Foreign relations

The road ahead for the EU and Italy

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Interview with Antonio Tajani With the dust settling following the formation of a new pro-EU coalition government in Italy and the naming of Ursula von der Leyen’s Commission the former President of the EU Parliament...

Migrant crisis on the front burner for Greece’s Mitsotakis

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ATHENS - Day by day, pressure is mounting on Greek authorities to take further measures to better manage the ongoing refugee crisis, which is on the verge of exploding, on Greece’s eastern Aegean islands,...

Iranian supertanker believed to violate EU sanctions on the Assad regime

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The Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1 that was taken over by Royal Marines in July on suspicion that it was bound for Syria is now located off the Syrian coast. The Adrian Darya-1 –...

Russia’s influence in Georgia has grown since the 2008 war

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At exactly the same time that French President Emmanuel Macron was hosting his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, at his summer home in the south of France this week, Russian soldiers were busy building barbed...

North Korea money laundering in Russia puts European banks at risk

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Elvira Nabiullina, the governor of the Russian Central Bank, has reportedly been reforming the bank sector and cracking down on financial institutions engaged in illicit behaviour. “Nabiullina's has made some impressive achievements in cleaning up...

Say “No” to a technocratic government

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The EU’s economy has essentially been flat over the past year. The slump in manufacturing is deepening. Companies are cutting work hours and issuing profit warnings. The dominant mood in the European and international...

Pompeo threatens to sanction countries that allow Iranian tanker to drop anchor

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington will take every action it can to prevent an Iranian oil tanker that left Gibraltar on Monday from delivering oil to Syria in contravention of current American...

What can be done to save Hong Kong?

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It is becoming increasingly clear, as the Hong Kong protests continue, that the Chinese Communist Party will be forced to make a choice - either a bloody, military crackdown (the more likely of the...

When Leninists overreach

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Ongoing street protests in Hong Kong and Moscow have no doubt spooked the authoritarian duo of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Moscow protests, the largest in many years, must...

Bosnia’s authorities draw cautious praise from Brussels after agreeing to form Council of Ministers

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Nearly 10 months after Bosnia and Herzegovina's last round of elections, the leaders of country's three main ethnoreligious groups finally reached an agreement to form a central government on 4 August, news that the...

Ze’s perfect storm

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Volodymyr Zelensky, or “Ze”, as he is called by his supporters, started his entry into the Ukrainian politics earlier this year by impressively winning the presidential election in April. On July 21, the former...

Iran escalates tensions in the Persian Gulf after seizing UK tanker

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In the latest escalation in the Persian Gulf region, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard reportedly captured a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on 19 July, the same day that the Gibraltar government...

Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation and a threat to Europe

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If Europe is serious about combating antisemitism, the Lebanon-based global terror group Hezbollah must be stopped in its tracks. As we marked on 18 July the seventh anniversary of the suicide bombing in Burgas,...

The sky didn’t fall in Ukraine

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What so many Ukrainian voters were afraid of simply did not happen. After being sworn in as president, Volodymyr Zelensky did not attempt to establish closer relations with Russia. Whether he would have liked...

Mogherini says Brussels is not ready to trigger Iran nuclear deal dispute mechanism

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The EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, has declared that the remaining parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, widely known as the Iran nuclear deal, have not detected any significant non-compliance by Tehran...

The name is Ambassador. EU Ambassador.

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It's very cool to have a great twitter handle. Typically, for the European Commission politicians, and civil servants you would expect to find something that combines ones name with the letters EU. Or maybe...

EU and Kazakhstan advance new Central Asian strategy

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The EU’s High Representative for foreign policy, Federica Mogherini, presented the new European Union Strategy for Central Asia during the 15th EU-Central Asia Ministerial Meeting in Kyrgyz capital Bishkek on 7 July where Kazakhstan’s...

Greater Eurasia: moving towards a common future

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A major event important not only for Kazakhstan, but for all European and Asian countries will take place in our capital this autumn. On 23-24 September, the city of Nur-Sultan will host the Fourth...

Europe can help restore Ukraine’s trust after PACE decision

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The recent decision by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe – PACE – to return the Russian delegation to full parliamentary assembly activities sparked an extremely negative reaction from the majority of...

