to manipulate both sovereign countries and international markets in perpetuity.

The remarks appeared to be a criticism of Macron’s comments in mid-June that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his officials will have to negotiate with Russia at some point. Before Macron, Scholz and other European leaders traveled to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, the comments raised fears among Ukrainian officials that France and Germany were pushing for talks with Russia amid the economic toll of the war escalates.

Russia earned nearly $100 billion from fuel exports in first 100 days of war, report says

French officials dismissed such concerns and said it was up to Ukraine to determine when the time for talks was right. A spokesman for the French presidency said on Sunday that Macron and Johnson “had a discussion on Ukraine during which the president firmly reaffirmed his determination to support Ukraine.”

France has delivered or pledged almost a quarter of its existing stockpiles of Caesar artillery weapon systems to Ukraine, and the country’s reduced dependence on Russian fossil fuels has allowed France to become one of the first champions of a European Union embargo on Russian oil.

But Macron and Scholz have spoken to Putin several times on the phone since the invasion, drawing particular criticism in Eastern Europe.

The United States pushed for an agreement on a price cap on Russian oil imports to hurt Moscow’s ability to finance the war. G-7 leaders are heading towards a consensus on a price cap, according to a person with knowledge of Sunday’s talks who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private talks.

The aim is to simultaneously cap the amount nations pay for Russian oil, hoping to hurt Moscow’s ability to finance the war, while trying to reduce inflation at the fuel pump. Soaring oil prices have hampered some of the countries’ efforts to diversify away from Russian energy, as Moscow is paid more for lower volume.

To entice other countries to participate, the leaders discussed ways to make it difficult to insure or ship Russian oil that does not meet the price cap.

At Sunday’s meeting, Macron stressed that a price cap should also cover gas. Price caps on Russian natural gas flowing through pipelines to Europe are seen as easier to enforce because the infrastructure means it cannot be sold elsewhere.

Scholz warned that an oil price cap would only be helpful if all buyers agreed. “The issues to be resolved are not trivial issues,” said a German official. “But we are on the right track to find an agreement.”

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has raised concerns about the potential political ramifications of the price hike. “The energy crisis must not produce a return of populism,” he said, according to the individual with details of the discussion.

“Capping the price of fossil fuels imported from Russia has a geopolitical purpose as well as an economic and social purpose,” Draghi said. “We need to reduce our funding to Russia. And we must eliminate one of the main causes of inflation.

Biden calls for dramatic increase in aid to Ukraine

In a briefing with reporters ahead of the summit, administration officials touted the decision to ban gold imports as an important demonstration that the world’s largest economies are prepared to continue to punish Russia, one of the largest gold exporters in the world. The official announcement will take place on Tuesday, according to administration officials, and the US Treasury Department will make a formal decision to ban further gold imports.

“The United States has rallied the world by imposing rapid and significant economic costs to deprive Putin of the revenue he needs to fund his war,” one of the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance with basic briefing rules.

The official hinted at additional steps that could be taken to further isolate Russia, but suggested these would come in the coming weeks, rather than more immediately as part of the summit.

“This is a key export, a key source of income, a key alternative for Russia, in terms of its ability to transact in the global financial system,” the official said. “Taking this action cuts off that capability and is yet another continuing illustration of the kinds of actions the G-7 can take collectively to continue to isolate Russia and cut it off from the global economy.”

One of the goals of the United States and its international partners, the official said, would be to prevent Russia – which has found ways to circumvent previous sanctions – from evading the import ban. The fact that they moved toward banning gold imports, administration officials said, was actually a sign that other ways for Russia to access global financial markets had been cut off.

Russian oligarchs, for example, have sought to buy gold bullion to avoid the financial impact of Western sanctions, and G-7 leaders hope that will send another signal to Putin’s key allies.

“The measures we announced today will directly affect the Russian oligarchs and strike at the heart of Putin’s war machine,” Johnson said as part of his own announcement regarding the ban on gold imports.

“We must deprive the Putin regime of its funding,” he added. “The UK and our allies are doing just that.”

Ashley Parker in Telfs and Annabelle Timsit in London contributed to this report.

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European Parliament supports granting EU candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova https://europasite.net/european-parliament-supports-granting-eu-candidate-status-to-ukraine-and-moldova/ Thu, 23 Jun 2022 16:34:00 +0000 https://europasite.net/european-parliament-supports-granting-eu-candidate-status-to-ukraine-and-moldova/ JThe European Union has taken an important step towards the approval of Ukraine’s candidacy. The European Parliament on Thursday adopted a resolution calling on heads of state to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova. “By 529 votes to 45 with 14 abstentions, Parliament on Thursday adopted a resolution calling on the Heads of […]]]>

JThe European Union has taken an important step towards the approval of Ukraine’s candidacy.

The European Parliament on Thursday adopted a resolution calling on heads of state to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova.

