BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO countries, wary of antagonizing Russia, are unlikely to grant former Soviet republic Georgia a formal step towards membership of the alliance at a summit in September, NATO diplomats say.
With NATO-Russia tensions running high after Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, the question of whether to invite Georgia to join the Membership Action Plan (MAP), putting the country closer to its goal of NATO membership, has spawned conflicting views in the alliance.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The hardline Islamist group that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq is probably training and directing foreign fighters to carry out attacks in Europe and elsewhere, the European Union’s counter-terrorism coordinator said on Thursday.
Gilles de Kerchove also said it was likely that there would be more attacks in Europe like the shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels last month that killed four people.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union will delay signing an agreement on closer economic and political ties with Thailand and demands a swift return to democracy following the country’s military coup, according to a draft document seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
Thailand’s army chief, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, seized power in May, vowing to restore order and push through reforms following six months of political turmoil.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Hard-won security gains in Somalia could be undermined unless the rest of the world steps up support to improve Somalis’ lives, the United Nations’ special representative for the country said on Wednesday.
In the struggle against al Shabaab militants in Somalia, the Somali army and African Union forces have seized control of 10 or 11 towns from the Islamists in the last few months, Nicholas Kay told Reuters in an interview during a visit to Brussels for talks with European Union officials.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission said on Wednesday it had opened three in-depth investigations into tax decisions affecting Apple, Starbucks and Fiat Finance and Trade in Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg respectively.
The probes focus on whether decisions by authorities in the three European Union member states about corporate tax to be paid by the three companies comply with state aid rules.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO’s chief said on Tuesday he hoped European allies would commit to raising defense spending at an alliance summit in September in response to U.S. demands that Europe do more to protect itself in the face of a resurgent Russia.
The United States, which dominates the Western military bloc, has used the Ukraine crisis to raise pressure on its European allies to reverse a slide in defense spending since the 2008 financial crisis.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A NATO-led training mission in Afghanistan next year is likely to total about 12,000 soldiers, including about 8,000 Americans, while some 1,800 Americans will conduct counter-terrorism missions, a senior U.S. military official said on Wednesday.
The United States would also be keen to see participation in the counter-terrorism effort by nations with well-trained special forces, such as Britain or Australia, the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO’s top military commander accused Russia on Wednesday of destabilizing eastern Ukraine through the use of Russian-backed forces and demanded that it stop interfering.
While a majority of the troops Russia had close to the Ukrainian border – previously estimated by NATO at 40,000 – had withdrawn or were in the process of withdrawing, some appeared intent on staying, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander Europe, said.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urged NATO allies on Tuesday to raise their defense budgets in response to the Ukraine crisis, saying a slide in military spending could pose as much of a threat to the future of the alliance as any enemy.
He also called on allies to look at how their militaries were trained, equipped and structured to meet new security challenges, saying NATO should expect Russia to continue to test its resolve, even though it was withdrawing its troops from the Ukraine border.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO defense ministers will consider on Tuesday what longer term steps the alliance needs to take to bolster its eastern defenses and improve its ability to respond to the unorthodox tactics used by Russia in Ukraine.
In the three months since the Ukraine crisis erupted, the U.S.-dominated alliance has sent fighter planes and ships and stepped up military exercises to reassure eastern European allies alarmed by Russia’s actions, while making clear it has no intention of intervening militarily in Ukraine.