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EU neighbours: instability, corruption, authoritarianism

27.03.14 @ 18:11

Most countries round the EU’s southern and eastern rim are seeing an increase of instability, authoritarianism, and corruption, according to European Commission reports published on Thursday (27 March). The commissioner ...

OpinionIs the EU ready for Ukrainian membership?

25.02.14 @ 10:19

When the scar-faced Viktor Yushchenko emerged from the bowels of the Orange Revolution as the new president of Ukraine in 2005, it seemed like Europe was at his feet. The leaders of the European Union were eager to sing ...

German coalition draft: More powers for EU foreign service

26.11.13 @ 10:37

Germany's upcoming government will not change its eurozone policy, but wants more powers for the bloc's foreign service and a "special relationship" with Russia, according to a draft coalition agreement to be signed off ...

Azerbaijan and EU race to agree 'modernisation' pact

27.09.13 @ 17:36

Petro-regime Azerbaijan and the EU are negotiating against the clock on a new "strategic" pact. According to a draft dated 4 April, the "Strategic Modernisation Partnership" will be 13 pages long and will not be legally ...

EU commissioner to strike out at Russia

11.09.13 @ 13:12

EU neighbourhood commissioner Stefan Fuele is planning to criticise Russia's strong-arm tactics on would-be EU partners in a speech to MEPs on Wednesday (11 September). The rebuke comes after Armenia suddenly dropped ...

Armenia to join Russia trade bloc, surprises EU

03.09.13 @ 19:05

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has said he wants to join a trade and political union with Russia instead of an EU alternative. The decision was announced in a statement on the Kremlin's website during his visit to ...

OpinionVilnius: A milestone in the Eastern Partnership?

30.08.13 @ 13:35

The current debate on the Eastern Partnership (EaP), the EU's policy for building closer relations with post-Soviet states, has largely focused on the Vilnius summit on 28 to 29 November. The questions so far addressed ...

EU-Georgia treaty highlights enlargement fatigue

08.07.13 @ 14:59

Novel language in the draft EU-Georgia association treaty highlights hostility toward further EU expansion. The text, recently agreed by negotiators, says in its preamble "that Georgia, an eastern European country, is ...

Azerbaijan chief paints rosy picture on EU visit

21.06.13 @ 20:04

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso gave Azerbaijan chief Ilham Aliyev an easy ride on human rights in Brussels on Friday (21 June). Speaking at a joint press briefing, Aliyev claimed there are no political ...

InterviewHunting accident threatens Moldova's pro-EU course

12.03.13 @ 18:17

Moldovan PM Vlad Filat says he lost a no-confidence vote last week because he asked the prosecutor general to resign after he tried to cover up an accidental killing on a hunting trip. "There was a direct link [with the ...

EU and Ukraine end cold spell in relations

25.02.13 @ 18:06

The EU has ended a mini-Cold-War with Ukraine by welcoming back its President in Brussels. The meeting with Viktor Yanukovych on Monday (25 February) comes after EU leaders last year boycotted a regional summit in Yalta ...

OpinionMoldova's new crisis - an opportunity?

21.02.13 @ 08:07

Moldova is in the throes of renewed political crisis. It has had a reputation for crisis since it took 917 days to elect a President between 2009 and 2012, but this one is different. Tempting though it may be to see it ...

Germany and Poland join up on EU foreign policy

20.02.13 @ 09:29

Germany and Poland, as well as the Czech republic and Sweden, have put forward joint ideas on how to handle post-Soviet countries, in what some diplomats are calling a "new axis" in EU foreign policy. The four nations ...

EU makes diamonds-for-democracy offer to Zimbabwe

19.02.13 @ 09:26

EU countries have said Zimbabwe can start selling diamonds and gold in Europe if it holds democratic elections. The deal - between Belgium, the home of the world's largest diamond exchange, and the UK, the former ...

Germany and France demand reintroduction of Balkan visas

15.10.12 @ 21:58

Germany, France and four other EU countries want to reintroduce visa requirements for people from the Western Balkans, saying that the measure is needed to combat a spike in asylum claims from the region. Ahead of next ...

Pride, confusion and sour grapes after EU wins Nobel

13.10.12 @ 08:30

EU officials weary of being sniped at for their handling of the crisis or their big salaries got a morale boost on Friday (12 October) when the five people on the Nobel Peace Prize committee in Norway gave the world's ...