“By 529 votes to 45 with 14 abstentions, Parliament on Thursday adopted a resolution calling on the Heads of State or Government – who are holding their summit today and tomorrow – to grant candidate status to the EU to Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova,” MPs said in a statement.

THE SCANDAL OF ILLEGAL FISHING FLEETS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

Parliament also called for EU leaders to do the same for the country of Georgia “once its government has delivered” on the particular pledges required for admission. These promises include resolving the country’s political polarization, ensuring the full functioning of all the country’s institutions, and adopting a transparent judicial reform strategy.

“Ukrainians, Moldovans and Georgians deserve to live in free, democratic and prosperous countries which are proud and committed members of the European family”, said MEPs in the vote, “urging the European Council to make a first important step towards realizing the legitimate aspirations of the citizens of these three countries.”

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Ukrainian officials were delighted with the development. “Once again, the European Parliament demonstrates its unwavering support for Ukraine’s aspirations to the EU. Thank you, Roberta Metsola, for adopting the relevant symbolic resolution today. Ukraine is a European country. And this right not only on the battlefield but also in the legal sphere,” Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Chairman Ruslan Stefanchuk said in a Facebook post.

The vote came days after the European Commission ruled in favor of candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova on the condition that they improve their judicial system and establish anti-corruption bodies, among other government reforms. .

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The European Union rallies behind Ukraine. But fatigue is around the corner. https://europasite.net/the-european-union-rallies-behind-ukraine-but-fatigue-is-around-the-corner/ Mon, 20 Jun 2022 04:42:45 +0000 https://europasite.net/the-european-union-rallies-behind-ukraine-but-fatigue-is-around-the-corner/ Placeholder while loading article actions You are reading an excerpt from Today’s WorldView newsletter. Sign up to get the rest for freeincluding news from around the world and interesting ideas and opinions to know, delivered to your inbox every day of the week. Ukraine received a welcome diplomatic boost late last week. On Friday, the […]]]>
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You are reading an excerpt from Today’s WorldView newsletter. Sign up to get the rest for freeincluding news from around the world and interesting ideas and opinions to know, delivered to your inbox every day of the week.

Ukraine received a welcome diplomatic boost late last week. On Friday, the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, published an opinion recommending that Ukraine (along with Moldova, its former small Soviet neighbour) be granted candidate status for European Union membership. . A list of prominent European leaders said the decision was necessary, primarily as a gesture of solidarity and recognition of Ukrainian courage and bravery on the battlefield in the face of the ongoing Russian invasion.

“Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a press conference on Friday, while sporting a yellow blazer over a blue blouse – colors of the flag. Ukrainian. “We want them to live…the European dream.”

The day before, the leaders of the three largest economies of the European Union traveled to Kyiv via an overnight train from Poland and also expressed their support for Ukraine’s possible accession to the European Union. French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi appeared alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at a joint press conference.

“We are at a turning point in our history,” Draghi said, echoing rhetoric first popularized by Scholz. “Every day”, he added, “the Ukrainian people defend the values ​​of democracy and freedom which are the pillars of the European project, of our project”.

The war in Ukraine and a “turning point in history”

Entry into the continental bloc is not a fait accompli. First, all 27 EU member states must agree to grant candidate status to Ukraine. And then a tangled political and bureaucratic process awaits as the Kyiv government attempts to bring its institutions and regulations into line with the rest of the union. Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey are the current official candidates to join the bloc.

Kyiv already has reasons for disappointment. He wanted expedited candidate status without conditions. “But the commission has listed six steps it wants Ukraine to take,” my colleagues reported. “Among them: put in place laws to ensure the selection of qualified judges and limit the influence of the oligarchs. He also called on Ukraine to improve its record of corruption investigations, prosecutions and convictions.

“Ukraine was not close before and it is not now,” said an EU diplomat, who spoke to my colleagues on condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.

Ukraine’s accession could take years, especially because the country is at war with Russia. And that might not happen at all, with the risk that future political developments in Kyiv and other European capitals will derail the process.

Turkey, for example, gained candidate status in 1999 and began membership talks in 2005. But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s autocratic hijacking of the West, combined with hostility from parts of Europe membership of a major Muslim-majority nation — effectively froze the prospect of Turkey’s entry.

EU leaders happy to pose with Zelensky, hesitant on Ukraine membership

Ukraine does not face such civilizational angst — it has become a sort of common thread for European politicians and commentators, who see in its struggle a unifying and unifying moment for the geopolitical West. For weeks, Ukrainian officials and parliamentarians have made their case to governments across the continent on broader ideological grounds.

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, a Ukrainian parliamentarian, told me last month that Ukraine’s membership of the European Union would be a blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s neo-imperialist ambitions, and force him to “understand that Ukraine is part of another civilisation”. .”

Ukrainian soldiers are “not fighting exclusively for their soil”, but in the hope of extending Europe’s liberal project to their country, she said. “The Ukrainians must receive a ray of light at the end of the tunnel.”

