STRASBOURG: ‘ POPE FRANCIS BEGINS HIS SECOND TOUR OF EU COUNTRIES ‘

#AceWorldNews- STRASBOURG – Nov.25 – Pope Francis began a four-hour visit to European institutions in Strasbourg on Tuesday, AFP said.

'Pope Francis starts short visit to EU institutions in Strasbourg '

‘Pope Francis starts short visit to EU institutions in Strasbourg ‘

He will address the European Parliament and the Council of Europe during the trip, the shortest abroad by any pope.

This is also the second visit by a pope to the parliament in Strasbourg after John Paul II in 1988.

Francis is expected to meet briefly with new European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and outgoing European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

#ANS2014 

#eu, #tour, #visit

BRUSSELS: ‘ MERKELS POINT OF NO RETURN FOR CAMERON IF UK RESTRICTS FREE MOVEMENT ‘

#AceNewsServices – BRUSSELS – November 03 – German chancellor Angela Merkel would reportedly prefer the UK to leave the EU than have Downing Street limit the free movement of people EUobserver reported. 

Unnamed sources in the German government told the German weekly Der Spiegel that if UK plans to place a cap on unskilled EU migrants would be a step too far for the German Chancellor.

“Should Cameron persist [in this plan], chancellor Angela Merkel would abandon her efforts to keep Britain in the EU. With that a point of no return would be reached,” the source said.

Merkel’s opposition to changing EU rules on free movement may have influenced another decision by the UK over the weekend to drop quotas on EU migrants and instead plan to impose a ban on those who do not have a job or cannot support themselves after three months.

The Sunday Times says prime minister David Cameron, in an upcoming speech, intends to lay out his anti-immigrant ideas that would instead stretch EU rules “to their limits” in order to appease Merkel.

Merkel’s “point of no return” admission is significant because it is the first time she has floated the idea of a possible UK exit from the EU.

The German chancellor is not opposed to placing restrictions on EU nationals who abuse another member state’s social system but is firmly opposed to the fundamental right of free movement of people being curtailed.

“Germany does not want to touch the basic principle of free movement of persons within the EU,” said one German official.

The welfare abuse restrictions already generated controversy last year when the then EU commission for justice Viviane Reding warned against “unfounded wrong perceptions” about welfare tourism. Under EU rules, member states can ask an EU national to leave if they become a “burden”.

UK politicians, including home secretary Theresa May and Ukip leader Nigel Farage, spoke out against potential mass migration in the run-up to lifting all restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian workers in January 2014.

#ANS2014

#eu, #free-movement, #uk

‘ ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT BETWEEN UKRAINE AND EU ON CREATING FREE TRADE WILL LAUNCH IN 2016 ‘

#AceNewsServices – November 02 – Most of the provisional application of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU came into force on Saturday, except for the section on creating a free trade area which will be launched on January 1, 2016.

The provisional application will cover important areas such as the rule of law, the fight against crime and corruption as well as intensified sectorial cooperation, said a joint statement by the presidents of Ukraine, the European Council, and the European Commission. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has congratulated Ukrainians, adding on his Facebook page that the next goal is to join the EU.

#ANS2014 

#eu, #free-trade, #ukraine

CANADA: ‘ European Commission Draft Directive Removes Obligatory Labelling of Tar Sands Oil as Highly Polluting ‘

#AceNewsServices – CANADA – October 08 – The European Commission has proposed a directive that abandons obligatory labelling of tar sands oil as highly polluting, opening way for Canada’s sands crude imports and drawing criticism for putting oil producers’ interests above the environment.

' Alberta Tar Sands '

‘ Alberta Tar Sands ‘

In light of recent economic tensions with Russia and the EU’s energy dependence on its eastern neighbour, the European Commission has published a proposal, the text of which removes one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of Alberta exporting its oil sands crude to Europe.

The revised draft still has to be approved by EU member-states before being passed on to the European Parliament.

“The commission is today (Tuesday) giving this another push, to try and ensure that in the future, there will be a methodology and thus an incentive to choose less polluting fuels over more polluting ones like, for example, oil sands,” EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said in a statement.

