EU correspondent, Brussels
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Sep 7, 2013

EU blames Assad for chemical attack in nuanced message

VILNIUS (Reuters) – The European Union on Saturday laid the blame for an August chemical attack in Syria on the government of President Bashar al-Assad, but stopped short of explicitly supporting a military response by the West.

The carefully worded message from foreign ministers of 28 EU governments meeting in Vilnius allowed France to claim victory in its push to get the EU to agree that Assad was responsible for the attack in which more than 1,400 may have been killed.

Sep 6, 2013

France seeks EU backing for Syria stance but meets scepticism

VILNIUS (Reuters) – France, which backs military action to punish Syria for a deadly chemical weapons attack, tried to rally support from its European Union partners on Friday but met scepticism from governments wary of turning their backs on the United Nations.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius sought agreement from EU counterparts meeting in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius that President Bashar al-Assad’s government was responsible for an August 21 gas attack that the United States says killed more than 1,400 people, a source close to Fabius said.

Sep 6, 2013

Sweden lashes out at Russian “economic warfare” in east Europe

VILNIUS (Reuters) – Sweden accused Russia on Friday of waging “economic warfare” against former Soviet republics that have been considering closer trade relations with the European Union and said the EU needed a strategy to resist Moscow.

The EU is planning to take steps towards signing trade deals with Armenia, Georgia and Moldova at a summit of regional and EU leaders in November in Lithuania, and could seal a similar agreement with Ukraine.

Sep 6, 2013

EU, Iran to prepare nuclear diplomacy during U.N. meeting

VILNIUS (Reuters) – The European Union and Iran will discuss a resumption of nuclear negotiations during a United Nations gathering this month, possibly setting a date for a new round of talks aimed ultimately at preventing a new Middle East war.

Talks between Iran and six world powers overseen by the EU’s top diplomat have been stalled since April. The West is keen to resume them with Iran having elected a moderate president but still expanding its uranium enrichment capacity and Israel brandishing hints of bombing runs on Iranian nuclear sites.

Sep 5, 2013

Belgium pushes EU to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe diamond miner

BRUSSELS, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Belgium, centre of the global
diamond trade, is demanding that the European Union lift
sanctions on a Zimbabwean mining firm despite deep concerns
within the bloc over alleged fraud in a July election that kept
President Robert Mugabe in power.

Belgium’s call for the removal of sanctions on the state-run
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) has put it at
odds with other EU countries such as Britain which is reluctant
to rush into a move that could be seen as rewarding Mugabe.

Aug 26, 2013

Croatia clashes with EU over extradition law

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Zagreb could face legal action for failing to apply EU extradition law, the European Commission said on Monday, weeks after Croatia became the bloc’s newest member.

The small Adriatic state became the 28th member of the European Union on July 1, marking a recovery from years of war after Yugoslavia collapsed in the 1990s.

Aug 21, 2013

Europe shies away from cutting aid for Egypt

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union stopped short of agreeing immediate cuts in financial or military assistance to Cairo on Wednesday, as the bloc’s foreign ministers held emergency talks to find ways to help bring an end to violence in Egypt.

The decision acknowledges Europe’s limited economic muscle in forcing Egypt’s army-backed rulers and the Muslim Brotherhood supporters of deposed President Mohamed Mursi into a peaceful compromise.

Aug 21, 2013

EU foreign ministers weigh Egypt aid, policy at emergency talks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union governments will debate on Wednesday how to use their economic muscle to force Egypt’s army-backed rulers to end a crackdown on deposed President Mohamed Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

There may be little they can do to inflict hardship on Cairo by cutting back on aid, because much of their cash goes to civil society groups, not the government, and Saudi Arabia has pledged to plug any shortfall if support is stopped.

Aug 19, 2013

EU foreign ministers to discuss how to press Egypt over bloodshed

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss how to force Egypt’s army-backed rulers into finding a peaceful compromise with supporters of deposed President Mohamed Mursi.

Options likely to be discussed include cutbacks in Europe’s 5 billion euro ($6.7 billion) package of grants and loans promised last year, as well as a possible arms embargo against Egypt, said EU envoy Bernardino Leon.

Aug 18, 2013

EU weighs aid, commercial links with Egypt

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union governments will this week question how to best use their economic ties with Egypt to pressure Cairo’s army-backed rulers into finding a peaceful compromise with supporters of deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

At stake could be a 5 billion euro ($6.7 billion) package of grants and loans promised by the EU, its member governments and international financial institutions last year, as well as various trade incentives, EU officials and experts say.

    • About Justyna

      "Justyna covers EU foreign policy in Brussels with a focus on Balkans and Turkey, as well immigration, security and human rights in the European Union. Previously she was a bureau chief in Romania and Bulgaria, and wrote about financial markets in London and economic policy in Poland."
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