Global Europe Brief, powered by FACEBOOK: Iran talks, Syria defeat & Donbas tensions

Your weekly update on the EU from the global perspective.

Welcome to EURACTIV’s Global Europe Brief, your weekly update on the EU from a global perspective.

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EURACTIV’s Global Europe team wishes you a very happy Easter break and will be back for you next week with the full version of this newsletter.

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EU IN THE WORLD

IRAN DEAL TALKS. World powers and Iran meet to discuss the possible return of the United States to the Iran nuclear deal, in talks mediated by the EU. Biden has promised to rejoin the agreement on the condition that Tehran first returns to respecting the commitments abandoned in retaliation for Trump’s decision.

NEW TREATY KLAXON. The international pandemic treaty currently in the making should serve as a framework for future preparedness against global health threats, said European Council president Charles Michel, who originally came up with the idea.

SYRIA DEFEAT. The war in Syria has killed close to 500,000 people since it started in 2011 and displaced nearly half of the country’s population, but the UN and aid agencies fear that donor fatigue may be growing.

Failure to properly fund humanitarian aid missions could lead to another wave of Syrian refugees fleeing to Europe, UN officials have warned ahead of an EU-hosted donor summit.

At the same time, EU foreign ministers insisted this week that they would demand “accountability” from Syria’s government as well as jihadist and other armed groups over alleged war crimes committed since the 2011 uprising that plunged the nation into civil war.

SPANISH PROPOSAL. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has said his country has aspirations to help create a new EU development strategy in Africa, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reports. The Foco África 2023 plan, presented this week, covers a range of development plans, from economic road maps to strategies to meet targets under the UN’s sustainable development goals to be implemented by 2030.

DEFENCE CORNER

TROUBLE-SHOOTING. Two parallel efforts to develop Europe’s next-generation fighter jets are making progress. One of them, however, looks like it is stalling, caught in a spat between participants and political realities, writes Alexandra Brzozowski.

JETS INTERCEPTED. NATO fighter jets scrambled 10 times earlier this week to shadow Russian bombers and fighters during an unusual flurry of flights over the North Atlantic, North Sea, Black Sea and Baltic Sea, NATO said on Tuesday.

ENLARGEMENT LATEST

ELECTION-WATCHING. The stand-off between North Macedonia and Bulgaria, which is blocking Skopje’s EU membership bid, has intensified after Sofia refused to give its blessing last autumn for the start of Skopje’s formal EU accession negotiations, citing ongoing arguments over language and common history.

Tensions should “naturally decline” after the 4 April election in Bulgaria, North Macedonia’s Justice Minister Bojan Marichikj told EURACTIV in an exclusive interview.

EURASIA DIGEST

DONBAS WORRIES. Russia warned this week that a serious escalation in the conflict in Donbas could “destroy” Ukraine as NATO voiced concern over what it said was a big Russian military build-up near eastern Ukraine.

Unverified social media footage has suggested Russia has been moving large quantities of tanks, armoured personnel carriers and other equipment to regions that border Ukraine as well as to Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

A top Pentagon general called counterparts in Russia and Ukraine as the US Defense Department expressed concerns about the reported build-up.

HUNGER STRIKE. Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said this week he is launching a hunger strike to demand proper medical treatment for severe back pain and numbness in his legs.

FAILED TALKS. The second round of EU-mediated talks between Georgia’s ruling party and the opposition failed to resolve a political impasse sparked by elections last year.

MEDIA ‘HARASSMENT’. The EU condemned the “harassment” of foreign journalists in China after a BBC correspondent left the country in the face of legal threats and pressure from authorities.


WHAT ELSE WE’RE READING 

ON OUR RADAR FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS…

Europe’s everyday business is still stuck in lockdown reality, until further notice. We’ll keep you updated on all relevant EU foreign affairs news, as we enter a busy spring period.

  • EU chiefs von der Leyen, Michel meet President Erdogan
    |  Monday, 5 April 2021 | Ankara, Turkey
  • Iran, world powers next meeting on nuclear accord
    | Tuesday, 6 April 2021 | Vienna, Austria
  • Amnesty International releases annual report
    | Wednesday, 7 April 2021 | London, UK

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