“It is no secret that our initial proposal could not go through due to resistance faced in some member states,” Hedegaard added. “I strongly recommend Member States to adopt this proposal and keep the safeguards that will allow cleaner fuels to be used in transport across Europe.”

The desire for a trade deal with Canada had been a factor in revising the draft said EU sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity to Reuters.

Oil sands crude is more damaging to the environment as it emits more carbon over its life-cycle, but under the new draft that was EU will be counting it in the same category as conventional oil, opening way for larger imports from Canada.

The debate about labelling tar sands crude, in the EU started in 2009 when the block approved legislation aimed at cutting greenhouse gases from fuel by 6 percent by 2020, but failed to agree how to implement it.

The law is part of the EUs broader strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.

Source:

#ANS2014

#alberta, #canada, #eu, #european-commission, #tar-sands

SWEDEN: ‘ Prime Minister Forms First Feminist Cabinet ‘

#AceWorldNews – SWEDEN – October 04 – Sweden’s new Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Loefven has described his government as “feminist,” and it includes Green Party ministers for the first time.

“The Swedish people voted for a change of government and a new political direction,” Loefven told parliament in his inaugural speech.

Half his cabinet is female, including Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson and Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem, a former EU commissioner, AFP said.

Loefven repeated election pledges to create jobs, recruit more teachers and increase the compulsory school age from 16 to 18.

#ANS2014 

#eu, #feminist, #green-party, #sweden

‘ David Cameron Says if EU is Not in Britain’s Interest I Would Not Argue to Stay ‘

#AceNewsServices – BRITAIN – September 30 – Prime Minister David Cameron says Britain’s departure from the European Union would not leave him heartbroken, emphasizing that he feels “1,000 times more strongly about the UK than the EU.”

' The EU is “not working properly” for Britons at present, according to PM David Cameron. (Reuters/Luke MacGregor) '

‘ The EU is “not working properly” for Britons at present, according to PM David Cameron. (Reuters/Luke MacGregor)

Speaking on the BBC’s Today program, the PM said the union is “not working properly” for the British populace at present. Cameron suggested that the best solution for Britain is to secure a “reformed position in the EU,” because the British state is ultimately a trading nation. The Tory leader argued that the UK government does not just want access to EU markets, but also wishes to retain leverage over trade regulations that underpin those markets.

The state’s future membership of the EU is a “matter of important pragmatism,” Cameron said, rather than one of possible heartbreak – a phrase he issued prior to the Scottish independence referendum. While he acknowledged it “is going to be tough” to renegotiate the UK’s standing on the European stage, he said he was confident he would be successful in doing so.

Cameron emphasized that the widespread dissatisfaction across Europe – stemming from the manner in which the euro is driving integration throughout the region – would give Britain extra leverage in negotiating its EU membership status.

The PM’s efforts to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership terms drew extra support in May, following rising dissent against Brussels that surfaced during the European elections.

Cameron’s comments were issued just one day after John Redwood, a Conservative former cabinet minister, warned that high-ranking corporate executives who publicly back Britain’s EU membership will face a “very dear economic and financial price.”

Redwood, a prominent figure within the Conservative Party’s eurosceptic wing, warned UK-based firms to “keep out” of the debate, insisting they should beware of meddling in politics.

Speaking at a fringe gathering, Redwood suggested that eurosceptics would seek to destabilize pro-EU executives.

Redwood, a prominent figure within the Conservative Party’s eurosceptic wing, has warned UK-based firms to "keep out” of Britain's EU membership debate. (Reuters/Luke MacGregor)

Redwood, a prominent figure within the Conservative Party’s eurosceptic wing, has warned UK-based firms to “keep out” of Britain’s EU membership debate. (Reuters/Luke MacGregor)

“[We] will then make life difficult for them by making sure that their customers, their employees and their shareholders who disagree with them – and there will be a lot who disagree with them – will be expressing their views very forcefully and will be destabilizing their corporate governance,” he said.

Reflecting on his hawkish eurosceptic comments, Labour MP Barry Sheerman said that Redwood had “finally flipped.”

Katja Hall, deputy director-general of Britain’s most prolific business lobby CBI, also criticized Redwood’s comments.