Serb leader bashes EU ahead of key report

10.10.12 @ 09:22

Srebrenica was not genocide and Serbia will not bow to demands for Kosovo recognition, Serbia's leader has said on the eve of a key EU report. The Balkan country's head of state, Tomislav Nikolic, a former confidante of ...

Question marks over EU sanctions on Iran

08.10.12 @ 14:57

Greece is temporarily blocking an EU gas embargo on Iran. But the big question is: are EU sanctions hurting or helping Iranian leader Ali Khamenei? The gas ban is to be agreed by foreign ministers on Monday (15 October ...

InvestigationWhat is 'SECRET UE' anyway?

24.09.12 @ 08:44

EU countries have a protocol for sharing official "secrets." But people's motives for classifying EU files are not always pure and the number of really hush hush papers in Brussels is tiny. The EU Council - where member ...

Slovenia puts €172mn price tag on Croatia's EU entry

21.09.12 @ 09:26

EU leaders in December signed Croatia's accession treaty, trumpeting the move as a sign the EU's enlargement programme is alive and well despite the euro crisis. But now Slovenia is threatening to block it over a €172 ...

Ministers call for stronger EU foreign policy chief

18.09.12 @ 14:31

A brainstorming group of 11 foreign ministers has called for a more powerful EU foreign policy chief and less power in general for EU countries. The group - containing ministers from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, ...

OpinionNagorno-Karabakh: on the knife's edge

18.09.12 @ 08:39

A mere two weeks ago the name Ramil Safarov was meaningless to most people. Today he is the cause of a diplomatic storm between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Hungary which has sucked in the US, Russia and the EU and deepened ...

Israeli leader urges EU to blacklist Hezbollah

06.09.12 @ 11:49

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told Italy's foreign minister the EU should designate Hezbollah as a terrorist entity. But EU diplomats are wary of the move. "There is one ... effort that I think Europe ...

OpinionAzerbaijan tests EU credibility

04.09.12 @ 08:01

Eight days after the EU pledged €19.5 million to reform Azerbaijan's justice and migration systems, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has signed a decree pardoning Ramil Safarov, sentenced in 2006 by the court of an EU ...

Axe murder complicates EU-Azerbaijan love affair

03.09.12 @ 19:26

EU countries have criticised "strategic partner" Azerbaijan for making a national hero out of an axe-murderer. On 19 February 2004 during a Nato seminar at a military school in Budapest, he walked into the bedroom of a ...

Israel unhappy after EU blacklists 1980s town

15.08.12 @ 09:28

Israel has complained about the EU's inclusion of parts of the town of Modi'in-Maccabim-Reut on a blacklist of "settlements." The European Commission on 3 August added three postal codes in the town to a register of ...

EU sends mixed signals on Tymoshenko exclusion

13.08.12 @ 18:17

A prominent MEP has said Ukraine's decision to exclude Yulia Tymoshenko from parliamentary elections means a priori they will be unfair. But the European Commission disagrees. The Central Election Commission on 8 August ...

Belarus expels Swedish ambassador after teddy bear fiasco

03.08.12 @ 22:15

Belarus has kicked out Sweden's ambassador to Minsk in a rerun of events six months ago. Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt tweeted on Friday (3 August) that the diplomat, Stefan Eriksson, was expelled "for being too ...

FocusGay rights is EU entry criterion, Brussels says

13.07.12 @ 09:15

The European Commission has said in a written note that respect for gay rights is a legal criterion for EU accession. It cited the 1993 so-called Copenhagen criteria for EU eligibility and article 2 of the EU Treaty, ...

Barroso in Palestine: 'We are laying foundations of future state'

09.07.12 @ 09:21

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso has pledged support for a future Palestinian state on his first official trip to the region. Speaking alongside Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah on Sunday ...

AgendaBarroso in Palestine next WEEK

06.07.12 @ 20:16

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso goes on his first official visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories next week, in a three-day-long peregrination from Sunday (8 July) to Tuesday. His ...

InvestigationRussia: EU action on Magnitsky would 'poison' relations

06.07.12 @ 17:10

Russia's EU ambassador has said ties would suffer if member states follow the US in putting sanctions on suspected Russian killers and fraudsters. "It would poison relations, definitely," Vladimir Chizhov told ...

EU, US and Russia closer than before on Syria, diplomat says

29.06.12 @ 09:28

Russia's ambassador to the EU has said "technical differerences" remain on how to handle Syria ahead of an international meeting in Geneva. Vladimir Chizhov told EUobserver on Thursday (28 June) that Russia, the EU and ...

