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The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is a well-designed political form that aims to strengthen the relationship between the EU and its former Soviet neighbors Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.
However, the next time the EU leaders meet with their counterparts in EaP, “their numbers may be less”, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa told reporters in Brussels to visit his country because Ljubljana started the six-month period The European Union at the helm.
“Maybe” a lot of work was done there.
Earlier this week, Belarus stated Suspended participation in the initiative, After a European Ryanair flight was hijacked last month, Brussels condemned the move as “another step backward.”
The suspension was a few months before this year’s EU-Eastern Partnership Summit. Under the auspices of Slovenia as the presidency of the European Council in December.
Some diplomats in Brussels and other regions have been suggesting that an idea worth exploring is whether it is possible to include Belarus’ anti-Lukashenko opposition in the summit to send a signal of support for democratic Belarus.
Mantas Adomėnas, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, was one of the advocates of this idea. He told EURACTIV: “The decision to suspend Belarus’ participation in the Eastern Partnership was passed by an illegal president, not by Belarusians. Belarus should be represented by representatives of democratic civil society”.
When asked if the EU is considering such an option, Peter Stano, the EU’s chief foreign affairs spokesman, said that such a decision will be made “closer to the incident”.
“In the multilateral framework of the Eastern Partnership, in addition to institutions responsible for human rights violations and abuses, we will maintain cooperation with Belarus on a non-political level and strengthen cooperation with Belarus’s major non-state stakeholders,” Stano added .
Frank Vyachoka, an adviser to Belarus’ opposition leader Svetlana Tihanusskaya told EURACTIV that dictator Alexander Lukashenko “has no legality and power to suspend Belarus’s participation in the Eastern Partnership. Membership, the Belarusian people and all democratic forces are interested in continuing this process. The EaP program at all levels”.
Tikhanouskaya’s team has discussed the summit with the European Commission, Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi and EU leaders, and is promoting the participation of exiled leaders “on behalf of the people of Belarus”, considering the summit activities in official capacity or at a high level.
The former option will be unprecedented, because it will see the EU actually recognize Tihanusskaya as the head of state, although she has never held an elected office before last year’s elections, and it is widely believed that she was taken by Lukashenko. Regime manipulation, so it is not recognized by the EU. European Union.
Experts emphasized that it is important to see how the EU-Eastern Partnership will respond to Belarus’ position.
“The EU has no choice but to increase assistance to Belarusian civil society and independent media, to help the victims of the repression, and to put pressure on the regime at the same time,” Pavel Slunkin, visiting researcher at the European Council Say. Regarding diplomatic relations, tell EURACTIV.
However, Schlenkin also stated that in accordance with the logic of not recognizing the results of the presidential election and the legitimacy of Lukashenko, the current Belarusian authorities cannot reflect the opinions of the Belarusian people.
“The refusal of the Belarusian authorities to participate in the Eastern Partnership should not deprive the Belarusians of such opportunities-in this case, the invitation of Svyatlana Zihanusskaya, who has already held meetings with the highest-level leaders in Europe, Not only is it symbolic, but it is also very appropriate and logical,” he added.
Eastern Partnership Area Keep burning For a long time, it became unstable due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by the Armenian-Azerbaijan War, the political crisis in Georgia, and the war in eastern Ukraine.
However, as the promoters and shakers in Brussels like to say, every crisis is an opportunity.
Enlargement of the European Union to the Western Balkans Already occupy an important place on the agenda of the President of Slovenia. Janša stated that “further measures” can be taken against Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, all three countries eager to join the European Union one day.
This less enthusiastic rhetoric contrasts sharply with his views on European Union hopers in the Western Balkans:
“The basic philosophy of the founders of the European Union is Europe, integrity, freedom, and peace. This is still our first goal. We believe that the people living in the Western Balkans should have a European future, and those who live in the Western Balkans should have a European future. Those who received support in the past are the ones who need to extend a helping hand to these countries.”
But does Europe really end in the Balkans? The geographer would disagree.
EU in the world
Relationship after Brexit. As German Chancellor Angela Merkel is about to arrive in London to begin her UK trip, the foreign ministers of Germany and the UK promised this week Collaborate more closely On foreign and security policy issues, they reaffirmed their commitment to the “Strategic Unification of Europe”.
According to diplomats, this is the first of three possible bilateral agreements that London intends to sign with its more important European partners-France and Italy may follow these agreements.
After the Arab Spring. Ten years after the Arab Spring, the democratic impulse to push the regime to be overthrown Seems to be retreatingOn the contrary, extremist groups, gender-based violence, severe economic and social deprivation, and the current COVID-19 pandemic threaten much of the Middle East and North Africa.