“On an issue of such great importance to the UK’s economic future, business has both the right and duty to be involved in the debate. The vast majority of businesses are clear that Britain’s continued membership of a reformed EU is in the country’s interest,” she told RT.

Cameron has recently faced increasing pressure to harden his stance on Europe in the wake of a series of defections by eurosceptic Tories and Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party. The defectors collectively suggested the prime minister would be unlikely to retain his promise to hold an EU membership referendum in Britain in 2017, should the Tories manage to cling to their position of power in the aftermath of Britain’s upcoming general election.

Cameron indicated on Sunday that he has not entirely ruled out Britain’s departure from the EU. “If I thought that it was not in Britain’s interests to be in the European Union, I would not argue for us to be in it,” Cameron told BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show.

#ANS2014

#britain, #eu, #european-union, #prime-minister-david-cameron, #uk

‘ Gas Prices in Ukraine May Quadruple if Naftogaz Sets Unified Price ‘

#AceWorldNews – KIEV – September 24 – . /ITAR-TASS/. Gas prices in Ukraine may quadruple if Naftogaz of Ukraine sets a unified price for all gas consumers, a company senior official said on Wednesday.

' Naftogaz Quadruple Price with Unified Price '

‘ Naftogaz Quadruple Price with Unified Price ‘

Alexander Todiichuk, Naftogaz of Ukraine Deputy CEO, said this initiative had been supported by the Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Ministry.

This is a very heavy blow, and politicians are trying to avoid it in view of the elections this autumn as people’s discontent may affect this process,” he said.

On Tuesday, Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuri Prodan said the country was ready to agree “an interim market price” for gas imported from Russia.

We are trying to find a solution “

The question is what one can expect from the upcoming gas talks between Russia, Ukraine and the EU in Berlin on September 26.

We support the compromises offered by the European Union and we are consulting the EU in order to work out a compromise,” he said.

Source:

#ANS2014

#russia, #berlin, #eu, #kiev, #naftogaz, #ukraine

SCOTLAND: ‘ Debate Surrounding Independency Which Country Agrees YES or NO ‘

#AceNewsServices – SCOTLAND – September 18 – Debate surrounding the question of whether Scotland should become an independent country has seen impassioned interventions on both sides of the argument.

Supporters for the Yes campaign for the Scottish Independence Referendum hold flags that symbolize Catalonia's independence, during a demonstration in Barcelona, Spain Photo: Emilio Morenatti/AP

Supporters for the Yes campaign for the Scottish Independence Referendum hold flags that symbolize Catalonia’s independence, during a demonstration in Barcelona, Spain Photo: Emilio Morenatti/AP

Within Britain and abroad, politicians and statesman have clambered to urge Scottish voters, depending on ideology, to vote in favour of independence or to retain the United Kingdom.

As millions of Scots prepare to go to the polls on Thursday, the Telegraph looks back at how the world has responded to the potential dissolution of the UK’s 300-year-old union UK Telegraph reported in flash-back.

NO: THE ANTI-INDEPENDENCE CAMP
Spain
“For Scotland, secession would be a catastrophe. It would end up in a Balkanisation process that nobody in Europe wants right now” – García-Margallo, foreign minister
“I have spoken to the representatives of the 28 states and enthusiasm for processes of this type is nil, because I understand they are bad for the region in question, for the state and the EU as a whole” – Mariano Rajoy, prime minister.

Italy

“The UK is one of the pillars of the single market, of big international trade agreements and is so important in Europe that the consequence will be maybe the start of the true decline of the European Union. The sequence, the consequences of tomorrow’s referendum, could be very, very dangerous” – Enrico Letta, prime minister

Having Scotland outside the EU means the English-Scottish border becomes a customs frontier, with controls and tariffs. EU regional funding would end. Fishing rights would have to be re-negotiated from outside. And that is just the start of a very long list of disadvantages” – Ginna Pittella, leader of Socialist bloc of European Parliament

USA

I would say that the United Kingdom has been an extraordinary partner to us. From the outside, at least, it looks like things have worked pretty well. And we obviously have a deep interest in making sure that one of the closest allies that we will ever have remains strong, robust, united, and an effective partner. But ultimately these are decisions that are to be made by the folks there”Barack Obama, president