For now, however, the tunnel of war remains long, winding and dark. On Sunday, Zelensky returned from a visit to the front lines in the south of the country, where Russia is seeking to consolidate major territorial gains. “We won’t cede the south to anyone,” he said – partly a statement of defiance as over-armed Ukrainian fighters hold the line, but also an implied rejection of suggestions from some corners elsewhere that Kyiv might need to settle for territorial concessions.

His remarks also served as a reminder that the tide of battle is swinging ominously in the direction of the Kremlin in some parts of the country, with Russia likely bracing for new offensives in the coming weeks. During his second visit to Kyiv, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned of “war fatigue” demoralizing the West as Russia “inches its way” into Ukraine.

Putin clarifies his imperial claims

The bravado of visiting European dignitaries belies a more fragile reality. European unity will be threatened by economic pressures; Russia’s recent decision to drastically cut gas deliveries to the continent has now warned analysts of a harsh and costly winter for much of Europe.

A poll released last week by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) revealed the emergence of two distinct political camps among the European public when it comes to opinions on the war in Ukraine. On the one hand, there is the “peace” camp, which seeks to end the war as soon as possible – “even if that means Ukraine has to make concessions”, ECFR noted. Then there is the “justice” camp, which believes that punishing Russia and restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity must take precedence over demands for peace.

Of the 10 countries studied, Italy stands out strongly in the first camp and Poland in the second. “There are potential divisions over the cost of living, refugees and nuclear escalation, but the big divide is between those who want to end the war as quickly as possible and those who want Russia punished. “ECFR Director Mark Leonard noted in a statement. declaration by e-mail. “If mishandled, the rift between the ‘peace camp’ and the ‘justice camp’ on Ukraine could be as damaging as that between creditors and debtors during the euro crisis.

For now, European leaders are advocating courage and resilience. “We must not relax our support for Ukraine,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag over the weekend. “Although the costs are high, not only for military support, but also because of rising energy and food prices.”

Putin, however, may feel a vulnerability. “They think that the dominance of the West in world politics and the economy is constant and eternal,” he declared grandiosely during a conference in Saint Petersburg. “But nothing is forever.”

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Ukraine fight continues, Boris Johnson pledges long-term support https://europasite.net/ukraine-fight-continues-boris-johnson-pledges-long-term-support/ Sat, 18 Jun 2022 12:28:00 +0000 https://europasite.net/ukraine-fight-continues-boris-johnson-pledges-long-term-support/ EU summit expected to support Ukraine’s candidate status Approval of Ukraine’s candidacy marks a major change Britain’s Johnson warns of ‘Ukraine fatigue’ The Battle of Sievierodonetsk continues More rocket fire and shelling in eastern and central Ukraine KYIV, June 18 (Reuters) – With a further blessing for its European ambitions and the promise of strong […]]]>
  • EU summit expected to support Ukraine’s candidate status
  • Approval of Ukraine’s candidacy marks a major change
  • Britain’s Johnson warns of ‘Ukraine fatigue’
  • The Battle of Sievierodonetsk continues
  • More rocket fire and shelling in eastern and central Ukraine

KYIV, June 18 (Reuters) – With a further blessing for its European ambitions and the promise of strong and continued support from Britain, Ukraine continued to fight on Saturday, with Kyiv troops resisting to the Russian assault on a central eastern city and communities pounded by heavier bombardments.

At a summit next week, EU leaders are expected to grant Ukraine candidate status following Friday’s recommendation from the bloc’s executive, putting Kyiv on track to achieve an aspiration seen as out of reach before the invasion, although actual accession could take years. Read more

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Friday and offered training to Ukrainian forces, stressed on Saturday the need to continue to support the country and avoid “Ukraine fatigue” after nearly four months of war.

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On the battlefields, the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk, the prime target of Moscow’s offensive aimed at taking full control of the eastern region of Lugansk, remained under fire from Russian artillery and rockets, announced on Saturday the Ukrainian army.

“In order to improve their tactical situation, the enemy units tried to carry out assault operations outside the city but without success,” the army general staff said in a daily update.

Local authorities reported shelling overnight from several locations in the eastern regions of Lugansk and Kharkiv and further west in Poltava and Dnipropetrovsk. Rockets hit the central town of Kryvyi Rih on Saturday, killing at least two people, local authorities said on the Telegram messaging app.

Russian rockets also hit a suburb of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, on Saturday morning, hitting a municipal building and starting a fire in an apartment building, but causing no casualties, a regional governor said.

Reuters could not independently confirm the battlefield accounts.

Moscow denies targeting civilians in what it calls a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of dangerous nationalists who threaten its Russian-speaking population.

Kyiv and its allies dismiss this as a baseless pretext for war.

“The Russians are taking it step by step and it’s vital for us to show what we know to be true, which is that Ukraine can and will win,” Johnson told reporters on his return to Britain from Kyiv. read more “When Ukraine’s fatigue sets in, it is very important to show that we are with them for the long haul,” he said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba struck a similar tone in an article published Friday by Foreign Policy magazine, calling on the West to continue to help Ukraine both with heavy weapons and sustained pressure on Moscow with sanctions. Read more

“The West cannot afford any sanctions fatigue, regardless of the broader economic costs,” he wrote.

