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European Union: EU says renewed escalation in Ukraine violates ceasefire

Published August 13, 2015 by godshope1971

The European Union said that renewed escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine violated the spirit and the letter of a ceasefire.

“The Minsk Agreements must be implemented in good faith, starting with full observation of the ceasefire and genuine withdrawal of heavy weapons”, the EU’s External Action Service said in a statement on Tuesday. (http://bit.ly/1P4F56s) Ukraine on Monday accused rebels of carrying out the heaviest artillery attacks since the truce was agreed. Russia blamed Kiev.

The Minsk deal, signed in February, calls for a ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists, the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line and constitutional reform to give eastern Ukraine more autonomy. ∞∞∞∞∞ MORE »»»»

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European Union: Camouflaging Origin

Published August 11, 2015 by godshope1971

In spite of the Russian ban on EU agricultural products, the value of overall exports from the 28-nation bloc has risen 5 percent since the embargo was instituted, according to the European Commission. While Russia has become Agroittica’s biggest territory, exports there are forecast to fall to 2.5 tons this year from 3.7 tons in 2014 due to the economic slump.

Mondella proudly recalls a Russian acquaintance offering him “a great Russian caviar” at a dinner on a yacht off Sardinia’s Emerald Coast two summers ago. Mondella tasted it, then lifted the tin and looked underneath. The code number revealed it was his.
For Michele Costabile, a professor of marketing at the Luiss University in Rome, “camouflaging” the caviar’s origin shows Italy is getting its own back on Russia.
“Russia is full of pizza and pasta which have vaguely Italian names but are in fact clumsy imitations made in Russia,” he said. “Two can play that game.” ∞∞∞∞∞ SEE MORE ∞∞∞∞∞

European Union: The EU referendum of 1975 Well-fed men v mavericks

Published August 11, 2015 by godshope1971

AS BEFITS Europe’s awkward partner, Britain’s forthcoming referendum on its relationship with the continent will not be its first. In 1975, only two years after Britain acceded to the European Economic Community, the Labour government of Harold Wilson held an in/out referendum, as it had promised during the previous year’s election campaign. Then, as now, the prime minister pledged to renegotiate the country’s terms of membership, and put the new deal to the electorate. The result was a resounding two-to-one vote to stay in.

If opinion polls are to be believed, the next referendum—due to take place before the end of 2017—will be much tighter. The 1975 vote offers some useful hints as to how both sides might prepare their cases. It also points to some of the political consequences that could flow from such an unusual event. ∞∞∞∞∞ SEE MORE ∞∞∞∞∞

European Union: Refugee Med crisis indictment of international community and EU, says Gerry Adams

Published August 11, 2015 by godshope1971

THE crew of the Naval Service vessel LÉ Niamh – first on the scene after a makeshift boat packed with more than 700 refugees tragically capsized in the Mediterranean with the loss of 200 lives – has been praised by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams as “a credit to our country”.

But the Louth TD also criticised the news that more Direct Provision Centres will be opened by the Government even though they have been deemed by an Oireachtas committee as not fit for purpose. ∞∞∞∞∞ SEE MORE ∞∞∞∞∞

European Union: EU-US data sharing deal moves closer after PRISM fallout

Published August 10, 2015 by godshope1971

A deal between the US and the European Commission regarding the rules that should govern data transfers between companies in the two regions is a step closer to being finalised.

Reuters reported seeing documents that show negotiations between the two parties focusing on the so-called ‘safe harbour’ principles that set out how data can be shared between EU and US companies.

The new guidelines include tighter rules governing how US companies can pass data to third parties so that they cannot circumvent incoming EU data protection regulations about how data can be shared, Reuters said. ∞∞∞∞∞ SEE MORE ∞∞∞∞∞

European Union: Europe’s failure

Published August 10, 2015 by godshope1971

At a makeshift refugee centre at Kara Tepe, a hilltop about 5km north of Lesbos island’s main town of Mytilene, about 50 white tents provided by the local council struggled to accommodate the waves of people coming in daily.

Rubbish littered the area and locals said 16 toilets were frequently blocked despite attempts by authorities to keep the area clean.

Up to 10 people could be seen sharing one of the tents, while others lay on pieces of cardboard, jostling for space under the shade of olive trees in sweltering heat.

“The government had battles on plenty of fronts and probably could not give as much attention to the problem,” the island’s mayor Spiros Galinos told Reuters.

EU leaders have pledged to relocate 16,000 migrants over two years, which Cochetel called “far too little and too late”.

Britain has said it will not participate. It is currently struggling with its own crisis as thousands of migrants seek to enter via the Channel Tunnel.

A senior spokesperson of the UNHCR told Al Jazeera on Thursday that the refugee crisis in Europe is a crisis not because of the number of refugees, but because of Europe’s failure to respond to it in a coordinated fashion.

“In our view, European countries need to work together rather than point fingers at each other. In order to deal with this situation, Europe should open more legal ways for refugees to come,” William Spindler, senior spokesperson of the UNHCR, told Al Jazeera.

The UNHCR told Al Jazeera that more than 224,000 migrants and refugees had arrived in Europe in the first seven months of the 2015, exceeding the 219,000 that had made their way to the continent a year ago. ∞∞∞∞∞ SEE MORE ∞∞∞∞∞

European Union: EU, Vietnam Agree Free Trade Deal

Published August 10, 2015 by godshope1971

The European Union (EU) and Vietnam have reached an agreement in principle for a free trade agreement (FTA) that will remove the majority of tariffs on goods traded between the two economies.

The European Commission said that, following a telephone conversation between EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and the Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade, Vu Huy Hoang, on August 4, all issues of substance have been agreed. Negotiators will now seek to resolve the remaining technical issues and finalize the legal text of the FTA.

The EU-Vietnam FTA will eliminate more than 99 percent of tariffs. Upon its entry into force, Vietnam will liberalize 65 percent of import duties on EU exports. EU duties will be removed over a seven-year period. ∞∞∞∞∞ SEE MORE ∞∞∞∞∞

European Union: EU works hard to prevent tragedy in Mediterranean: officials

Published August 10, 2015 by godshope1971

Senior European Union (EU) officials on Thursday expressed sorrow over the recent tragedy in the Mediterranean, saying the EU is working hard to prevent these terrible tragedies.

European Commission’s First Vice President Frans Timmermans, High Representative for Foreign Policy Federica Mogherini and Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos made the remarks in a joint statement. ∞∞∞∞∞ SEE MORE ∞∞∞∞∞

European Union: Greek aid accord is possible before Aug 20 deadline, EU Says

Published August 10, 2015 by godshope1971

Greece can still reach an agreement with its creditors on a new bailout program in time to make a payment to the European Central Bank in two weeks, according to the European Commission.

“Intense work is ongoing in all areas,” Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told reporters in Brussels on Thursday. She said officials were already drafting the memorandum of understanding – the document outlining Greece’s conditions in return for aid – and said a deal by Aug 20 was possible. ∞∞∞∞∞ SEE MORE ∞∞∞∞∞