Foreign Affairs

On Tuesday, 16 June, EU Home Affairs Ministers met in Luxembourg to discuss a plan to distribute asylum seekers more equally across the 28-member bloc. The scheme is part of the European Agenda on Migration, a bundle of several different and concrete measures proposed by the European Commission to respond to the current migration crisis. Over the last months, the number of migrants venturing across the Mediterranean in the hope of reaching Europe has skyrocketed. With little support from other member states, Italy and Greece have been left to bear the brunt of dealing with this influx of people. Both countries want other EU member states to help out and ease the burden

With the theme “Shaping our common future: working for prosperous, cohesive and sustainable societies for our citizens,” leaders of the European Union and Latin America came together in Brussels on 10 and 11 of June. The talks were focused on strengthening economic ties, fostering political dialogue and ushering in more openness in Latin American societies. The summit, attended by some 60 leaders and senior government officials from both sides, is the second gathering ever of its kind. It shows a growing interdependence between the two continents as decision-makers look for common solutions to issues affecting the European

On the 7 and 8 of June, leaders of the world’s seven leading advanced economies met in Schloss Elmau, Germany for their annual summit. These meetings are aimed at tackling the most complex challenges of our times and showing that, in the face of adversity, this powerful group of 7 stand together.  With the Alpine landscape providing a stunning backdrop for the talks, this year’s gathering was by no means short of noteworthy advances. The G7 is an important political and economic gathering which attempts to address a wide range of the world’s most pressing issues. The advance of ISIS in the Middle East and the crisis in Ukraine dominated this year’s agenda with the earthquake in Nepal, the global economy

It was surely a night to remember for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AKP party. The ruling party is set to lose its majority in the Turkish Parliament. Ever since he took office in 2014, and even as Prime Minister before, President Erdoğan has been looking to boost his powers, hoping to turn Turkey into a presidential republic.  The results of the 7 June vote sink Erdoğan’s ambitions, as he suffers probably the biggest setback in 13 years of high-level politics. His power-hungry move, reinforced Islamization and eagerness to expand his reach appear to have alienated many voters who perceive Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as a threat to a secular and democratic state

Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon delivered a formal address to the European Parliament on Wednesday, 27 May, as part of his goodwill tour marking the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. In his speech,he welcomed the Commission’s proposals as outlined in the Agenda on Migration, mentioning that the move to relocate 40,000 asylum seekers is a step in the right direction: “I encourage EU member states to show compassion as they consider this important proposal to share their resettlement responsibilities.” Before arriving to Brussels, the Secretary-General made a stop in Dublin where he stressed the need for renewed efforts in dealing with the migrant crisis

The future of the World Cup is in the air and FIFA is mired in one of its deepest crises. US justice authorities have accused nine of its executives of corruption and Switzerland is currently investigating the award of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 event to Qatar. In what could be the biggest sports scandal in history, early on Wednesday Swiss police burst into the luxury Baur au Lac Hotel in Zurich and arrested seven FIFA officials – and in the same city carried out a search at the headquarters of football’s powerful governing body. There are also five business executives involved in the plot. All are accused of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering

Leaders of the European Union and six former Soviet republics (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) met in Riga for the first Eastern Partnership Summit since the Ukrainian crisis erupted. Unlike the Riga Summit of 2013, which triggered a series of events that eventually led to the downfall of Viktor Yanukovych and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, this year’s meeting had a less earth-shaking outcome. It ended in a joint declaration that lacks any firm commitments. Even where it was supposed to pack the most punches – its condemnation of Russian aggression in Ukraine – the language had to be watered down significantly

EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini visited the Middle East in the hope to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority grounded to a halt more than a year ago. The two-day visit (20-21 May) to the region included meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and was aimed at ramping up the EU’s involvement in the Middle East peace process. It remains to be seen whether the EU will manage to fill the void left by the US as a peace broker. Deciding to use its full might in pushing for a feasible solution, including economic sanctions imposed on an unyielding Israel, seems a bridge too far

On Monday, 18 May, the EU Foreign and Defense Ministers agreed to establish a naval force, EUNAVFOR Med, to combat human smugglers operating off the coast of Libya. The force is part of the European Union’s response to the increasing number of irregular migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea in hope of finding a safe haven in one of the Union’s member states. It is expected to become operational next month and will be comprised of three stages, beginning with intelligence gathering, followed by “inspection and detection” and finally “neutralizing” traffickers’ facilities

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