“The UK is an extraordinary partner for America and a force for good in an unstable world. I hope it remains strong, robust and united”Barack Obama, President, on the eve of voting

“I hope the Scots people will vote to remain in the UK for several reasons”Bill Clinton, former president

“You will not find anyone involved in American foreign policy – from the President on down – who does not think that this division will weaken the alliance that we have” Brad Sherman, congressman (D)

Australia

I am a firm friend of the United Kingdom and I want it to remain the United Kingdom, not the disunited Kingdom. It is a matter for Scotland, obviously, but as a friend of the United Kingdom that is my view” Tony Abbott, prime minister

Canada

We think, from a Canadian perspective, that a strong, united United Kingdom is an overwhelmingly positive force in the world”Stephen Harper, prime minister

India

“Great Scot! Independence vote may up Scotch prices” – Hindustan Times

Germany

“A German foreign minister is well advised not to interfere in British domestic politics. But I would openly admit that I would rather see Great Britain remain together” – Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister

“A ‘Yes’ vote for Scottish independence on Thursday would go down in history as a political and economic mistake as large as Winston Churchill’s decision in 1925 to return the pound to the Gold Standard or the failure of the Federal Reserve to provide sufficient liquidity to the US banking system, which we now know brought on the Great Depression in the US” David Folkerts-Landau, Deutsche Bank Chief Economist

The opt-outs they’re pushing for would make it very difficult for Scotland to get membership… I would be extremely surprised if there was an automatic accession to the EU” Jo Leinen, senior Socialist MEP

“Scottish independence remains an adventure – poltically, economically and from a currency standpoint” – Die Weit

China

[China wants a] “strong, prosperous and united United Kingdom” Li Keqiang, Chinese premier

“The concept of unity is the reason why the United Kingdom exists. If Scotland splits, it will hurt Britain’s self esteem and also reduce the impact of the country on the international stage. The world will suffer too. Britain cannot ignore this because Scotland means a lot to the UK” – China News Wire

YES: THE PRO-INDEPENDENCE CAMP

France

I would obviously vote for Scottish independence because I’m too keen on history not to know that Scotland is the traditional ally of the French ever since the Ancien Régime” – Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a maverick politician who ran for president in 2012 as the candidate of the Front de Gauche

Quebec

This is not about destroying the UK, it’s not about being against Britain, it’s about creating something new, an independent free Scotland. You can leave the negativity to the No campaign. Do I hope that Scottish independence could serve as an inspiration for us? Yes I do, I certainly do” – Daniel Turp, veteran of Quebec’s pro-independence campaign

Bavaria

We wish our Scottish friends victory in the referendum with all our hearts. For us in Bavaria it would be a real boost and it would no longer be so easy for our media to negate or ridicule this topic. The larger the political unit, the less chance individuals have of being heard” Florian Weber, eader of the pro-independence Bavaria Party

Catalonia

“If the yes wins then all of the European governments will have to accept the result, including Madrid. And I am convinced that the negotiations between Brussels, London and Edinburgh will start very quickly with the goal to keep Scotland in the European Union. The consequences for us are important. It raises the question that if the Scottish people have the right to decide then why not the Catalan people” Artur Mas, president of the semi-autonomous Spanish region

North Korea

“I think that independence would be a very positive thing for Scotland. I believe that every person has the right to be a member of an independent nation, to have sovereignty, to live in peace and to enjoy equality. And I believe that a majority of Scots feel the same and will vote for independence” Choe Kwan-il, managing editor of Pyongyang-supported Choson Sinbo

Palestinian territories

Every person wants to be able to decide for themselves. So if they want to separate from the UK, then of course I support them” Issa Musallam, Palestinian bagpipe player Issa Musallam, 23

As a bagpipe player, and knowing the history of bagpipes, I like to call it an instrument of war, The Scots used to have bagpipes on the battlefield, so for me, it’s part of resistance. But as Palestinians, like everyone else, we want our own state. The Scottish want their independence, their state, so they can live in a country that’s theirs and theirs alone” – Majeed Qonqar, Palestinian bagpipe player

Argentina

“In four days, we will know whether this perfect storm was just a passing breeze, or if Great Britain should prepare itself to take its place in the coffers of history alongside the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and so many other old broken states” – Martin Rodriguez Yebra, La Nacion newspaper.

