BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU governments extended for a year a ban on trade and investment with Crimea on Friday, meaning European help for Russian Black Sea oil and gas exploration and visits by European cruise ships will remain outlawed.
The measures were adopted following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in March last year and reinforce the EU’s policy of not recognizing the annexation.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The EU is set to launch a naval mission on Monday against gangs smuggling migrants from Libya but it will be limited to intelligence-gathering for now because of a lack of U.N. authority or Libyan consent.
The operation is part of a stepped-up European response to a wave of thousands of people from Africa and the Middle East making the dangerous crossing from Libya to Europe.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The United States already has many of the tanks and other vehicles needed to equip an armoured brigade in Europe, but has not decided yet whether to store some of the hardware in eastern Europe, a top U.S. commander said on Wednesday.
U.S. officials said over the weekend that the United States planned to store heavy military equipment in the Baltics and eastern European nations to reassure allies unnerved by Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and to deter further aggression.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union governments agreed on Wednesday to extend economic sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine by six months until Jan. 31, diplomats said, maintaining unity in the West’s tough stance toward Moscow.
The six-month extension was agreed by ambassadors from the 28 EU nations meeting in Brussels.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The U.S. and Russian navies met this week for the first time since the Ukraine crisis began to discuss how to avoid an accidental clash at sea or in the air, a U.S. naval commander said on Friday.
Russia has stepped up its probing of NATO’s defenses since Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region last year caused the worst crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War. NATO has responded by increasing patrols and exercises in eastern Europe.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A senior European Union official criticised Macedonian political leaders on Thursday after talks to end a crisis there broke down over a plan for a transitional government to prepare the ground for elections.
“Very disappointed about lack of responsibility and leadership by some,” EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn said on Twitter after chairing 12 hours of talks between leaders of Macedonia’s four main political parties that ended shortly before midnight on Wednesday.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Macedonian political leaders failed to reach a final agreement to resolve the country’s political crisis in marathon talks in Brussels on Wednesday, the European Union said.
The EU brokered a deal on June 2 for early elections in Macedonia, potentially ending months of political turmoil triggered by damaging wiretap disclosures against the government, although few details of the deal were made public.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The United Nations launched an appeal on Thursday for half a billion dollars in international aid to tackle a worsening humanitarian crisis in Iraq triggered by the conflict with Islamic State militants.
Lise Grande, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said the United Nations would be forced to slash or shut down more than half its aid operations in Iraq without an immediate injection of new funds.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – France and Germany raised concerns on Monday over a European Commission plan to redistribute migrants reaching Italy and Greece, saying it must take better account of efforts they have already taken to help asylum-seekers.
The European Commission proposed last week to ease pressure on Italy and Greece, which are struggling to deal with thousands of immigrants crossing the Mediterranean in flimsy boats from Libya, through an emergency scheme to redistribute 40,000 Syrian and Eritrean asylum-seekers throughout the European Union.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Libya is on the verge of economic collapse as rival factions haggle over a political settlement, the United Nations special envoy said on Thursday.
Bernardino Leon, who has been trying for months to broker an agreement on a national unity government for Libya, said the United Nations was preparing a new draft of a possible political agreement which it hoped to give to the feuding parties in the first week of June.