EU foreign ministers threatened Russia yesterday (22 July) with harsher sanctions over Ukraine that could inflict wider damage on its economy following the downing of a Malaysian airliner, but delayed action for a few days.
Poland and the Baltic states are uneasy about Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini's bid to be European Union foreign policy chief, concerned that she may be soft on Russia, but look unlikely to block her, diplomats said on Monday (14 July).
The choice of the next high representative for foreign policy is crucial, given the threats to the EU's values and interests coming from armed conflict, dysfunctional democracy, and state failure, writes Michael Leigh.
The Green European Parliament Vice President Ulrike Lunacek has called on EU leaders to elect Kristalina Georgieva, the Bulgarian commissioner for humanitarian aid, as the successor of Catherine Ashton as EU foreign Affairs chief.
A new report by the European Court of Auditors examining the European External Action Service has found that the institution has been “inadequately prepared”, lacks resources and its tasks are “vaguely defined”.
The EU and the developed countries need to more forcefully direct their resources and attention to “the belt of crisis” stretching from Somalia to Mali, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva told EURACTIV in an exclusive interview.
Despite being one of the presumed contenders, the Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans on Tuesday (20 May) denounced rumours that he was in the race to succeed Catherine Ashton as EU foreign policy chief.
Pro-Russian militants stormed a Ukrainian police station in Odessa yesterday (4 May) and freed nearly 70 fellow activists as the country's leaders lamented a police force they said was widely undermined by graft or collaboration with separatists.
Ukraine's acting president, Oleksander Turchinov, called Tuesday (22 April) for government forces to relaunch an offensive against pro-Russian rebels, after a local politician from his own party was found dead, displaying signs of torture.
The United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union called after crisis talks yesterday (17 April) for an immediate halt to violence in Ukraine, where Western powers believe Russia is fomenting a pro-Russian separatist movement.
EU Foreign Affairs chief Catherine Ashton announced on Monday that the European Union will expand its sanctions list against Russia, as pro-Russian armed forces occupied official buildings in Eastern Ukraine over the weekend.
US Secretary of State John Kerry accused Russian agents and special forces yesterday (8 April) of stirring separatist unrest in eastern Ukraine, saying Moscow could be trying to prepare for military action as it had in Crimea.
During a foreign affairs council in Brussels, EU member states tried in vain to revitalise the planned EUFOR mission to the Central African Republic. France’s beckoning goes unheeded as it continues to play a critical role in the country. EURACTIV France reports.
European ministers agreed on Monday to impose sanctions against 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine, including travel bans and asset freezes.
The measures come after Sunday's controversial referendum in Crimea, when 96% of voters backed leaving Ukraine and joining Russia, according to Crimean officials.
Crimea's parliament already declared independence from Ukraine on Monday and asked to join Russia.
In what could be seen as a bid to ease tensions between Russia and the west, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia sees no need to use military force in the Crimea region of Ukraine... for now. Putin stressed that the use force would be 'a choice of last resort'.
But the Russian president warned western powers that imposing sanctions against Russia would be 'counter-productive', after the US and the EU threatened Moscow on Monday with sanctions if Russian troops do not withdraw from the region.