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EU diplomat: Both sides guilty in Egypt

19.08.13 @ 18:49

The EU's envoy to north Africa, Bernardino Leon, has said events in Egypt are "more complex" than a simple story of the army killing Muslim protesters. He told press in Brussels on Monday (19 August) the military has a ...

EU reconsiders arms sales, financial aid to Egypt

19.08.13 @ 11:17

As EU diplomats meet on how to stop bloodshed in Egypt, figures show that France, Germany and Spain led arms sales to the post-revolutionary country in recent years. EU member states' ambassadors will in Brussels on ...

EU convenes emergency meeting on Egypt

16.08.13 @ 09:50

EU foreign ministers may be called to Brussels for snap talks on Egypt in the coming days. The European External Action Service (EEAS) said on Thursday (15 August) that ambassadors on the bloc's Political and Security ...

OpinionWill EU listing of Hezbollah promote stability?

19.07.13 @ 09:16

The scales of confessional compromise in Lebanon - on edge at the best of times - are currently close to tipping point. Spillover from the ongoing Syrian stalemate is increasingly apparent. The humanitarian and societal ...

OpinionThe Gulf is not the exception

16.07.13 @ 09:03

The impact of the Arab uprisings on domestic dynamics in the Gulf poses a dilemma for the European Union. At a time when the Gulf’s financial prowess and regional political clout are most in demand, how can Europe ...

EU reaction to Egypt coup: 'Awkward. Disturbing'

04.07.13 @ 20:24

EU countries are unsure how to react to the Egyptian army's removal of President Mohamed Morsi from power. Ambassadors from the 28 EU states discussed Egypt at a meeting in Vilnius on Thursday (4 July) in the margins of ...

EU sheds no tears over Morsi's departure

04.07.13 @ 09:37

The EU on Wednesday (3 July) tacitly approved the Egyptian army's defenestration of President Mohamed Morsi amid mass civil unrest. The bloc's foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, in a statement published shortly ...

InterviewIran: Election is chance for EU reset

01.07.13 @ 09:26

Iran's ambassador to the EU has said it should relax sanctions in order to grasp a new "opportunity" to mend ties. The diplomat, Mahmoud Barimani, spoke to EUobserver following the recent election of a moderate cleric, ...

OpinionEU human rights strategy: one year on

27.06.13 @ 09:48

Exactly one year ago EU foreign ministers adopted an ambitious new strategic framework on human rights and democracy. The appointment of an EU Special Representative for Human Rights and the adoption of 36 key ...

AgendaYouth unemployment tops EU agenda this WEEK

21.06.13 @ 18:15

EU leaders will gather in Brussels at the end of the week to discuss both youth employment as well as further steps towards banking union. With 26 million people without a job in the EU, and unemployment among young ...

EU arms to Syria: what, how and if

03.06.13 @ 16:27

The EU officially lifted its arms embargo on Syria on Saturday (1 June). The EU hawks which pushed for it, Britain and France, promise they will not ship anything if Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad gets serious in peace ...

'Turkish Spring' tests Erdogan's rule

03.06.13 @ 09:27

Violent clashes between protestors and police in Turkey over the weekend have seen its Prime Minister deny accusations that he is becoming a "dictator." A violent crackdown on a peaceful demonstration on Friday (31 May) ...

US defends EU allies on arms-to-Syria

29.05.13 @ 09:29

US diplomats have defended Britain and France over their dismantling of the EU arms embargo on Syria. White House spokesman Jay Carney on Tuesday (28 May) told press on President Barack Obama's jet: "We welcome the EU ...

EU countries free to ship arms to Syria

28.05.13 @ 09:27

EU countries are legally free to ship arms to Syria from 1 June in an ugly compromise after 14 hours of talks in Brussels. The deal is to see all other sanctions - including visa bans, asset freezes and a prohibition on ...

Austria: EU talks on Syria have failed

27.05.13 @ 22:24

Austria raised the stakes in EU talks on Syria late on Monday (27 May), saying the UK and France have destroyed a potential compromise on arms shipments to rebels. Foreign ministers broke off negotiations for dinner at ...

