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Both Moldova and Bulgaria’s new presidents want closer relations with Moscow

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Moldova’s first direct presidential election has resulted in a convincing victory for the leader of the Party of Socialists, Igor Dodon, widely seen as a pro-Russian candidate. He has served as a member of Parliament and worked as a deputy Prime Minister. He has more than once called for improving relations between Moldova and Russia and has connections to the Russian political elite. In an interview with the TASS news agency, Dodon announced that, if elected president, his first foreign visit would be to Russia to discuss issues of friendship, cooperation and settling the Transnistria conflict. In October this year, Dodon said that, if he came to power, he would hold a referendum on canceling Moldova’s agreement on association with the EU, which – according to him – had been adopted in haste. In the meantime, victory in the presidential election in another East European country went to a candidate from the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Rumen Radev, a former Air Force general, who – like Dodon – said it was necessary to improve relations with Russia and to lift sanctions.

Suicide bomber attacked a German consulate in Afghanistan

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A suicide bomber has rammed a truck into a German consulate in Afghanistan, killing at least six civilians and wounding 120, officials said. Gunman attacked the building after the blast, in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, battling with German and Afghan forces. The Taliban said it carried out the attack in retaliation for air strikes last week in Kunduz province. Local police said at least one suspect had been arrested in connection with the bombing.

Isolating Russia always leads to severe consequences for Europe, according to Russian Foreign Minister

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Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, during a conference at the Russian-German form dubbed  “ The Postdam Meeting” , asserted that efforts to isolate Moscow have repeatedly resulted in sever consequence for Europe. According to the Minister, in the modern interconnected world it is impossible to create separate security islands. He added that “ history has repeatedly proved that the attempts to isolate Russia always lead to sever consequence for the entire continent”. Regarding to Russian-German relation, Lavrov  affirmed that the development of relations between Russian Federation and Germany is an important factor in maintaining Europe’s security and stability. Russian Foreign Minister also said that Moscow is ready to discuss various initiatives, proposals and address the existing issues in a constructive way.

The man who coordinated the deadly attacks in Paris and Brussels has been identified

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A Belgian-Moroccan jihadist operating in Syria is believed to have organised the deadly attacks on Paris and Brussels, sources say. For months intelligence teams have been trying to identify a man known as Abou Ahmad, involved in recruiting a number of Islamist militants for attacks across Europe. They now believe they have identified him as Oussama Ahmad Atar. He is linked to bombers who targeted Paris in 2015 and Brussels in March.

Russia threat to the UK

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Russia poses an increasing threat to the stability of the UK and is using all the sophisticated tools at its disposal to achieve its aims, the director general of MI5 has told the Guardian. In the first newspaper interview given by an incumbent MI5 chief in the service’s 107-year history, Andrew Parker said that at a time when much of the focus was on Islamic extremism, covert action from other countries was a growing danger. Most prominent was Russia. Parker said Russia still had plenty of intelligence officers on the ground in the UK, but what was different now from the days of the cold war was the advent of cyberwarfare. Russian targets include military secrets, industrial projects, economic information and government and foreign policy.

New restrictions planned over abortion laws: Polish protesters are rallying outside the parliament building

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Polish protesters have launched fresh demonstrations against efforts to further tighten abortion laws. Women’s rights activists held a rally outside the parliament building in Warsaw, with more action expected on Monday. Poland’s MPs rejected a near-total ban on abortions on 6 October after mass protests against the move. But there are new proposals to outlaw abortions in cases where foetuses are unviable or badly damaged. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the governing Law and Justice Party (PiS), has said his socially conservative party is working on a new restrictive bill.

Aleppo bombing: the EU might sanction Russia

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The EU could threaten Russia with sanctions over the bombing of Aleppo, according to a draft EU summit communique seen by the Guardian. Arriving at the summit in Brussels on Thursday, Theresa May had urged fellow leaders to press the Kremlin to stop its “appalling, sickening” atrocities in Syria. The prime minister said Europe needed to take a “robust and united stance” in the face of Russian aggression.

EU sources do not expect a decision on Thursday night, but want to ensure the threat is on the table. If sanctions were agreed, diplomats would draw up a list of Russian names and organizations that would be subject to travel bans and asset freezes.

EU security expert: Europe must prepare for jihadist fleeing Mosul

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Europe must be prepared for an influx of Islamic State militants if Iraqi forces retake control of Mosul, the EU’s security commissioner has warned. Thousands of Europeans have gone to Iraq and Syria over the past two years to fight with Isis, but the Islamist extremists have suffered a string of defeats in recent months in both countries. Those defeats have prompted some of its fighters to begin returning to the continent, but about 2,500 European fighters remain in the conflict zones, King told the German newspaper Die Welt.