Courtesy of Telegraph UK Staff

Source:

#ANS2014

#argentina, #australia, #bavaria, #britain, #canada, #catalonia, #china, #eu, #france, #germany, #india, #italy, #north-korea, #palestinian-authorities, #quebec, #scotland, #spain, #united-kingdom, #usa

‘ YES or NO Everyone in Scotland Has an Opinion Either Sassenach or Scot ‘

#AceWorldNews – SCOTLAND – September 15 – Travellers to Scotland, beware. In buses, pubs and street rallies, people have only one thing on their mind these days: Scottish independence.

yes-or-no-480

They wear bumper stickers with “Yes” or “No thanks”, dye their hair white and blue, sing folk songs and hand out leaflets.

' YES or NO The Scottish People Decide '

‘ YES or NO The Scottish People Decide ‘

Posters are everywhere.

For the yes camp, it is about a nation going its own way, breaking away from a political elite in Westminister.

To “naysayers”, it is a foolish decision instigated by populists, that will ruin two nations for generations to come.

Both camps are virtually equal, with pollsters saying the referendum on Thursday (18 September) can go either way.

The referendum will also have an impact on other independence-minded regions in the EU, such as Catalonia in Spain and Flanders in Belgium.

Scotland will set a precedent for how Brussels deals with territories breaking off from an EU member state.

Aye or nay

Any person over 16 who resides in Scotland, irrespective of their nationality, will be allowed to answer the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

Several foreign students and an English shopkeeper told this website they will not cast their vote, however, because this is a “Scottish matter”.

But David Warren, a 50-year old accountant who is originally from Trinidad and has been living in Edinburgh for over 20 years, said he will vote yes “because I want Scotland to experience what my home country experienced in 1962 when it became independent from the UK”.

#ANS2014

#belgium, #brussels, #catalonia, #eu, #flanders, #saasenach, #scotland, #spain, #yes

BRUSSELS: ‘ Gas Supplies for Poland and Slovakia Dip As EU Imposes Sanctions ‘

#AceNewsServices (Exclusive) – BRUSSELS – September 12 – Poland and Slovakia have said gas supplies from Russia are down, as the EU impose’s new sanctions.

Gazprom

A Polish diplomat told EUobserver on Thursday (11 September) that volumes fell by 20 percent on Monday and were down by 45 percent by Thursday.

The same day Slovak PM Robert Fico said supplies to his country had dipped by eight to 11 percent.

Both countries are trying to find out what is going on amid denials by Russian supplier Gazprom that its shipments are any lower than normal.

The Polish diplomat said the enquiries are being made by Polish gas distribution firms. But Fico told press he has tasked officials to contact Moscow.

Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary are involved in shipping “reverse-flow” gas to Ukraine after Russia cut off Ukraine gas in a price dispute.

But a Hungarian diplomat told this website its Russia gas deliveries are normal for now.

We did not see a drop in supplies. But we are filling up our storage tanks so that we are prepared for any scenario that may come”, the source noted.

The Polish diplomat added: “On the Polish side, there is no risk to national consumers at this stage. We have generous reserves. But the supply reductions could be a burden on reverse-flow and I have heard talk that this is being scaled down”.

Gazprom’s reductions come the same week the EU adopted a new round of economic sanctions against Russia following its invasion of east Ukraine.

Some EU states had wanted to wait and see if a ceasefire deal with Russia holds before implementing the new measures.

But EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy announced on Thursday that they will enter into life the following morning.

Gazprom Gas supplies - 50f5940df92d861b9e51de5bd2c5f517

The most vulnerable to gas cuts is Finland and according to report by EUobserver

“A Russian gas export embargo during the winter of 2014/15 lasting for more than 6 months would cause supply shortfalls in many European countries, in particular, in central and eastern Europe, including Germany,” according to a study published Wednesday (3 September) by the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne. 

