Wednesday

19th Jun 2019

EU set to roll over Russia sanctions amid defence talks

  • EU leaders are seeking to strengthen defence. (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

EU leaders meeting in Brussels for a summit are set to discuss rolling over sanctions against Russia, amid broader talks on defence.

Both French president Emmanuel Macron and Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel will on Thursday (22 June) debrief other leaders over dinner on the so-called Minsk peace process on Ukraine.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Brokered by France and Germany in 2015, the Minsk agreement has largely failed to stop the fighting in east Ukraine following the Russian-led invasion into Crimea.

One senior EU diplomat described the Macron-Merkel brief as a push to proceed with sanctions against Russia in early July. "It will be the political green light," he noted.

The talks on Minsk follow US moves earlier this week to expand Russia sanctions given Moscow's military intervention in Ukraine.

EU battle groups and defence

It also comes amid wider EU plans to allow a core group of EU states the ability to launch joint security projects.

Earlier this month, the EU commission announced it would start co-financing joint defence projects to the tune of some €1.5 billion a year.

Leaders from all 28 EU states are expected to endorse the EU defence financing and set a time line for the launch of the so-called permanent structure cooperation (Pesco).

Pesco aims to shore up defence cooperation among EU states but questions remain on how or what exactly it will do.

"None of us yet know what Pesco is going to be," said one EU senior diplomat.

Another diplomat made similar comments. "On defence, the buzz word is Pesco but it is a bit unclear what that will mean in reality," he said.

Despite the confusion, EU leaders on Thursday are expected to endorse it.

The plan then is to set the criteria and commitments with EU states. Many, if not all, are expected to join Pesco.

They'll also seek to reach an agreement on the deployment of EU battle groups.

Battle groups are rapid reaction forces of about 1,000 soldiers aimed at responding to unfolding crises abroad.

EU to spend €1.5bn a year on joint defence

The Commission has offered to put aside €1.5 billion a year for joint defence spending in what could be the first step toward the creation of an EU army.

Security and defence to top EU summit

Pressure is mounting for social media platforms to remove any online content deemed to incite terrorism. Draft conclusions, seen by EUobserver, have made the issue a top priority in leaders' talks next week.

News in Brief

  1. New socialist group leader to push for Timmermans
  2. Romanian ex-PM frontrunner to head new liberal group
  3. France, Germany and Spain in fighter jet deal
  4. Tusk grilled in Poland over role as PM
  5. Italy is 'most credible' US partner in EU, says Salvini
  6. EU blames Sudan junta for killings and rapes
  7. Report: EU may suspend Turkey customs union talks
  8. Swiss stock exchange could lose EU access in July

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. EU urges Swiss to move on talks or face sanction
  2. Frontex transparency dispute goes to EU court
  3. Commission goes easy on scant national climate plans
  4. Macron and Mogherini decline to back US accusation on Iran
  5. EU summit must give effective answer on migration
  6. Spain's Garcia set to be next Socialist leader in parliament
  7. Erdogan mocks Macron amid EU sanctions threat
  8. The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us