OPPOSITE EFFECT

One of President Vladimir Putin’s goals when he sent thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24 was to halt the NATO military alliance’s eastward expansion and keep its southern neighbor in outside the Western sphere of influence.

But the war, which has killed thousands, turned cities to rubble and forced millions to flee, has had the opposite effect.

He convinced neutral Finland and Sweden to seek NATO membership and helped pave the way for Ukraine’s bid for EU membership.

“The Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday, while announcing her decision to recommend Ukraine and its neighbor Moldova as candidates for membership of the European Union. the EU.

“We want them to live the European dream with us,” she said, wearing a yellow blazer over a blue blouse, in Ukrainian colors.

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Reporting from Reuters offices Writing by Tomasz Janowski, editing by Frances Kerry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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In energy-strapped Europe, coal gets a recall https://europasite.net/in-energy-strapped-europe-coal-gets-a-recall/ Thu, 16 Jun 2022 03:20:38 +0000 https://europasite.net/in-energy-strapped-europe-coal-gets-a-recall/ By DEREK GATOPOULOS June 16, 2022 GMT https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-climate-greece-european-union-9efd79325d2c67afe414a97c56d87198 KOZANI, Greece (AP) — At Greece’s largest coal mine, controlled explosions and the roar of giant excavators scooping up blasted rock are once again commonplace. Coal production was accelerated at the site near the town of Kozani in northern Greece during the war in Ukraine forced many […]]]>

By DEREK GATOPOULOS

June 16, 2022 GMT

KOZANI, Greece (AP) — At Greece’s largest coal mine, controlled explosions and the roar of giant excavators scooping up blasted rock are once again commonplace. Coal production was accelerated at the site near the town of Kozani in northern Greece during the war in Ukraine forced many European countries to rethink their energy supply.

Coal, long considered a legacy fuel in Europe, is now helping the continent preserve its electricity supply and cope with soaring natural gas prices caused by war.

Electricity generated by coal in the European Union jumped 19% in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the previous year, according to the EU’s energy directorate, faster than any other energy source , as tension rose between Russia and Ukraine and before the invasion in late February.

Russian gas accounted for more than 40% of total gas consumption in the EU last year, leaving the bloc searching for alternatives as prices rose and supply was cut to several countries. Russia also supplied 27% of the EU’s oil imports and 46% of its coal imports.

The crisis has caught Greece at a difficult time in its own transition.

For decades, the country has relied on domestic mining of lignite, a low-grade, high-emitting type of coal, but recently accelerated plans to shut down older power plants, promising to make renewables Greece’s main source of energy by 2030. Currently, renewables make up about a third of the country’s energy mix.

A recently completed solar park, one of the largest in Europe, is just half an hour’s drive from the country’s largest open-pit lignite mine, near the northern town of Kozani.

At the inauguration of the new solar facility, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced a 50% increase in lignite production until 2024 to build up reserves. Plans to retire more coal-fired power plants have been put on hold.

“Not only Greece, but all European countries are making minor changes to their energy transition programs with short-term – and I emphasize short-term – measures,” Mitsotakis said at the April 6 event. .

Greek officials say the country is naturally suited to the development of solar and wind energy. It tests EU-sponsored battery technology attempt to wean its islands off expensive and polluting diesel-powered local power plants.

The Kozani mine covers an area nearly nine times the size of New York’s JFK airport: a black basin sunk into land surrounded by forests and poppy fields. Excavators use claw wheels higher than the side of a house to load coal into long conveyor belt lanes.

“It was the heart of Greece’s energy production,” mine manager Antonis Nikou said, speaking outside the plant and standing near the Orthodox Christian Church of Saint Barbara, the traditional protector miners, firefighters and others facing danger at work.

Nikou sees the end of the coal era in Greece as inevitable, a conviction shared for the rest of the EU by his own policymakers and many experts who argue that coal’s brief comeback will only serve as a safety net for that countries are stepping up renewable energy and updating their power grids.

“Trying to feel safe in terms of not being cold next winter is understandable, but it’s a very short-term arrangement,” said Elif Gunduzyeli, senior energy policy coordinator. at the Climate Action Network Europe, a coalition of environmental campaigns based in Brussels. groups.

The money needed to modernize the coal industry and find new deposits, she says, no longer attracts investors.

The integration of post-war Western Europe was largely driven by coal ‒ the European Coal and Steel Community formed in 1951 eventually evolved into the European Union ‒ but coal consumption the EU has long been overshadowed by other nations. China uses more coal than the rest of the world combined.

EU coal consumption has fallen by more than 60% over the past 30 years, with the decline accelerating since 2018.

Regulation in Europe and how it achieves international climate goals is closely watched by other industrial powers, as well as how it manages to save local economies in endangered mining communities.

