Foreign relations

Protests in Belarus against integration with Russia

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Dozens of people took to the streets of Minsk, the capital of Belarus, to reject deeper relation with Russia. The protests are the fifth in the past month. The protesters also called for support for...

Scotland could return to the EU after Brexit, MEP says

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David McAllister, the German chair of the EU parliament's foreign affairs committee, said that the return of an independent Scotland into the European Union would be shorter, compared to outside candidates. A post-Brexit Scottish accession...

Timmermans writes ‘love letter’, says goodbye to the UK

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European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans wrote a letter to Britain, expressing his "deep hurt" over Brexit. "Since I went to a British school, you have always been part of me. Now you are leaving, and...

Beijing warns Europe against restrictions on Chinese companies

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Beijing’s envoy to the European Union, Zhang Ming, has warned that EU’s policies to restrict Chinese companies’ access to Europe would deter investment. Plans to suppress foreign investment and 5G mobile communications technology might trigger...

Belarus president warns Russia against forceful merger

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Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko has warned Russia that a forced merger of the two countries could trigger a war. Such an attempt would be seen by the West as a threat, Lukashenko explained in an...

US warns UK about allowing Huawei in 5G

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The United States’ national security adviser, Robert O’Brien has warned the United Kingdom about allowing China’s Huawei Technologies into its 5G telecoms networks. O’Brien said the action would pose a risk to UK’s secret intelligence...

Turkey cannot handle new refugee wave from Syria, Erdogan warns Europe

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Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, warned the European Union for an incoming refugee wave from Syria’s Idlib province, as tens of thousands civilians flee prompted by Russia's latest offensive. Russian-backed Syrian forces have stepped up...

Lebanon president designates Hezbollah-backed academic as PM

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After weeks of political drama, Lebanon's President Michel Aoun has designated on 19 December the country's former education minister Hassan Diab, as the new prime minister. His nomination is backed by the country's Shia Islamist...

EU extends economic sanctions against Russia for six months

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The European Union extended economic sanctions against Russia by six months until 31 July, the European Council announced on 19 December. “Given that the Minsk agreements are not fully implemented, the European Council unanimously took...

Trump impeached by the House of Representatives for abuse of power and obstruction

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Donald Trump has become the third United States president in history to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. The House of Representatives has passed two articles of impeachment against him. In order for...

US Senate passes $738bn defence bill, approves Space Force

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The United States Senate on 17 December passed a $738 billion defence policy bill, that includes the launch of a “Space Force” that has been a priority for President Donald Trump. The 2020 National Defense...

Putin hails increase of Russia’s arms sales abroad

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Russia's president Vladimir Putin said on 16 December that the country’s arms shipments increased to $13 billion in 2019, exceeding last year's number by $2 billion. "Despite sanctions and unfair competition, Russia's position in the...

Turkish navy escorts Israeli ship out of Cyprus’s waters

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Israel’s national infrastructure, energy and water ministry confirmed on 15 December that two weeks ago, a Turkish navy vessel expelled an Israeli research ship working off Cypriot waters. The Turkish government denied that the...

Greece’s Balkan diplomacy currently a sideshow

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While keeping up the appearances of an active diplomatic campaign in Southeast Europe, the net impact of Athens’ recent initiatives will yield next to nothing in the struggle against neighboring Turkey over potential energy...

US tests long-banned ballistic missile after exit from INF treaty

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The United States flight-tested an intermediate-range, ground-based ballistic missile on December 12. It had been banned under the INF treaty that the United States and Russia abandoned last summer. The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty...

Jihadists kill 71 soldiers in Niger base attack

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Hundreds of heavily armed Islamist militants ambushed an army camp on 10 December in Niger, near the border with Mali. 71 soldiers were killed, the country's defense ministry said. 57 of the attackers had been...

US, Mexico, Canada finalise trade deal

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The United States, Mexico and Canada signed a deal on 10 December to finalise their new trade agreement, USMCA, after more than two years of negotiations. USMCA was first signed in 2018 to replace the...

China condemns US Xinjiang bill

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China condemned on 9 December the Uyghyr bill passed last week by the United States' House of Representatives, after foreign countries accused it of violating international law. The so-called "Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of...

On thin ice

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Body language is sometimes much more indicative, as was the case during a key December 4 meeting between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the sidelines of a...

White House finally schedules Washington meeting with Greek prime minister

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The White House announced on December 2 that President Donald J. Trump would be meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on January 7 in Washington. The announcement ended weeks of speculation about how...

Sweden defies Chinese threat to award book publisher Gui Minhai

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Sweden’s culture minister defied a Chinese threat on Friday to award a Swedish human rights prize to detained Chinese-Swedish book publisher Gui Minhai. The Swedish section of the International organization PEN awarded its free speech...

US charges two former Twitter employees with espionage on behalf of Saudi Arabia

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US authorities charged two former Twitter employees and a former Saudi royal family employee on Wednesday with espionage charges. This is the first time the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is charged with espionage in...

From Athens to Shanghai, with the aim of repositioning Greece

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Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has not even been in office for four months, but he has set out to travel as much as possible in order to change the narrative about Greece on...

France unyielding on EU Enlargement, elections triggered in North Macedonia

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The scenario that emerged late last week with multiple reports that France would oppose immediate decisions on EU Enlargement has come to pass. EU European Affairs ministers (General Affairs Council) discussed the Enlargement matter again...

Georgia’s last hope

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It’s hard to imagine now, but Georgia was once an improbable success story. After the Rose Revolution in 2003, the small South Caucasus country made dramatic strides in dismantling the Soviet legacy of corruption...

Sweden, Italy and Luxembourg question the need for an EU development bank

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Italy, Luxemburg, and Sweden have questioned the need for a new institution to fund development projects outside the EU, the Luxemburg Times reports. The report presented to finance ministers at the Economic and Financial Affairs...

Belgrade to take the lead : Interview with Dejan Ralevic

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Interview with Dejan Ralevic, Serbia’s Deputy Assistant Minister for EU Affairs After having gained the backing of four European Union members from Eastern Europe for accelerated accession talks, Serbia’s point man for EU affairs sat...

Migration solutions begin and end with Turkey

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EU depends on Greece for stability Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened several weeks ago that he would “open the gates” for migrants to cross into Europe if the international community did not accept his...

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...