Turkey calls emergency Nato talks on Syria

25.06.12 @ 09:47

Turkey has invoked the softer article four of the Nato treaty after Syria shot down one of its warplanes on Friday (22 June). Its decision will see the 28 Nato countries' ambassadors hold emergency talks in the North ...

OpinionWhy Tymoshenko will stay in prison

21.06.12 @ 09:42

Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych has no intention of releasing imprisoned opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko. Despite mounting international pressure and boycotts of Euro2012 matches in Ukraine by Western ...

EU and US at odds over Iran's role in Syria

18.06.12 @ 09:13

EU diplomats disagree with the US and Israel on whether Iran should join a Contact Group on Syria. UN emissary Kofi Annan last week called for the formation of a body akin to the one which steered events in the Balkans ...

Setbacks for EU diplomacy on Iran and Syria

08.06.12 @ 09:28

Leaked letters show that EU mediation on Iran's nuclear programme is being bedevilled by time-wasting. EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton is trying to organise a new round of talks on Iran in Moscow in her role ...

EU to Russia: 'the euro will not fail'

04.06.12 @ 14:42

Top EU officials Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso have told Russia that the euro is a safe bet. The two men spoke alongside Russian leader Vladimir Putin in a press briefing after the 29th regular EU-Russia ...

OpinionSerbia: deja vu no more

25.05.12 @ 09:03

History repeats itself in the Balkans. Right? The cliche has just been proved wrong again. Last Sunday (19 May) we witnessed a contest pitting the incumbent Boris Tadic, seen as the EU's best bet, against Tomislav ...

OpinionNato: Do what you do best

21.05.12 @ 12:01

Nato is holding its 25th Summit on 20 and 21 May in Chicago, where President Barack Obama will host colleagues from 27 Nato allies. There is a lot to discuss but Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen chose wisely ...

EU takes aim at Israeli settler products

15.05.12 @ 09:22

EU foreign ministers have "warned" Israel they will take a tougher approach to exports originating in illegal settlements on Palestinian land. The ministers in a statement on Monday (14 May) detailing Israel's long-term ...

'Accidental war' waiting to happen on EU periphery

14.05.12 @ 10:25

If or when a full-blown conflict erupts between Armenia and Azerbaijan, it will probably begin like this. According to a senior source in the Armenian defence ministry, on 27 April Azerbaijani troops sneaked over the ...

NGOs highlight Israeli destruction of EU-funded projects

14.05.12 @ 09:29

NGOs have highlighted Israel's ongoing campaign to ethnically cleanse occupied territories as EU ministers meet in Brussels to discuss the problem. Data compiled by the European Commission, the UN and local activists ...

EU snubs Ukraine, again

10.05.12 @ 09:34

EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy - the Union's highest official in protocol terms - has told Ukraine's prime minister, Mykola Azaraov, he is not welcome in the EU capital. "Ukraine's prime minister announced that ...

Question marks over EU contract for Libya security firm

08.05.12 @ 14:06

The European External Action Service (EEAS) has awarded a juicy contract to British security firm G4S in Libya despite the fact it has no permission to work there. The €10 million contract covers bodyguards and building ...

Ukraine tells Reding to be less 'emotional' on Euro2012

04.05.12 @ 09:14

Ukraine's EU ambassador has told justice commissioner Vivianne Reding that she should be less "emotional" in a riposte to her Euro2012 boycott. The diplomat, Konstiantin Yelisieiev, in a letter dated 2 May - and seen by ...

Poland: Euro2012 boycott based on ulterior motives

03.05.12 @ 09:24

The President of Poland - which is co-hosting Euro2012 with Ukraine - has accused EU politicians planning to boycott Ukrainian matches of ulterior motives. Speaking on national TV on Wednesday (2 May), Bronislaw ...

EU-Ukraine association pact: avoiding ratification

02.05.12 @ 09:56

Before the furore over Yulia Tymoshenko's bruises and Euro2012 Ukraine and the European Union initialed their Association Agreement on 30 March. It seemed like progress, albeit of a technical nature, with the hardest ...

Anti-Tymoshenko party hires top PR firm in EU capital

27.04.12 @ 18:31

Ukraine's ruling Party of Regions (PoR) has hired Burson-Marsteller - a top PR company in Brussels - amid a smear campaign against former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Robert Mack, a senior manager at Burson- ...

EU police warn of new-model jihad threat

27.04.12 @ 11:46

The EU's joint police body, Europol has noted there were no succesful Islamist attacks in Europe last year, while warning about future Toulouse-type 'lone wolves.' Its report, out on Wednesday (25April), highlighted ...