#ANS2014

#aceworldnews, #russia, #brussels, #cologne, #eu, #finland, #gazprom, #hungary, #moscow, #poland, #polish, #russian, #slovakia, #ukraine

BRUSSELS: ‘ EU Publishes New Sanctions on Russia in Bloc’s Official Journal ‘

#AceNewsServices – BRUSSELS – September 12 – EU countries have added Russia’s top oil firms, an oligarch, and a leading nationalist MP to their blacklist.

The names were published in the bloc’s Official Journal on Friday (12 September) in reaction to Russia’s invasion of east Ukraine last week.

The new regulation forbids EU entities from buying debt with a 30 or more day maturity, issuing loans, or selling financial services to five banks, three oil firms, and three defence companies.

The banks, already named in an earlier ban on 90-day bonds, are: Gazprombank; Rosselkhozbank; Sberbank; VEB; and VTB.

The newly named oil firms are: Rosneft; Transneft; and Gazprom Neft. The newly sanctioned defence companies are: Oboronprom; United Aircraft Corporation; and Uralvagonzavod.

The regulation blocks the sale of “dual-use” items to eight more newly named defence and technology firms: Almaz Antey; Bazalt; Chemcomposite; Kalashnikov; Sirius; Stankoinstrument; Technologii Maschinostrojenija; Wysokototschnye Kompleksi.

It forbids EU entities from supplying services for Russian deep water, Arctic, or shale oil exploration, including: drilling; well testing; logging and completion services; and supply of specialised floating vessels.

It also imposes an asset freeze and visa ban on 24 people, bringing the total since the Ukraine conflict erupted in March to 119.

Ten of the people are pro-Russia rebel chiefs in east and south Ukraine and in Crimea, including Donetsk region “prime minister” Aleksandr Zakharchenko, who recently co-signed a peace deal with Ukraine and Russia.

Twelve more are Russian MPs who supported the war on Ukraine, including firebrand nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

The new blacklist also names Russian oligarch Sergey Chemezov and major-general Aleksey Naumets.

It says that Chemezov, who chairs the Rostec arms conglomerate, is a “close associate” of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and that one of his firms is now building an energy plant in Crimea, which Russia annexed in March.

It says Naumets “is the commander of the 76th airborne division, which has been involved in the Russian military presence on the territory of Ukraine”.

EU Council head Herman Van Rompuy noted in a statement on Thursday the EU will assess “before the end of the month” whether Russia’s recent peace deal with Ukraine is being implemented.

He added that “in the light of the review and if the situation on the ground so warrants” the EU will “amend, suspend or repeal the set of sanctions in force, in all or in part”.

The White House on Thursday said it will also publish details of new measures on Friday.

Courtesy of EUobserver 12/04/2014 Publication Download Link  
#ANS2014


#russia, #banking, #blacklist, #brussels, #crimea, #defence, #eu, #european-union, #finance, #oil, #ukraine, #white-house

‘ US Imposing New Sanctions on Russia Joining EU Targeted at Defence, Financial and Energy ‘

#AceBreakingNews – UNITED STATES (Washington) – September 11 – The United States will impose a new round of sanctions on Russia on Friday, joining the European Union in ramping up pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Russian presence in Ukraine.

President Obama said the broadened sanctions will target Russia’s financial, energy, and defence sectors.

“These measures will increase Russia’s political isolation as well as the economic costs to Russia, especially in areas of importance to President Putin and those close to him,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House Press Office.

“As I said last week, if Russia fully implements its commitments, these sanctions can be rolled back. If, instead, Russia continues its aggressive actions and violations of international law, the costs will continue to rise.”

#ANS2014

#russia, #eu, #european-union, #president-obama, #russian, #russian-president-vladimir-putin, #united-states, #washington, #white-house

BRUSSELS: ‘ Juncker Moves Top People into Place by Putting Mogherini’s HQ in Berlaymont ‘

#AceWorldNews – BRUSSELS – September 11 – The EU foreign relations chief is to move her office back to the European Commission to steer a cell of top officials on external policy.

The new commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, set out the plan in a “mission letter” to the foreign relations head, Federica Mogherini, published on Wednesday (10 September).

He said: “To liaise more effectively with the other members of the college, following your suggestion, you will have your headquarters in the Berlaymont, and the commission will put a cabinet of an appropriate size at your disposal, about half of which will be commission officials”.