Officially named the West Macedonia Lignite Center, the Kozani mine now employs 1,500 workers, down from 6,000 in the 1990s. The nearby 400-hectare (1,000-acre) solar park only hires 20.

The Greek Electricity Workers’ Union is lobbying the government to give coal a longer lifespan, instead of using gas imports which are now more expensive.

“It is clear that this transition has not taken place on a level playing field but in a way that has supported the interests of natural gas,” labor leader George Adamidis told the AP in an interview. “We made the decision to move away from Russian natural gas, but importing liquefied natural gas from the United States and elsewhere also involves a process that pollutes and therefore does not serve our climate goals.”

The union wants to extend the life of modern coal-fired power plants by around five years, until 2035, and even increase its share of electricity production from less than 15% currently to around 25%.

The government says money from the European Union’s Just Transition Fund, set up to help coal mining communities and other transition victims, will be used to help areas like Kozani with multiple programs, including including restoration of mined lands.

But Pavlos Deligiannis, a retired mine worker, urged authorities to extend the transition and give alternative industries tax breaks and other financial incentives to invest in the region and create jobs.

“We all know charcoal has an expiration date,” he said. “Our young people are leaving town… If you want a smooth transition, you think about the next business before closing the existing one. This is not what happened here, we did the opposite and we are not prepared for the green transition.

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Follow Gatopoulos at https://twitter.com/dgatopoulos

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Costas Kantouris in Thessaloniki, Greece contributed.

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The Associated Press’s climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. Learn more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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EU lagging behind in Indo-Pacific race https://europasite.net/eu-lagging-behind-in-indo-pacific-race/ Tue, 14 Jun 2022 05:12:49 +0000 https://europasite.net/eu-lagging-behind-in-indo-pacific-race/ If the geopolitical pivot to the Indo-Pacific was a race, then the European Union risks being left behind at the turn. The United States has just signed an economic and trade framework – IPEF – which covers the Quad members and seven ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines. Some 18 months have passed […]]]>

If the geopolitical pivot to the Indo-Pacific was a race, then the European Union risks being left behind at the turn.

The United States has just signed an economic and trade framework – IPEF – which covers the Quad members and seven ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines.

Some 18 months have passed since China struck a mammoth free trade agreement – RCEP – with all ASEAN members plus Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

The European Commission presented a joint communication on the “EU Indo-Pacific Strategy” in September 2021, but many EU members have yet to agree to make it a geostrategic priority.

This is why European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was still talking about “visions” and “intentions” for the region at the EU-Japan summit this month.

It is true that the region is more a political construct than a geographical one. Either way, its geopolitical importance cannot be overlooked. It’s time for the EU to ignite the afterburner and catch up with the race leaders.

The nations that make up the region’s core are home to more than 50% of the world’s population, 3,000 different languages ​​and many of the largest armies in the world, as noted by the US Indo-Pacific Command.

Asia alone will comfortably provide more than 60% of global economic growth by the end of the current decade. Its middle classes are growing at an unprecedented rate and could exceed 3 billion people by 2030.

Europe’s vision of the Indo-Pacific has been defined by the fundamental interests of democratic and economic development. This must expand as security and defense issues come to the fore.

Clearly China has always recognized such a breadth of commitment (look no further than its shock security pact with the Solomon Islands), while US President Joe Biden’s IPEF deal is just one part of an effort to provide Asian countries with an alternative to China. across multiple spheres.

It was therefore positive to read the words of Gabriele Visentin, the EU’s special envoy for the Indo-Pacific. He recently spoke of a desire to strengthen the union’s defense strategy “whenever necessary” and to more firmly defend the interests of the bloc, including the rules-based multilateral order.

The re-election of President Emmanuel Macron in France, who showed a keen interest in the Indo-Pacific during his first term, is another boost.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has accelerated EU action in global security and defense policy, removing several of the obstacles, including the lack of a coherent strategic culture among members, which have limited progress on this front.

The question is whether this is a real turning point, and which can be translated further.

The right partners

The EU’s success in the Indo-Pacific will depend on the commitment of the right partners. Beyond similar traditional views – think Australia or New Zealand – the Philippines presents an intriguing opportunity.

A well-established democracy, with an economy recovering faster from the pandemic than nearly all of its neighbors, it is moving to a new administration after six years under the provocative but popular Rodrigo Duterte.

His successor, Bongbong Marcos, takes office in a few weeks. He makes reassuring statements about his constructive engagement with the international community – in both East and West.

While the Philippines is traditionally seen as a Western ally, the Duterte administration has pursued a policy of appeasement with China, although it has faced setbacks in recent months due to rising tensions in the South China Sea.

Concerns that new President Ferdinand Marcos would quickly turn to China seem unfounded. His campaign message of unity should also apply to his foreign policy, with a clear desire to act as a bridge between China and the West.

Although he spoke of shifting relations with China into a “higher gear”, he was also firm in upholding the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruling against Beijing over the South China Sea, and spoke warmly about strengthening trade relations with the United States. including via IPEF.