UK and France: only weapons will make al-Assad talk

24.03.13 @ 17:37

Britain and France have said the only way to get Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to talk is to threaten him with arming rebels. The foreign ministers of the EU's top military powers - William Hague and Laurent Fabius - ...

France and Germany disagree on arming Syria rebels

12.03.13 @ 09:19

France has said the EU should reconsider its ban on giving arms to Syrian rebels, despite German opposition to the move. French foreign minister Laurent Fabius told press after meeting his colleagues in Brussels on ...

'Delusional' Syrian leader accuses West of enflaming conflict

04.03.13 @ 09:29

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has warned Western countries that their support for "terrorists" in his civil war will see them "pay the price sooner or later." Al-Assad spoke in a rare interview with British newspaper ...

OpinionTime to end the silence on Syria

04.03.13 @ 09:25

Last week, the Syrian government launched at least four ballistic missiles in the direction of the city of Aleppo, the second-largest city in Syria. The four projectiles, which are likely to have been Scud-type missiles ...

OpinionKerry's first trip gives clues on EU-US relations

22.02.13 @ 19:27

So, US secretary of state John Kerry's first trip in his new job will be next week - to Europe and the Middle East. One of the key issues on his agenda, even for the European leg of his tour, will be Syria.  Though the ...

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 ...

UK seeks EU support on arming Syrian rebels

18.02.13 @ 12:27

Britain's William Hague was almost alone on Monday (18 February) in saying EU countries should give weapons to Syrian rebels. Coming into a foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels, he told media: "We have given them [the ...

EU and US urge Iran to free Mousavi

15.02.13 @ 09:26

The EU and US have called on Iran to free opposition leaders ahead of elections in June. Iranian security services put Mehdi Karroubi, Hossein Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, under house arrest on 14 February ...

FeatureBack from hell, back from Syria

14.02.13 @ 09:18

From 18 to 23 January I travelled to the Hatay region in Turkey and the Aleppo region in northern Syria. I was there with Rami Jarah and Deiaa Dughmoch (two Syrian activists who had in the past visited the Liberal group ...

InterviewMali miracle: EU states in agreement

04.02.13 @ 12:27

When the UN appointed Romano Prodi as its special envoy to Sahel in October last year, the hot, dusty Republic of Mali in south-west Sahara was rarely in the news. But a severe crisis was already brewing, with thousands ...

Post-Arab Spring countries face 'social time bomb,' EU says

16.01.13 @ 11:37

High youth unemployment in many post-Arab Spring countries is a “social time bomb” the EU has said. On his whirlwind tour of the region, EU Council president Herman Van Rompuy stopped in Egypt and Tunisia on Tuesday (15 ...

Iranian prize winners put their necks on the line

13.12.12 @ 09:28

The winners of this year's EU Sakharov prize for free speech have risked their safety by speaking out to MEPs on Wednesday (12 December). The statements - by imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, and ...

OpinionLiving up to the Nobel: EU must act on Syria

10.12.12 @ 09:06

Catherine Ashton's mandate is to provide leadership on foreign policy and human rights. She has failed, however, to ensure a collective EU voice for bringing the crimes in Syria before the International Criminal Court ( ...

Egyptian protester: 'We are getting a bad image in Europe'

05.12.12 @ 09:20

Tens of thousands of Egyptians marched in protest in Cairo on Tuesday (4 December) in an escalating dispute on the country's post-revolutionary future. "The Muslim Brotherhood is giving Egypt a bad image in Europe. ...

OpinionPalestine as the 194th state in the UN General Assembly?

29.11.12 @ 09:22

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' decision to ask UN members in New York on 29 November to grant Palestine the status of a UN "observer state" has prompted intense debate in Europe, both at government level and in ...

EU countries consider sanctions on Israeli settlers

26.11.12 @ 10:05

EU diplomats have given the green light for member states to impose visa bans on violent Israeli settlers. The Political and Security Committe (PSC) - a group of EU ambassadors dealing with conflict zones - approved the ...