Istanbul & Brexit

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The financial and cultural heart of Turkey, Istanbul, awaits an interesting few years of change. On Sunday, Ekrem Imamoglu, the candidate for the Republican People’s Party (CHP) was elected mayor of Istanbul. This was...

EU-Morocco further align policies with joint declaration

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EU and Morocco appeared determined to provide “new impetus to their strategic, multidimensional, and privileged relationship" at last Thursday’s Association Council in Brussels. After the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini...

Making peace with violence and a disinformation machine

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On 24 June, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) reinstalled Russia’s voting rights in the institution charged with upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The rights were suspended...

EU eyeing possible sanctions on Turkey over ‘illegal drilling’ in East Med

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EU leaders condemned late on 20 June “Turkey's continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea,” saying the European Union would now consider what measures to take in response, a move...

What Putin’s new citizenship initiative would mean for Ukraine

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Since the recent presidential elections ended in a landslide victory for Volodymyr Zelensky some signs of a possible political and economic revival have been noticed in Ukraine. The very electoral victory of the Zelensky...

EU to examine ‘appropriate’ measures against Turkey and companies

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The European Union is looking into taking what it calls “appropriate” measures against Turkey amid rising tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean continue to mount as a result of the Turkish government's refusal to halt their gas drilling activities in...

EU considers freezing Customs Union negotiations with Turkey

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Amid growing concerns about the aggressive offshore drilling activities that are currently being carried out near the Cypriot coast by the Turkish government, the European Union is mulling putting Ankara's accession chapters under discussion ahead of the European Council...

Russian disinformation campaign targeted voters during EU elections

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The European Commission revealed that Russian sources attempted to suppress turnout and influence voters during last month’s EU elections that employed a continued and sustained disinformation activity by Russia that covered a broad range...

It’s high time for Plahotniuc to leave the scene

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From time to time the small, poor country of Moldova gets into the news headlines. So it was in 2009 when the parliament and presidency were burned in, up to now, unclear circumstances. Then...

Zelensky must choose battles wisely to avoid a political Mexican Standoff

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One evening in the hot summer of 2015 anyone who was someone in the political circles in Kyiv gathered at the residence of Simon Smith, the UK ambassador, as he was moving to his...

Enlargement, going back to square one

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North Macedonia and Albania are inexorably tied by the delay in their long course to join Europe, yet for different reasons. Albania has the perpetual problem of narcotics production that cannot be overcome unless Tirana...

Kazakhs say it is time for closer ties with EU

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BRUSSELS - Following the resignation of Kazakhstan’s First President Nursultan Nazarbayev last March, the Central Asian republic will hold early elections on 9 June, to remove any ambiguity about the course of the country...

Kosovo-Serbia relations again disrupted

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Raids by Kosovo police on 28 May in a large anti-corruption operation triggered a serious deterioration of already-strained Kosovo-Serbia relations in the following days, prompting significant engagement on the part of European and UN...

Zelensky restores Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship

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Just over a week after being inaugurated as Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky issued an executive order on Tuesday that overturned a July 2017 decree by his successor, Petro Poroshenko, that illegally stripped Georgia’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili...

Taliban’s treatment of prisoners worries UN mission in Afghanistan

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After face-to-face interviews with 13 detainees who were freed from a Taliban detention facility by Afghan special forces troops on 25 April, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan expressed deep concerns that the Islamist insurgent...

NATO and Israel are right to deepen ties

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Israel is fast becoming NATO’s premier partner country. As the alliance’s Mediterranean Dialogue program turns 25 this year, enlisting Jerusalem’s help to tackle today’s security challenges is still a no-brainer: NATO can tap into over seven decades...

The challenge of being an ambassador to Ukraine

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Among the biggest challenges for foreign diplomats is an election year in Ukraine. The unpredictability that never wanes, even after the results are in, offers very fertile ground for developing professional skills of the...

The meaning of Ukraine’s presidential election

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It would be both disingenuous and inaccurate to interpret the election simply as a protest vote. The presidential election in Ukraine was a “change” election in the strictest sense of its democratic meaning. This must...