New economic funds sent from EU to Palestinian refugees

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Yesterday, the European Commission approved a package of assistance of 252 million and 500 thousand euro to support the Authority and Palestinian refugees. And this is only the first part of the EU’s annual support package for Palestine scheduled for 2016.
The High Representative for the Union’s foreign policy, Federica Mogherini, said:  “The European Union renews its concrete commitment to the Palestinians. Through this package, the EU supports the daily lives of Palestinians in the fields of education and health, protecting the poorest families and also providing the Palestinian refugees with access to essential services. These are tangible steps on the ground that can improve the lives of Palestinian people. But these steps are not enough; Palestinian institutions must continue to grow stronger, become more transparent, more accountable and more democratic. Viable and inclusive institutions, based on respect for the rule of law and human rights, are crucial in view of the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State. Because what we want to achieve is the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State living side by side, in peace and security, with the State of Israel and other neighbours“.

The European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement, Johannes Hahn, said: “The EU remains firm in its commitment to Palestinians and actively supports a two-state solution. Our assistance to ensure the functioning of the Palestinian Authority and to support vulnerable Palestinian groups, including Palestinian refugees is a concrete example of this commitment. Let me also thank all EU Member States for their continued backing of EU programmes for this troubled region, which have proved effective”.

From the fund package sent yesterday, 170 million and 500 thousand euro will be sent directly to the Palestinian Authority, through the PEGASE mechanism (Mécanisme Palestino-Européen de Gestion de l’Aide Socio-Economique). With these funds, the EU will support the Palestinian Authority in the delivery of health and educational services, protecting the poorest families and providing financial assistance to hospitals located in East Jerusalem.

The remaining 82 million will constitute a contribution to the budget of the rescue program and the Agency’s work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). This UN body provides essential services for Palestinian refugees throughout the region. This support aims to provide better access to essential public services and increased livelihood opportunities for Palestinian refugees.
A second package of measures, in favor of the Palestinians, will be announced during the year.
For the readers, we specify that the PEGASE is the mechanism through which the EU is helping the Palestinian Authority to build the institutions of a future independent Palestinian state.

Through the UNRWA-logopayment of pensions and salaries of public officials, it ensures that essential public services continue to work. The PEGASE also provides social services to Palestinian families living in extreme poverty and also a contribution to the Palestinian Authority to support the costs of the hospitals in East Jerusalem.
UNRWA agency also provides essential services for Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The EU is the largest contributor of this specialized UN agency. Between 2007 and 2014, the EU has contributed with more than 1 billion euro, including 809 million for the budget of the institution’s program. In addition, the EU has made generous contributions to UNRWA requests in humanitarian emergencies and in projects designed specifically to respond to the various crises and the specific requirements arising in the entire region. The partnership between the EU and UNRWA has allowed millions of Palestinian refugees to be educated, to live a healthier life, to have access to job opportunities and improve the general living conditions, thus contributing to the development of all the region.

Europe: new coast guard protecting borders

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The European Commission has decided to establish a European border and coast guard to ensure a strong and shared management of external borders. Regarding the principle of free movement of people, the new control body will protect the Schengen area and control migratory flows, through systematic inspections, based on the comparison with relevant databases.

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“The european coast guard and border – said Frans Timmermans, first Vice President of the European Commission – will identify any weaknesses in real time, thanks to the collective capacity to effectively manage crisis situations, in which a section of the external borders is subjected to pressure”. The new body will have a reserve team fast coastguard and a park of technical equipment made available by the Member States: the Agency will be able to count on at least 1.500 experts, whose intervention can be deployed within three days, obviating the need for workers or equipment for operations.

It will set up a monitoring and risk analysis centre to control migration flows in the EU and to analyze risk and vulnerability assessments of weaknesses. Europe also enshrines a right to intervene: the Member States can apply for joint operations and rapid border interventions.

In case of significant migration that threatens the Schengen area, the Commission will establish the urgent collective. Coastguards will be part of the national coast guard and border European insofar as border control operations take place. Finally, the responsibility with respect to the internal security is fundamental, in terms of control of cross-border crime and terrorism, in terms of combating cross-border crime and terrorism along with other EU agencies and international organizations.

Viviana Passalacqua

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Viviana Passalacqua
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