With the return of war to its borders and the ongoing post-pandemic recovery, the EU finds itself in a radically changed strategic context.

If there is geopolitical good to come out of these human tragedies, it will be in the new and renewed strategic partnerships they are creating – on energy, defense and around shared values.

Cooperating with increasingly important players such as the Philippines, which should have an independent strategic mindset under new leadership, is a logical starting point.

The new Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, will offer an equally pragmatic and positive approach to dialogue and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific was high on the agenda of key global decision makers.

The EU would be well advised to re-engage in this theatre, not just through its traditional economic power, but in the interests of defending the rules-based multilateral order and securing peace.

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Ukraine-Russia War Breaking News: Live Updates https://europasite.net/ukraine-russia-war-breaking-news-live-updates/ Sun, 12 Jun 2022 12:32:34 +0000 https://europasite.net/ukraine-russia-war-breaking-news-live-updates/ Between the thump of artillery shells landing a few blocks away, dozens of people emerged from a communal shelter in this eastern Ukrainian town on Saturday to receive food packets from an armored pickup truck red led by a group of volunteers. It was the first aid they had seen in months. Lysychansk, an industrial […]]]>

Between the thump of artillery shells landing a few blocks away, dozens of people emerged from a communal shelter in this eastern Ukrainian town on Saturday to receive food packets from an armored pickup truck red led by a group of volunteers.

It was the first aid they had seen in months.

Lysychansk, an industrial city with a pre-war population of around 100,000, quickly became the focal point of Russia’s slow and methodical advance into eastern Ukraine. Russian forces have captured most of the nearby town of Sievierodonetsk after weeks of fierce street fighting and artillery duels. Lysychansk is just across the Seversky Donets River and will likely be the next town the Russian army tries to capture.

Although much of Lysychansk has been evacuated, many residents remain. They are staying put as the enemy closes in for many of the same reasons voiced by people who have refused to leave other cities in Ukraine since the Russian invasion in late February: lack of money, nowhere where to go, fear of looting and the need to care for disabled or elderly relatives.

But in Lysychansk, a town in Ukraine’s resource-rich and predominantly Russian-speaking Donbass region, the complaint that the Ukrainian government has abandoned them to advancing Russian forces is also present. This is a story repeated by propagandists in Moscow.

“Your government in Kyiv has abandoned us,” an elderly woman said before receiving a white bag of food from the back of the van. His words echoed a Russian radio program aired for the citizens of Lysychansk, one of whose volunteers shared with a reporter.

Credit…Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

For months, residents here have been cut off from mobile phone networks because they were damaged by the fighting, as well as gas, water and electricity networks. They are tied to the daily routines they must follow to survive – bringing water from nearby wells, making fires for cooking. Until about a month ago, they used to queue for days at a help center just to get bread, they said. Then the center was destroyed by a Russian missile.

One of the volunteers, Mykhailo Dobrishman, said it was his tenth trip to Lysychansk in recent weeks. The volunteers have a list of addresses of people outside the city who have asked them if their relatives in Lysychansk are still alive, he said.

“As we distribute the food packets, we try to persuade them to evacuate,” he said. “There are 20 people who left evacuation requests today. But it’s really hard to persuade others we meet on our way, even if they are staying with young children.

A teenage girl at the shelter, who wore a yellow T-shirt and said her name was Victoria, tried to convince her mother to leave. The volunteers had told her that her boyfriend had asked them to evacuate her and that he was waiting for her in a safer area.

For 15 minutes, the mother and daughter struggled in front of the industrial building serving as a communal shelter, while several artillery shells whizzed above their heads. Then they rushed to pack their things and urge other parents to join them.

Credit…Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

In the street near the shelter, there were freshly dug rectangular holes in the ground. “These are trenches,” Mr. Dobrishman said. “They are preparing for street fights.”

But some older neighbors said they believed the holes were graves for people who could be killed by shelling.

It is not known how many civilians were killed or injured in Lysychansk by Russian shelling. A few houses from the shelter, a man nearly lost his leg after a shell landed in his yard, residents said.

Not far from the shelter was a Soviet-style building occupied by Ukrainian soldiers. Troop vehicles were parked under the tree-lined driveway to avoid detection by Russian drones.

Outside the building, a military doctor named Sergiy, who had arrived in Lysychansk days earlier with a Ukrainian unit, said they were preparing for an assault. “We will do everything we can to ensure that the Russians do not take over the city,” he said calmly, declining to give his last name for security reasons.

Having served in different frontline towns in Ukraine since the start of the invasion, the doctor said he could not explain why so many chose to stay in a town that has been shelled incessantly for weeks .

Credit…Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

“People ride bikes here, kids run everywhere,” he said. “Maybe they’re not evacuating because they’re waiting for the other side to come.”

Luda, 52, an energetic woman who had come out of the communal shelter, where around 50 people were staying, said she was determined to stay.

