The Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament have cited “three conditions” for their continued support for Turkey’s membership of the EU, after the head of the group, Gianni Pitella, met with main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and CHP members in Ankara. One of the conditions is the demand that the president give up his authority to annul parliament. The second condition demands a restriction in the scope of the decree laws, on the ground that excessive usage of decree laws narrows the jurisdiction of parliament. Thirdly, they state that the death penalty should not be reinstated”, Yılmaz added.
The idea of Greater Albania – uniting all Albanians in one state – is once again a hot topic in the Balkans, DW reports. While leaders in Pristina and Tirana deny pan-Albanian ambitions, their recent statements have caused alarm. Serbian Foreign Minister Dacic also said that the EU, the US, and Britain “will be directly responsible” if the Albanians push ahead with their territorial ambitions. According to Erdoan Shipoli, Associate Dean of School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia International University, the Albanian leaders, with their statements, want to get more votes from the more nationalist groups, because they know that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to even choose the leader of the Great Albania, let alone making it function. Even so, the talk of Greater Albania can be dangerous, according to the expert. People across the region are tired of corruption and unemployment, pro-western Albanians feel like the EU has failed to defend their interests in Macedonia and Serbia, and Kosovo citizens are angry at the EU for not letting them travel without visas. In such circumstances, it is natural for nationalist sentiment to rise. “Right now there is no support but if the EU continues to fail the Albanians in general and Kosovo in particular, then this thought will gain more momentum and have more acceptance”, Shipoli said.
Today, the EU and Jordan further strengthened their close partnership through a joint high-level meeting promoting enhanced trade, business and investment opportunities available in Jordan. The meeting showcased the “EU Rules of Origin Initiative” that aims to mitigate the effects of the Syrian refugee crisis on the Jordanian economy. Thanks to the initiative launched last year Jordanian exporters benefit now from an extra flexibility as it comes to the use of foreign components. In the result, the EU reviewed the rules of origin protocol of the EU-Jordan Association Agreement and complemented the change with financial and technical assistance.
The European Pillar of Social Rights sets out 20 key principles and rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems. The Pillar was prepared by the Commission, under the leadership of Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Thyssen, in close consultation with stakeholders at all levels. It reaffirms rights that are already present in the EU and international legal acquis and complements them to take account of new realities. The principles and rights enshrined in the Pillar are structured around three categories: equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions and social protection and inclusion. They place the focus on how to tackle new developments in the world of work and society at large so as to deliver on the promise of the Treaties of a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress.
With the new wave of migration from Libya toward Europe, a lot of voices are going up against EU behaviour in front of the process, especially in front of EU economical aid toward Libya. In an interview with Italian daily La Stampa, Sicily-based prosecutor Carmelo Zuccaro made his most specific claims yet over NGO activities of Libya, which the EU border agency Frontex recently described as tantamount to providing a “taxi” service to Europe. NGO’s volunteer crews save life in front of inaction from EU States.“We have evidence that there are direct contacts between certain NGOs and people traffickers in Libya”, Zuccaro told. The high number of migrants this year, are creating an emergency situation that nobody seems in capacity to deal with.
The Czech National Bank has decided to drop the national currency, the crown, from the euro. The reference rate of 27 Czech crowns per euro has been fixed for three years. Observers are wondering alarmed if the Czech Republic, a small country but highly industrialized and closely integrated with the major Eurozone economies, even think to give up his goal so far dichiatato to join the single currency. So far the minimum exchange had been adopted to prevent that remittances and investments of Czechs living abroad would become too expensive and that inflation rate, already high, would increase again. At the moment the Euro has depreciated because of the Czech reverse course but it remain stable on the dollar. It’s feared that this step might also portend a political estrangement.
Turkish flour mills have covered their short-term needs by purchasing several hundred thousand tons of wheat from EU and Black Sea countries, replacing Russian supplies blocked by a change to import rules, millers and traders said on April 5. Turkey has effectively halted purchases from Russia of wheat, maize (corn) and sunflower seeds by removing Russian items from a duty-free import scheme from March 15. The Turkish move meant Russian supplies facing a prohibitive 130 percent duty, though Ankara has denied banning imports from Russia. Moscow has said the tariffs are hindering relations.
The EU condemns in the strongest terms the air strike that hit the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province on 4 April 2017, which has had horrific consequences, causing the deaths and injuries of scores of civilians including children and relief workers, with many victims displaying symptoms of gas poisoning. The EU urges the United Nations Security Council to come together, strongly condemn the attack on Khan Sheikhoun and ensure a swift, independent and impartial investigation of the attack. Those guilty of violations of international law and the use of chemical weapons have to be sanctioned accordingly. In March, the EU added 4 high-ranking Syrian military officials to the sanctions list for their role in the use of chemical weapons against the civilian population, in line with the EU’s policy to fight the proliferation and use of chemical weapons.
This week Europe will hold a conference on the future of Syria. The EU is the largest humanitarian donor for Syria, but has become marginalised in political negotiations. By initiating this conference, the EU illustrates its readiness to take up a significant part of Syria’s reconstruction. But jumpstarting a large-scale reconstruction programme without a mutually consented political solution under UN auspices could become an implicit endorsement of Assad’s control over Syria, and hence a betrayal to the aspirations of large parts of Syria’s civil society. The EU should now leverage its role as the largest financial donor, to demand a say in any negotiations on the political transition and future of Syria.
During the meeting held at GCC Secretariat in Riyadh on Wednesday the assistant secretary-general for political negotiations and affairs of the GCC called for closer cooperation with the EU. The event was a Forum on the achievements and lessons learnt from EU integration in occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome and it was attended by EU and GCC ambassadors and other diplomats from various missions in the capital. The aim is to diversify the GCC countries’ economy and consequently reach a better prosperity and maintain stability and security in the region. Moreover the ambassador D’Urso, head of the EU delegation, said GCC member states are important strategic partners to the EU and that the EU wants to expand and consolidate cooperation with them to promote mutual understanding and narrow gaps.