EU and US thank Egypt for Gaza truce

22.11.12 @ 09:26

EU and US statements after one week of Gaza hostilities have underlined the new status of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region. British foreign minister William Hague and French President Francois Hollande - speaking ...

EU countries urge Israel not to invade Gaza

19.11.12 @ 09:25

Two leading EU countries have urged Israel not to launch ground operations in Gaza. Speaking ahead of a foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on Monday (19 November), the UK's Wiliam Hague told Sky news on Sunday that ...

MEPs cancel Iran trip over Sakharov meeting

26.10.12 @ 13:22

Two Iranian dissidents have won the EU's freedom prize, but MEPs who had hoped to meet them in Iran have called off their trip. The parliament on Friday (26 October) said that Jafar Panahi (a film maker) and Nasrin ...

OpinionA new narrative for Europe

18.10.12 @ 10:02

Few could dispute the Nobel committee's assessment last week that the European Union has helped to turn a continent of war into a continent of peace. Many, however, debated whether the committee was right to award the ...

AgendaThis WEEK: bank union to dominate EU summit

13.10.12 @ 08:02

EU leaders will descend on Brussels on Thursday (19 October) for a summit expected to be dominated by talks on the proposed EU banking union, as well as the growth and jobs pact agreed at the June summit. In September, ...

France speaks out for EU sanctions on Iran

26.09.12 @ 09:16

The French leader and French foreign minister have spoken out in favour of new EU sanctions against Iran. French President Francois Hollande told press after his first-ever speech at the UN's annual meeting in New York, ...

Egypt's Islamo-diplomacy comes to EU capital

13.09.12 @ 12:38

Egyptian leader Mohamed Morsi invoked the Koran while promising to protect visitors to Egypt after the killing of US officials in Libya. Speaking in Brussels with European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso on ...

EU reviews safety of Libya diplomats

13.09.12 @ 09:29

The EU's foreign service is considering whether to temporarily close its office in Benghazi after the killing of the US ambassador to Libya in the city on Tuesday (11 September). The small EU unit, a secure building ...

OpinionMr Morsi goes to Brussels

12.09.12 @ 09:28

This week’s visit by Egypt’s new President Mohammed Morsi to Brussels is an important opportunity for Europe to put its relationship with the new Egypt on the right footing. Morsi, less than three months in office, has ...

Feature'Everybody thinks Europe is a Christian continent'

06.08.12 @ 10:38

EU institutions do not do God. But for some religious leaders in EU-aspirant countries, member states' Christian origins are still important. The morning call to prayer at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul means different ...

Report: EU and Greece turn 'blind-eye' to racist violence

11.07.12 @ 09:28

Parts of central Athens, associated in many Europeans' minds with tourist cafes and world-class museums, have become "no-go" areas for migrants in fear of racist attacks. NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a report out on ...

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 ...

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 ...

OpinionAn EU Central Asia strategy with teeth (and heart)

26.06.12 @ 09:47

I cannot help but wonder what Azimjon Askarov would say in reaction to this week's EU foreign ministers' statement "welcom[ing] the progress" in implementing the European Union's strategy for Central Asia. My guess is ...

EU builds situation room for Arab League in Cairo

26.06.12 @ 09:22

Catherine Ashton's foreign service has built a situation room for the Arab League in Cairo to help handle future crises. Agostino Miozzo, Ashton's top official on civilian crisis response, told EUobserver on Monday (25 ...

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 ...

OpinionRaising the volume on EU demands about Gaza

18.06.12 @ 17:45

EU foreign ministers recently said that ending the Middle East conflict was a fundamental interest of the European Union. If this is indeed the case, Europe should pay much more attention to what is happening in the ...

Intelligence experts: Nato has options on Assad

18.06.12 @ 09:27

A former Israeli intelligence chief has said EU and Nato countries can do more on Syria than complaining about Russia or imposing sanctions. The contact, who asked not to be named, spoke to diplomats and press in the EU ...