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Newsline: EU diplomats work on Kosovo-Serbia normalisation

The European Union has drafted a new proposal for normalisation of ties between Kosovo and Serbia with a clear timeline of actions, according to a senior EU diplomat, speaking on the sidelines of the EU-Western Balkans summit. The draft proposal was sent to both parties on Monday, the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity. They added that they expected the two parties would reach a final agreement in less than a year. “There are a lot of things that make it a big step forward with respect to the current situation…. It’s not full recognition …but it is a full normalisation of relations,” the diplomat said. “After listening to both parties, we redrafted the proposal,” the diplomat said. The proposal contains an annex “with a clear calendar of actions – when and how things have to happen,” they said. The diplomat urged Pristina and Belgrade “to continue in their constructive engagement, and focus on making irreversible progress in normalisation.” (https://uk.investing.com/news/world-news/kosovo-to-apply-for-eu-membership-by-yearend–president-2848538) Belgrade and Pristina committed in 2013 to an EU-sponsored dialogue to resolve outstanding issues, but little progress has been made. Agreement with Kosovo remains one of the main pre-conditions for Serbia joining the EU.

Newsline: EU’s top diplomat rejects claims his ‘jungle’ comments were racist

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Tuesday denied that comments he made last week were racist and apologised for any offence caused by the remarks. In his remarks at the new European Diplomatic Academy in Bruges, Belgium, which have been widely circulated online, Borrell called Europe “a garden” and most of the world a “jungle” that “could invade the garden”. In a blog post published late on Tuesday, Borrell said his reference to a “jungle” referred to increasing examples of countries using force, intimidation and blackmail – behaviour at odds with agreed international norms. Borrell acknowledged that some dislike the metaphor because it has been used by U.S. “neo-conservatives”. “I am far from this school of political thought,” he added. (https://www.reuters.com/world/eus-top-diplomat-denies-jungle-comments-were-racist-2022-10-18/) But Mr. Borrell’s garden/jungle talk shocked traditional European allies who quickly denounced it. “What a terrible analogy Mr. Borrell has made,” said Bob Rae, Canada’s United Nations ambassador, in a tweet on Sunday. The United Arab Emirates on Monday summoned the acting head of the mission at the EU delegation to the UAE, asking for explanation of what it said were racist comments made by Borrell. A spokeswoman for Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, who is basically his boss, said that she retained confidence in him and did not offer any corrections to the garden metaphor.

Newsline: EU top diplomat does not expect progress in Iran nuclear talks

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday he currently did not expect progress in negotiations over reviving a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. “I don’t expect any move, that’s a pity because we were very, very close,” Borrell told reporters on arriving to a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday. (https://uk.investing.com/news/world-news/eu-top-diplomat-expects-no-progress-in-iran-nuclear-talks-now-2783548) He said that international talks with Tehran had been stalled for the last weeks.

Newsline: EU foreign ministers to discuss Iranian drone sales to Russia

European foreign ministers will on Monday discuss the transfer of Iranian drones to Russia and could come to a political agreement on future sanctions related to such activity, two diplomats said on Friday. Ukraine has reported a spate of Russian attacks using Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones in recent weeks. Iran denies supplying the drones to Russia, while the Kremlin has not commented. According to the diplomats citing preparatory meetings ahead of Monday’s ministerial meeting in Luxembourg, an analysis of the drone activity has been carried out with the topic now on the agenda. (https://news.yahoo.com/exclusive-eu-ministers-discuss-iran-123118500.html) The diplomats said although an agreement on new listings was not possible on Monday, there could be a political agreement that would pave the way for sanctions at a later stage.

Newsline: EU, Peru top diplomats clinch defense deal

The European Union and Peru signed agreements on Friday to strengthen relations in areas such as inclusive growth, democratic cooperation, climate change and the fight for cybersecurity, including an agreement that will allow Peru to participate in European defense missions. At a press conference after the signing, the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, has valued Peru as a “key partner” in Latin America, claiming that it is a democratic country open to the outside world. In this sense, Borrell stressed that the signing of the understanding agreement with Peru and the agreement on Defense and Security will give an “additional boost” to an “excellent” cooperation between Lima and Brussels. Specifically, on military cooperation, the head of European diplomacy pointed out that Peru will be able to contribute to European military operations, following the example of Colombia and Chile. “We look forward to the deployment on the ground of Peruvian troops in EU missions,” he said. (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/peru-agrees-with-the-eu-to-participate-in-european-military-missions/ar-AA12Xs6M?li=BBnb7Kz) For his part, the Peruvian Foreign Minister, César Landa, emphasized the “very positive relations” that Peru and the EU have and stressed that the agreements sealed this Friday in Brussels are a sign of the commitment to continue working to strengthen relations.

