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"I can't even imagine Serbia joining EU before Kosovo"

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Kosovo President Hashim Thaci says he cannot even imagine the EU accepting Serbia as its member before Kosovo. Thaci said that  the biggest concern in southeastern Europe was caused by “the fact that the EU is too slow in bringing countries of the region closer, which opens the door to all kinds of radicalisms, as well as strengthening of the Russian influence”. He thinks that the EU should therefore make decisions faster, and adds that he cannot imagine Serbia in the EU before Kosovo. “I cannot imagine something like this happening. I am confident that this will not be the case because Serbia would then certainly block Kosovo, and for an indefinite period of time. The EU knows very well what the attitude and behavior of Serbia is towards Kosovo. But, Serbia too cannot continue on the path of European while not behaving in a European way toward Kosovo”, stressed Thaci. According to him, Greater Albania is “a concept talked about by Belgrade to cover their ambition of creating a ‘Greater Serbia’”. Thaci claims that “the Kosovo army” will be established by the end of this year, after this has been suspended under international pressure.

Execution in Belarus of Siarhei Vostrykau

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In the statement by the Spokesperson on the execution in Belarus of Siarhei Vostrykau, the European Union again reaffirms its strong opposition to capital punishment in all circumstances. Indeed the continued application of the death penalty goes counter to Belarus’ stated willingness to engage with the international community, including the European Union, on the matter and to consider the introduction of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The European Union urges Belarus, the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment, to commute the remaining death sentences and to introduce without delay a moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its abolition.

Europe today is no longer the center of democracy, human rights and freedoms but it is one of oppression, violence and Nazism”, Erdoğan said .

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Europe is no longer the center of democracy and human rights but it is one of Nazism and oppression, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, accusing European leaders of being surrounded by far-right politicians. “Europe has reached such a point. It’s finished; wasted away. But it will pay for it dearly, very dearly. All [the values] they have been defending for centuries have collapsed. I am clear on this. In the eyes of billions of people, Europe today is no longer the center of democracy, human rights and freedoms but it is one of oppression, violence and Nazism”, Erdoğan said at a rally in the western province of Balıkesir on April 6. He said Europe is a rotten continent. “Racist parties are twisting European leaders and governments around their fingers. Europe has nothing to tell us or the world”.

EU must demand a say in Syria negotiations.

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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.



‘Masquerade ball is over’, Erdoğan tells Europe.

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Europe’s “masquerade ball’ is over, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has told the continent following his most recent spat with domestic and foreign enemies, slamming countries such as Germany and the Netherlands for banning Turkish ministers from conducting constitutional amendment campaigns. “What has been happening in Europe lately shows that the struggle against my country and against our struggle has passed to a new stage. Those who tried to come at us with their men, with the terrorists that they support and gave guns to, with the spies they bought with a dollar, are now in the field. My brothers and sisters, the masquerade ball is over”. Erdoğan accused European countries of supporting the political campaigns of the opposition to constitutional amendments that will usher in an executive presidency with near-unencumbered powers for himself.

Italy's foreign affairs undersecretary sees 'political solution' to Yemen crisis

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During his two-days visit in Riyadh and Jeddah, the italian undersecretary of state met with the UN special envoy for Yemen Cheikh Ahmed and the Secretary General fo the GCC Al-Zayani. Concerning this meeting the undersecretary said in an exclusive interview with Arab News, that “the meeting was to confirm our common work on creating a political order in the Middle East that is now shaken by conflict”. He also added that Italy thinks that the base is in the Kuwait dialogue when the UN proposed a solution that the Houthis did not accept and that Italy stands for political negotiation because other means cost much more and cost human lives. During the interview the undersecretary also talked about the refugees crisis, in particular Syrian ones, and the necessity not only to host them in Europe or in Italy but also to stop the conflict and rebuild the country. Moreover he expressed Italy’s position about Lybia and its efforts to find an internal Lybian political agreement based on the UNSC resolution 259 and to invest in the countries in Africa from which the migrants are running away. In fine the undersecretary discussed launching the Saudi-Italian joint commission to boost the collaboration at an economic and business level with Saudi Arabia, which is Italy’s first economic partner in the MENA region.

Lebanon and EU hold highlevel meeting on counterterrorism

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants and the European Union held today a high-level meeting on counter-terrorism. This meeting aimed at assisting Lebanon in adopting a national counter-terrorism strategy which will lead to enhanced security in Lebanon and in Europe. Following the launching of the Lebanon-EU counter-terrorism dialogue in January 2016, both parties have agreed to join efforts in combating terrorism. Presentations highlighted two key elements in particular: first, the need to develop a strategy which reflects concerns of all key actors involved in prevention of violent extremism; and second, the EU side underlined the need for a single Lebanese coordinating body that can oversee the implementation of the strategy. Following the high-level meeting, Lebanon will exert efforts to accelerate the development of a national counter-terrorism strategy through the establishment of a joint working group (involving all relevant State bodies and civil society) to draft a strategy document. The EU reaffirms its strong commitment to extending support to the Lebanese authorities, including through all relevant EU agencies, and instruments including the RAN (Radicalisation Awareness Network) to enable Lebanon to benefit from all relevant EU expertise in the development of the national counter-terrorism strategy.