“This is our Ukrainian land where we were born and where we spent our lives,” she said. “It’s my land. And whoever comes to take it will die here.

Vyacheslav Yatsenko contributed reporting.

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Ukraine’s EU membership could take decades, say diplomats https://europasite.net/ukraines-eu-membership-could-take-decades-say-diplomats/ Fri, 10 Jun 2022 18:05:00 +0000 https://europasite.net/ukraines-eu-membership-could-take-decades-say-diplomats/ Placeholder while loading article actions BRUSSELS — Ukraine is one of ours. It is marching towards a European future. The future of Europe is, in fact, the future of Ukraine. These are the messages senior European Union officials have been delivering since Russia launched its full-scale invasion and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded for a […]]]>
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BRUSSELS — Ukraine is one of ours. It is marching towards a European future. The future of Europe is, in fact, the future of Ukraine.

These are the messages senior European Union officials have been delivering since Russia launched its full-scale invasion and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded for a fast track to membership. But ahead of a European summit on the issue later this month, those messages seem increasingly at odds with the real position of member states.

It is not yet clear whether the 27 EU countries will grant Ukraine “candidate status” – a first step on the long road to membership – or some sort of symbolic pre-candidate status, diplomats said. What seems certain is that Ukraine, as it fights for its life, will be disappointed.

While several EU officials, lawmakers and leaders have pushed to fast-track Kyiv’s bid, others have tried to temper Ukraine’s expectations, pointing out that membership could be decades away. In private conversations, some EU diplomats admitted that their governments were nervous about starting the accession process with a country at war. A few wondered if Ukraine had a chance to join.

Zelensky on Friday urged the EU to pull his country out of the gray zone between Europe and Russia. Granting candidate status to Ukraine “would prove that words about the Ukrainian people’s desire to be part of the European family are not just words”, he said in a virtual address to the Copenhagen summit on democracy.

The gap between the wholehearted support of senior EU officials as they pose for photos with Zelensky and the quiet skepticism of many European diplomats weighs on preparations for the bloc’s June 23-24 summit – and does not did not go unnoticed in Kyiv.

“None of the 27 would say ‘no’ in front of the president, but what is happening behind the scenes is a clear desire to put obstacles in the way,” said Olha Stefanishyna, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration and Euro-Atlantic. of Ukraine, said during a visit to Brussels.

If it joins, Ukraine would become the fifth most populous nation in the EU, and also by far the poorest, receiving subsidies from the rest of the bloc. Last year, its gross domestic product per capita was $4,872. The poorest country in the EU, Bulgaria, was $11,683, according to International Monetary Fund estimates.

The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, is expected to make a recommendation on Ukraine’s status next week. EU diplomats said the commission could recommend candidate status but with conditions – a compromise unlikely to please Ukraine.

Since the decision is ultimately up to member states, Stefanishyna and other Ukrainian officials have traveled to European capitals to argue that Ukraine needs and deserves unconditional candidate status. “The starting point for any discussion is the legal status of Ukraine,” she said.

How NATO and EU membership became Ukraine’s unattainable dream

The debate over Ukraine’s candidacy threatens to open a rift between the country and its European backers, dealing a blow to Kyiv’s aspirations to break free from Russia’s grip and integrate more closely with its neighbors to the west.

It also risks further fracturing European unity on aid to Ukraine, exacerbating tensions between Central European countries and the Baltic states, on the one hand, which support Ukraine’s “swift bid for EU”, and Western Europeans, who tend to have more reservations about Ukraine’s readiness. .

“It’s a country at war, and they need a moral boost,” Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said in an interview. “I can imagine what Russian propaganda will do with it.”

Witold Waszczykowski, a former Polish foreign minister who is now a member of the European Parliament, said the EU must do everything it can for Ukraine, including granting candidate status. “We understand that we are next,” he said. “If Ukraine collapses, Russia will be the winner and go further west.”

EU membership and fighter jets for Ukraine remain elusive as Zelensky says ‘prove you’re with us’

Stefanishyna said Ukrainian officials were trying to persuade resisters, including “some Nordic countries”, the Netherlands and Germany.

During a visit to Kyiv last month, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stressed that there were “no shortcuts” to membership. Privately, German leaders have expressed concern that if they now open accession talks with Ukraine, Zelensky will ask by August to be admitted immediately, although the process usually takes years, have said officials familiar with their position. But the German government has not offered an official view on whether Ukraine should soon be offered candidate status.

“Germany’s official position is that it has no formal position so far,” Stefanishyna said. “We are treating this as a positive signal.”

Joining the EU is extremely complex. All the legislation of a potential member must be taken over and brought into line with the standards set in Brussels.

The bloc is also well aware that it carries much more weight before a country joins than after. Once a country has entered, it is much more difficult to influence democratic commitments – as the backsliding of some EU members has clearly shown.

For Ukraine, decades of corruption pose a problem. The country ranked 122nd out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index. Although Ukrainian leaders point to progress on this front, several EU diplomats said their governments remained concerned.