Newsline: Belarus’s failure to renew EU ambassador’s accreditation seen as “hostile” move

The Belarusian authorities have decided not to renew the accreditation of the European Union ambassador to Belarus, Dirk Schuebel, a decision that the bloc considers a “hostile” act that will further damage the already deteriorated bilateral relations. “It is obvious that this hostile step will further reduce the space for diplomatic contacts and bilateral relations,” a spokesman for the EU’s External Action Service told Europa Press. (https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/belarus-does-not-renew-european-ambassador-s-accreditation-eu-sees-it-as-hostile-act/ar-AA12Pwar) he head of the European Union delegation in Minsk “remained willing and committed” to continue his mandate, the spokesman lamented, regretting that Alexander Lukashenko’s regime has gone “one step further” in the deterioration of relations. The European diplomacy also recalls that this incident is in addition to what happened last September, when the business manager of the EU delegation in Minsk, Evelina Schulz, was detained in an “illegal and unacceptable” manner, after the senior official attended the trial of opposition activists.

Newsline: EU’s diplomats did not believe war was coming

Europe didn’t want to believe that Russia would actually attack its eastern European neighbor, the European Union’s top diplomat revealed. “Some things have happened in the past that we knew they could happen, but some of them have been a surprise,” said Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign and security policy chief, during a speech at the bloc’s ambassadors conference in Brussels. “I remember very well when [US Secretary of State Antony] Blinken phoned me and told me, ‘Well, it is going to happen this weekend.’ And certainly, two days later, at 5 o’clock in the morning, [Russia] started bombing Kyiv,” he recalled. (https://news.yahoo.com/europe-didnt-want-believe-russia-151313930.html) “We did not believe that the war was coming. I have to recognise that here, in Brussels. The Americans were telling us, ‘They will attack, they will attack,’ and we were quite reluctant to believe it,” Borrell said.

Newsline: EU pledges strong response to Nicaragua’s expulsion of ambassador

The European Union criticised Nicaragua’s decision to expel its ambassador and break relations with the Netherlands, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Sunday. “The EU profoundly regrets and rejects this unjustified and unilateral decision,” Borrell said of the expulsion, also expressing “unwavering support” for the Netherlands. “These hostile, unwarranted actions” would not only effect relations between Nicaragua and EU but would lead to Managua’s further international isolation, said Borrell. The bloc will respond in a “firm and proportional manner”, he added. (https://www.digitaljournal.com/world/eu-to-respond-in-firm-way-to-nicaraguas-expulsion-of-ambassador/article) The European Union’s envoy, Bettina Muscheidt, left Nicaragua Saturday a day after the authorities there declared her persona non grata. Managua cut ties with the Dutch government on Friday evening, describing The Hague as “interventionist” and “neocolonialist” after its ambassador, Christine Pirenne, said her country would not fund the construction of a hospital.

Newsline: Diplomat says EU countries remain divided on gas price caps

European Union countries are split over whether to cap gas prices, which they will discuss at a meeting of the bloc’s energy ministers on Friday, a senior EU diplomat said. “On the price caps at this moment there is nothing near like a consensus,” the diplomat said. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/eu-countries-remain-divided-gas-170515617.html) The diplomat added it was “difficult” to predict if consensus could be reached among countries on imposing a price cap on Russian gas alone.

Newsline: EU diplomats discuss price cap on gas

Eyes were on the EU executive European Commission, which was expected to present an analysis on the feasibility of the bloc capping gas prices during a meeting of diplomats from the 27 EU member states on Wednesday. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/1-eu-countries-odds-over-141709282.html) European Union countries were at odds on Wednesday over whether to cap gas prices in the bloc, with France, Belgium and 13 other states stepping up their call for the move opposed by Germany and others. The Commission’s document would not include legal proposals, sources said, but rather present an assessment of options countries could use to tackle high gas prices, which are stoking record inflation across the bloc and threatening a recession. A group of 15 countries including France, Italy, Spain and Poland urged the Commission on Tuesday to propose a price cap on all wholesale gas transactions to help rein in surging prices. But with Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark among those arguing that a gas price cap would harm efforts to contain Europe’s energy crunch, there were doubts as to whether any potential proposal could win sufficient support to become law.