FFP update. this is No secrets Women’s representation in foreign policy, security, national defense and nuclear issues is still severely underrepresented.
The European Parliament’s report on gender equality in EU foreign and security policy was adopted in October last year, and the European Commission subsequently adopted an updated version of the gender action plan. According to the document, 85% of external action projects require gender equality as one of their main goals.
“The plan is an excellent and ambitious document-but in the past, we have seen many excellent and ambitious documents that have not changed reality,” said Hannah Neumann (Green Party), co-rapporteur of the European Parliament. Said in an interview. EURACTIV Slovakia.
The fund is launched. Paradigm shift or baby steps? The European Commission officially launched an 8 billion euro European Defense Fund (EDF), a new tool designed to jointly fund the entire group’s cooperative defense research and development projects.The idea is to provide funding for defense cooperation Projects that lead to technological innovation And the “local” European system, including large companies, small businesses and start-ups.
In what is considered DystociaIn April, EU legislators approved a 7.9 billion euro fund, clearing the way for the EU’s first dedicated military research program. However, some ethical issues, including parliamentary control and semi-autonomous weapon systems, still exist.
The Black Sea disaster. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday (June 30) that Russia could have sunk a British warship that Moscow allegedly entered its territorial waters illegally.
The ship in question, HMS Defender-a Type 45 destroyer-is part of the British aircraft carrier strike group and is currently heading to the Indo-Pacific region. London’s strategic fulcrum in the regionIt is flying off the coast of Crimea from the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odessa to Georgia, which-typically Russia-has triggered tensions between Moscow and London.
This incident has received little attention in most parts of the European Union. It has received some attention in EU countries close to the Black Sea. Understandably, it has received more attention in Ukraine. however, The EU’s diplomatic vision seems to be far away from those shoress, George Gertf wrote.
Mission in Mozambique. Diplomats said the EU ambassador this week approved the establishment of a military mission in Mozambique to help train its armed forces to fight jihadists in the north of the country. Former colonial ruler Portugal is already providing training for the Mozambican army, and Lisbon’s ground military instructors will account for about half of the EU’s new missions.
The EU foreign ministers will formally sign the mission at the meeting on July 12.
Afghanistan exports. German Defense Minister Annegrett Kramp-Karenbauer confirmed this week that after nearly 20 years of deployment in the country, Germany’s last force “safely left Afghanistan” on Tuesday. However, the problem still exists Regarding the next content.
The German contingent is stationed in Mazar-i-Sharif and Kabul in northern Afghanistan. It is the second largest force after the United States in the resolute support training and support missions of 9,600 NATO personnel.
Switzerland goes to America. Switzerland has chosen Lockheed Martin’s F-35 as its next-generation fighter jet. The Bern government announced this week that it has angered opponents who promised a new referendum to overthrow their so-called unnecessary “Ferrari” option. Reuters report.
Zoom in latest
Skopje update. Portuguese Deputy Foreign Minister Ana Paula Zacarias (Ana Paula Zacarias) just ended his six-month helm in the European Union. Expressed hope Bulgaria’s parliamentary elections on July 11 will resolve the issue of Bulgaria’s veto of North Macedonia’s EU membership negotiations. CroatiaAt the same time, it expressed support for the opening of the accession negotiations with North Macedonia as soon as possible.
Move freely. Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia call on the region to realize the free movement of goods, capital, services and people as soon as possible.
Electoral reform. Georgian Parliament Approved amendments to the election law Earlier this week, a key clause in a political agreement facilitated by the European Union was aimed at resolving the institutional crisis in this South Caucasus country that has strong desires for Europe.
After the country fell into a political crisis, the implementation of the terms of the agreement mediated by the President of the European Council Charles Michel cleared the main obstacles. The opposition party refused to enter the parliament after the general election in October 2020, claiming the election Be manipulated.
What are we still reading
On our radar for the next few days…
The day-to-day business in Europe remains in the reality of the blockade until further notice. As Europe is slowly entering the summer vacation, we will keep you updated on all relevant EU foreign affairs news.
- Berlin Process Summit
| Monday, July 5, 2021 | Berlin, Germany (virtual)
- The last European Parliament meeting before summer vacation
| July 5-8, 2021, Monday to Thursday | Strasbourg, France
- EURACTIV Central Asia-South Asia Connectivity Summit Virtual Conference
| Wednesday, July 7, 2021 | Register here
- The new head of the EU military training regiment takes office
| Wednesday, July 7, 2021 | Sofia, Bulgaria
- Three Seas Initiative Forum discusses energy security
| Thursday, July 8, 2021 | Sofia, Bulgaria
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