English: Insignia of the European External Act...

English: Insignia of the European External Action Service (EAS) ‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Emblemet tilhørende Den europeiske avdeling for agering utad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He added that Mogherini will chair a new “Commissioners’ Group on External Action” that will meet “at least once a month”.

He listed seven portfolios that “have a strong external dimension”.

The list includes: neighbourhood and enlargement negotiations; trade; development; humanitarian aid; climate action and energy; transport; and migration.

He also said the commission will continue to run Mogherini’s human resources and will retain control over the vast majority of EU external budgets.

Mogherini’s predecessor, Catherine Ashton, moved her cabinet out of the Berlaymont, the commission HQ, across the road to the EU foreign service’s €12-million-a-year “Axa” building in 2012.

Her spokesman said at the time “it will facilitate contacts between the staff members … reinforce the team spirit and the corporate identity of the EEAS [the European External Action Service]”.

She was also meant to chair a group of commissioners with external-type dossiers. But it met just five times in five years and she did not go to any of the meetings.

EUobserver Reported: 

#ANS2014

#berlaymont, #commission-officials, #eu, #european-commission, #european-external-action-service, #federica-mogherini, #finance, #foreign-relations, #jean-claude-juncker

ROMANIA: ' Preparing Women Candidate for EU Commission '

#AceWorldNews – ROMANIA – August 31 – Romania is preparing a female candidate for the EU commission, while sticking to Dacian Ciolos as first option, prime minister Victor Ponta said.

The European Parliament has threatened to veto the new EU commission if fewer than nine members are female.

Only five other countries have nominated women so far.

By EUobserver

#ANS2014

#eu, #european-commission, #european-parliament, #romania

BRUSSELS: ' EU Leaders Sabre Rattle as Petro Poroshenko's Ultimatum Threatens Full Scale War with Russia '

#AceWorldNews – BRUSSELS – August 31 – EU leaders have given Russian president Vladimir Putin one week to stop attacking Ukraine or face more sanctions EUObserver reported.

The latest ultimatum came after Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko personally told the 28 presidents and PMs at a summit in Brussels on Saturday (30 August) that he is a hair’s breadth away from “full-scale war” with his neighbour.

The summit conclusions corroborated his claim that last week saw an open “aggression by Russian armed forces on Ukrainian soil”.

The conclusions tasked the European Commission to present new sanctions options “within a week” and said they will include “a provision on the basis of which every person and institution dealing with the separatist groups in the Donbass [east Ukraine] will be listed”.

They did not spell out what will prompt the EU decision, referring only to “the evolution of the situation on the ground”.

“There is no precise criterion”, EU Council chairman Herman Van Rompuy told press.

For her part, German chancellor Angela Merkel noted that the Russian army’s incursion into Ukraine marks “a new step in the escalation”.

#ANS2014

#brussels, #donbass, #eu, #european-council-president-herman-van-rompuy, #german-chancellor-angela-merkel, #ukrainian-president-petro-poroshenko

BRUSSELS: ' EU Leaders Agree Appointment of PM Donald Tusk as Next EU Council President and Frederick Mogheni as New Foreign Affairs Chief '

#AceWorldNews – BRUSSELS – August 31 – EU leaders on Saturday (30 August) agreed to appoint Polish PM Donald Tusk as the next EU Council president and Italian minister Federica Mogherini as the bloc’s new foreign affairs chief EUobserver reported.

Outgoing council head Herman Van Rompuy praised Tusk’s pro-European credentials and for the way he steered Poland through the economic crisis, noting that it was the only EU economy which kept growing while most suffered recession.

Tusk said his appointment comes at a time when "eastern European expertise will be badly needed in Europe" and that he will seek an EU consensus on how to handle the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

As he will also chair summits of eurozone leaders only, Tusk added that Europe should not be divided into “separate clubs” and that he would not have taken the post if there was to be a separate, eurozone-only chairman.

Amid criticism from some EU states on his weak English, he threw in an English pun: “Nothing is good enough for Europe, including my English, and I will polish my English … So don’t worry”.

German chancellor Angela Merkel also voiced approval.