Egyptian President El-Sisi and Merkel stress joining efforts in facing terrorism and migrant crisis

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Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed cooperation between both countries in combating terrorism and irregular migration at their meeting in Cairo on Thursday. Merkel arrived in Cairo earlier in the day on a two-day visit to meet with President El-Sisi and other Egyptian top officials, her first visit to the country since 2007. During the meeting, Sisi and Merkel inaugurated via video conference the first phase of a project managed by the German power giant Siemens to build three new power plants in Egypt. El-Sisi said that the current turbulent situation in the region is not only a threat to the Middle East but also to Europe and the whole world.Merkel promised to provide Egypt with $250 million in support for its economic reform program.The German Chancellor described the reform program as courageous and praised Cairo’s commitment to honour the terms of the $12 billion loan extended by the International Monetary Fund to the country.Merkel also criticised countries which she said are involved in supporting terrorism in the region, expressing hope that Egyptian efforts to solve disputes in the region, especially in Libya, would see success.The German Chancellor also described the Egyptian-Tunisian-Algerian initiative – which aims at finding a solution to the Libyan conflict – as important and successful.

European complaints against DPRK missile launches

In the early morning of yesterday, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has launched a ballistic missile, another violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, including Resolution 2321 adopted in November 2016.

The DPRK’s repeated disregard of its international obligations is provocative and unacceptable. The DPRK must halt all launches using ballistic missile technology and abandon once and for all its ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, as required by the UN Security Council. We call on the DPRK not to raise tensions further and to re-engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue with the international community, in particular the Six-Party Talks“. That’s what the European Union External Action Service (EEAS) Spokeperson said, from Brussels.
The High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini will speak in the coming days to the Foreign Ministers of international partners to further discuss the international response.

DKPR’s behaviour continues to worry all the international community. Of course, Brussels seems to be so far from Pyongyang, but is a common opinion thet the nuclear tests and, generally speaking, the nuclear proliferation in the northern part of the Korean peninsula constitues a real danger for all countries.

Of course, the game hides some differents and complicated balances: first of all, the role of China, which missiles paradein facts is the only trade partner for the DKPR. Also Putin’s Russia aims to keep the remote control of the region and – despite of the Trump’s russia – fliendly policy – does not like very much the american “temporary” presence in South Korea… and also american missiles and army in the area. Anyway, the Kim’s last launch makes some doubts rise. It is not a secret that one of the Trump’s ideas for the region was to reduce the american military contingent in the peninsula. So, this launch could seriously put in danger all the plans and political efforts to reduce Uncle Sam’s troops.

According to some geopolitical studies, North Korea and South Korea will never fight – directly – one each other. This, because the goals for each contendant in a new war, beetween the two enemies, could cancel each other. The common opinion – extremely summing – is that the DKPR has a strong defensive asset and a very well-motivated army, that could easily face attacks from south also using old planes, cold-war subarines and very obsolete boats. The South Korean Army is well trained and equipped, with new systems, boats and submarines, but her weakness is in the leadership (some units are entirely directed by american officers in charge), in the ideological motivation and, of course, in the potential feeling of loneliness without a clear american guidance and support. And we all know the political scandal that recently hit the Southkorean political leadership. That’s why this missile launch, in an moment while academics started to speculate about a progressive and slow american withdrawal, change the scene of play. Of course, the launch is a muscles demonstrations, but its meaning seems to be changed.

From an european point of view, we can only wait the next days. For sure, since now, the EU has been supporting international efforts to promote peace, stability, denuclearisation and an improvement in the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Since 1998, the EU has been conducting regular political dialogue with the DPRK. The European Community established diplomatic relations in May 2001 and some EU countries have diplomatic relations with the DPRK.  As far as we can read on the official EU institutions’ websites and portals, the EU has been involved in providing assistance to some of the most vulnerable communities in the DPRK since 1195. Current activities are mainly oriented towards support for the agricultural sector and are financed under the Food Security Thematic Programme of the Development Cooperation Instrument.

Changing Turkey’s anti-terrorism law is out of question

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Changing Turkey’s anti-terrorism laws is out of the question as it would endanger both Turkey and Europe’s security, EU Minister Ömer Çelik said on Jan. 4. The EU had preconditioned Turkey to amend its anti-terror laws if it wanted its citizens to access visa-free travel to the bloc. “We have reiterated that we cannot meet EU’s demands to amend our anti-terror laws. However, we have no problems in meeting the other criteria,” he said at a joint press conference with U.K. Minister for EU Affairs Alan Duncan in Ankara.“To ask a country, which has been hit by many terrorist attacks, to change its anti-terror law, is to put the security of Turkey and Europe in jeopardy,” Çelik said, recalling the Jan. 1 attack on Istanbul’s Reina nightclub that claimed 39 lives. Duncan, for his part, said the U.K. wanted to extend its support to Turkey in its fight against terrorism.

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