“Ukraine was not close before and it is not now,” said an EU diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. “But if enlargement is not a direct option, what do you do?”

In a speech on Europe Day last month, French President Emmanuel Macron attempted to answer that question, outlining his vision for a “European Political Community” that would include an outer circle of democracies. who want to be part of the EU – like Ukraine, and even Britain after choosing to leave.

“We feel in our hearts that Ukraine, through its fight and its courage, is already today a member of our Europe, of our family and of our union,” Macron said.

“We all know perfectly well that the process for them to join would take several years – in truth, probably several decades,” he continued. “That is the truth, unless we decide to lower the standards of this membership and therefore completely rethink the unity of our Europe.”

Macron’s proposal did not receive a warm reaction within the EU and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba rejected it outright. He called European capitals anonymous, saying their strategic ambiguity over Ukraine’s status had “emboldened Putin”.

“We don’t need substitutes for EU candidate status that show second-class treatment of Ukraine and hurt Ukrainian feelings,” he said. tweeted.

Enlargement skeptics are quick to point out that other countries are in the lead. Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia have all been in accession talks with the EU for years. Turkey applied in 1987 and remains an official candidate, although it has largely given up.

Some policymakers and diplomats recognize that Ukraine stands out because of the urgency of its situation. But they are still wary of alienating countries that applied earlier.

Ukraine has been pushing for years to integrate further into the EU, and a free trade agreement is already in place. But he formally applied for membership on February 28, four days after the Russian invasion.

The interpreter breaks down during Zelensky’s speech to the European Union

On March 1, Zelensky gave a virtual speech at an extraordinary session of the European Parliament. Speaking from a bunker in Kyiv as Russian forces pushed into Ukraine, he said his country was not just fighting for its “survival”, but “also to be equal members of Europe”.

“Prove that you are with us,” he said.

The speech landed strong. An EU interpreter was so moved by Zelensky’s evocation of the bombing of Kharkiv that he momentarily lost his temper. By the time the Ukrainian president finished speaking, the audience was on their feet.

At a March summit in Versailles, near Paris, EU leaders were more hesitant. Hours of debate culminated in a statement that the European Council “recognized Ukraine’s European aspirations and European choice” and would instruct officials in Brussels to provide an assessment.

EU announces sanctions against Russia and aid to Ukraine, but only a token on membership

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, regularly praises the country’s “European future”. During a visit to Kyiv in April, she handed Zelensky a questionnaire that marks the first stage of the candidacy process and offered words of support. “Dear Volodymyr, my message today is clear: Ukraine belongs to the European family,” she said. “This is where your path to the European Union begins.”

In Brussels, several EU diplomats said von der Leyen had made too many promises, either because she misjudged member states’ moods or because she was hoping to push them through.

More than one diplomat has put the odds of candidate status at “50/50”. A few were more skeptical, predicting a half-step, like the promise of candidate status at some point in the future, as long as the conditions are met.

Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister, said the starting point for Ukraine was unconditional candidate status. “We are not playing the game of promises,” she said.

Birnbaum reported from Washington. Quentin Ariès in Brussels contributed to this report.

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European Commission President says he will visit Egypt next week https://europasite.net/european-commission-president-says-he-will-visit-egypt-next-week/ Thu, 09 Jun 2022 00:42:16 +0000 https://europasite.net/european-commission-president-says-he-will-visit-egypt-next-week/ CAIRO – June 9, 2022: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she will travel to Egypt next week to discuss with President Abdel Fattah al Sisi the global food crises caused by the Ukraine- Russian. “The European Union maintains its food exports, and everyone should do the same.” Ursula von said in her […]]]>

CAIRO – June 9, 2022: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she will travel to Egypt next week to discuss with President Abdel Fattah al Sisi the global food crises caused by the Ukraine- Russian.

“The European Union maintains its food exports, and everyone should do the same.” Ursula von said in her speech to the plenary of the European Parliament on the conclusions of the extraordinary meeting of the European Council on 30 and 31 May 2022

“The second area is solidarity and support for partners. This is short-term support for the countries most at risk. For example, we are currently investing an additional €225 million to meet the short and medium term needs of partners in the Southern Neighborhood.

And I will be in Egypt next week to discuss with President El-Sissi how best to target our support to the region. It is a big task for all of us. Ursula von added.

In April, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi received a phone call from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, exchanging views on ways to deal with the fallout from the Ukraine crisis, particularly with regard to the energy supply, food security and supply chain disruptions.

In this context, the two parties have agreed on regular coordination in the coming period to crystallize joint initiatives and efforts to mitigate this hardship. They also discussed other regional and international issues and issues of common interest, and the coordination of positions on them.

For his part, von der Leyen expressed the European Union’s appreciation for the strong and exceptional relations with Egypt, affirming his aspiration to continue to advance cooperation with the country at all levels. This is in light of the common interest embodied in tackling the challenges facing the Middle East, and given Egypt’s critical importance to the region and Africa.

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