“It is good that Europe will have such a highly qualified and motivated European, 25 years after the collapse of the Berlin wall, 25 years after the end of the Cold War”, she said in a brief statement.

#ANS2014

#brussels, #eu, #eurozone, #frederica-mogherini, #polish-pm-donald-tusk

BRUSSELS: ‘ EU Ready to Appeal to WTO Over Russian Import Bans Due to Lose of Billions of Euro’s in Trade ‘

#AceWorldNews – BRUSSELS – August 07 – The EU is ready to appeal to the World Trade Organization to have the Russian agriculture import bans lifted, a European diplomatic source told ITAR-TASS.

“Politically motivated large-scale trade restrictions are a direct violation of WTO rules, which Russia pledged to comply with,” the diplomat said. “These measures will be thoroughly analysed, and then relevant claims will be submitted with the WTO.”

The source added that the European Commission would start analysing Russia’s ban on imports from EU states as soon as the official list of banned goods would be published.

The EU Council may convene an urgent meeting in connection with Russia’s response to European sanctions.

It is early to say whether the EU will take measures in response to the Russian ban on imports of food products from Europe, source told.

“First, it is necessary to see and analyse the official list of product that Moscow intends to ban. After that, decisions will be made both at the European and the national level,” the source stressed.

The Russian ban on agricultural imports from the European Union is an “irresponsible measure” that can lead to losses of billions of euro for European as well as Russian consumers, the source told ITAR-TASS.

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‘ EU Diplomats Believe Israel Will Launch Ground Offensive of Gaza City If One Hamas Rocket Causes Serious Israeli Casualties ‘

#AceWorldNews – BRUSSELS – July 12 – EU diplomats believe Israel will launch a ground invasion of Gaza if a Hamas rocket causes serious Israeli casualties.


​Gaza after the Israeli ground attack in 2009 (Photo: Amir Farshad Ebrahimi)

The concerns come amid rapid escalation in fighting over the past four days.

Hamas, the Palestinian militant group which rules Gaza, says Israeli strikes have killed more than 100 people, including “at least” 35 children. Israel says Hamas is responsible for 490 rocket attacks.

None of them have claimed direct casualties so far, in part due to Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system.

But Israel has made preparations for a ground assault and has designated three objectives if it goes ahead: to destroy Hamas’ stockpile of some 12,000 rockets, to demolish its undergound tunnels to Israel, and to force ceasefire terms that will prevent future attacks.

An EU diplomatic source told EUobserver on Friday (11 July): “If they [Hamas] … hit a kindergarten or a school and there are serious [Israeli] casualties, then that will spark all sorts of consequences, including a ground assault”.

The contact noted it is “difficult to predict” how EU countries would react.

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‘ EU Leaders Set Monday as Deadline for Release of Prisoners in East Ukraine ‘

#AceWorldNews – BRUSSELS – (European Union) – June 27 – EU leaders have set Monday as the deadline for the release of prisoners in east Ukraine and for the terms of a lasting ceasefire, Reuters said.

They said in a statement during a summit in Brussels on Friday that they also expected Ukrainian authorities should be granted control of three main border checkpoints.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had proposed extending the current, temporary ceasefire for 72 hours as it expires at 19:00 GMT on Friday.

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' Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko Ready to Sign EU trade Treaty '

#AceNewsServices – BRUSSELS – June 09 – Ukraine’s new President, Petro Poroshenko, at his “modest” inauguration said he wants to sign an EU trade treaty as soon as possible.

“My pen is in my hands and as soon as the EU approves the respective decision, the signature of the President of Ukraine will appear in this fateful document,” he said in a speech at the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, on Saturday (7 June).

“We consider it as the first step toward full membership in the EU. Nobody has the right to veto the European choice of Ukraine,” he added.

“We, the people who were isolated from their great European homeland, are coming home.”

The EU pact means Ukraine can have free trade with Russia, but is legally bound to stay out of Moscow’s Eurasian Union.

It is known in EU circles as “accession-lite” because it also obliges Ukraine to align itself with the minutsiae of single market rules.

EU ambassadors are to meet in Brussels on Wednesday to adopt a decision to sign.

Read More: EU Observer – http://tinyurl.com/pyqwgc2

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