After weeks of discussion and a bruising confrontation with Britain, EU leaders finally gave the thumbs up to Jean-Claude Juncker to lead the European Commission for the next five years.
Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights, Charalampos Athanasiou and Minister of Public Order and Citizen Protection, Vassilis Kikilias chaired, on 25 June, in Athens, an EU–US Ministerial meeting on Justice and Home affairs (JHA). A number of issues critical to the European Union and the United States were discussed, such as data protection, migration, terrorism and judicial cooperation.
Despite his good intentions and out-of-the-box approach on defence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will, ironically, be preparing India to fight the last war better. Reason: No one has told him that like other ministries, even defence needs a policy, which he has to formulate, before acquisition of armament begins. Otherwise, it will be putting the cart before the horse. The best thing about making a policy will be that the armed forces will be able to do more with less money as the defence services will be compelled to review their capacities, capabilities and doctrines.
I traveled between Poland and Azerbaijan during a rare period when the forces that shape Europe appear to be in flux, and most of the countries I visited are re-evaluating their positions. The overwhelming sense was anxiety. Observers from countries such as Poland make little effort to hide it. Those from places such as Turkey, which is larger and not directly in the line of fire, look at Ukraine as an undercurrent rather than the dominant theme. But from Poland to Azerbaijan, I heard two questions: Are the Russians on the move? And what can these countries do to protect themselves?
NATO Foreign Ministers and their counterparts from ISAF partner nations met with the Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Ershad Ahmadi on Wednesday (25 June 2014). They reviewed progress in the ISAF mission, took stock of the ongoing election process and finalised operational plans for the launch of a new NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces after 2014. “In six months’ time, our ISAF combat mission will be completed. Afghan troops and police will be fully responsible for security across the country,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said after the meeting.
Bulgaria is heading for new parliamentary elections as the troubled governing coalition fell apart one year into its mandate. This development was not caused by the daily anti-government protests that have continued for over a year. Indeed, the ruling elite has paid little attention to the demands of civil society. Rather, the government was brought down by the withdrawal of the junior coalition partner, the ethnic-Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), following the Socialist party’s poor results in the European Parliamentary elections in May. The Socialists gained only four seats—as many as the Turkish party—while the opposition Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) won six seats in the European legislature (EuropeDecides.eu, May 25).
The difficult process of choosing the new president of the European Commission, undertaken at today’s meeting of the European Council, reveals a split emerging throughout Europe. This fissure does not run between left and right or north and south, nor does it divide old and new Europe.
The special feature of democratic revolutionary movements is that only an active part of the citizens rises up against an outdated power and the new government is elected by all citizens. Inevitably, the casting vote had not the people at the barricades or the Maidan, but those who were waiting on the couch the way things turn out. The latter prefer intermediate options, Ramūnas Bogdanas wrote in DEFLI.
Russia seems at a crossroads in the Ukrainian crisis, unsure how to proceed: to seek some negotiated compromise with Kyiv, or intensify its support for pro-Russian separatists in southeastern Ukraine? During Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Finland last week, a possibility was discussed that Ukraine might follow Cold War–era Finland in what was then known as “Finlandization”—that is, building a neutral democratic nation with a market economy, but politically under Moscow’s thumb. According to Lavrov, “We have many times proposed that all of us—Europeans and Ukrainians—come together and find a way to avoid forcing Ukraine to tear itself apart between right and left.” Since last year, Moscow was been pressing Brussels to start tri-party talks to decide Ukraine’s future status. The idea was flatly rejected by the European Union and by the Ukrainian leaders that emerged after the fall of former president Viktor Yanukovych (RIA Novosti, June 10).
Europe intends to bring its strategy to diversify energy supplies to its logical conclusion, and Turkmenistan should her help. It is possible that Hungary can become a conduit for Turkmen gas to the European market. Experts argue that Budapest has enlisted in support of Moscow.
The failure of gas negotiations between Ukraine and Russia is a sign that the European Union just wanted to moderate rather than lead during the talks. The EU must show more leadership, writes DW's Ingo Mannteufel.
June 16 "Gazprom", as expected, still disabled gas supplies to Ukraine. Ukraine preparing for this for a long time, and take the position does not intend to Kiev intensify negotiations with Slovakia on reversing gas supplies. However, it will not be able to fully compensate for the lack of natural gas. Who started the race will pass faster nerves.
Kazakhstan is calling upon North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, Tengrinews reports citing IA Novosti-Kazakhstan.
China is ready to cooperate with other countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and transnational organized crime; to deepen cooperation in security sector; as well as to make every effort to prevent security threats and challenges, Deputy Minister of Public Security of China Huang Ming said.
Last week, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen paid an official visit Britain. As noted in the materials posted on the organization's website, during this visit, Rasmussen met with Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Minister William Hague and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond. Head of the North Atlantic Alliance also made sharp statements against Russia.