Europe

UK government to pull back from the European arrest warrant (EAW)
Europe

UK government to pull back from the European arrest warrant (EAW)

The UK is to drop a vital tool used to accelerate the transfer of criminals across borders with other European nations.

Working against the warnings of senior law enforcement authorities, the administration stated it would not be looking to take an interest in the European arrest warrant (EAW) as a significant aspect of the future relationship with the European Union.

“The agreement ought to rather accommodate fast track extradition ways, given in the EU’s surrender treaty with Norway and Iceland which came into power in 2019, yet with suitable further defenses for people beyond those in the EAW,” In a document setting out the UK’s way to deal with negotiations with the EU, the government expressed.

As per the Guardian, The UK’s loss of the EAW got unavoidable after Brexit; the settlement applies to EU member states.

One police source focused on this was not the UK pulling back from the EAW yet the UK “permitting that it can never again be in it after the EU clarified it couldn’t be a part of it except if it acknowledged the jurisdiction of the European court of justice and the freedom of movement.”

“What content your reading is something that the two sides have concurred they can get – which is called the Iceland deal. This is EAW lite,” stated the Guardian source, under anonymity.

When Britain left the EU on 31 January, three EU nations – Slovenia, Germany, and Austria – reported they would quit surrendering their citizens to British law enforcement.

Under the present plans, investigators, police forces, and the National Crime Agency can apply for an EAW to impact swift extradition of the criminal suspect from any EU member state, and thus, EU nations can also return criminals.

“The declaration today made it clear that the UK is no more trying the sort of access to essential EU databases and security means that would imitate our current relationship. However, its own research expressing over and over that failing to take part in existing tools would mean a substantial loss of capability with crippling ramifications for public security. The Home Office announced that the wellbeing and safety of UK citizens is the administration’s “highest priority.”

Article Credit: The Guardian/BBC

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EU widens sanctions against Turkey
Europe

EU widens sanctions against Turkey

The EU has expanded sanctions against Turkey for its drilling operations in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus. This is stated in the Official Journal of the EU, in which relevant regulations were published on Thursday.

“In light of the ongoing illegal drilling activity of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, two people should be included in the black list of individuals and legal entities,” the text says.

Sanctions were imposed on the vice president and head of the exploration department of the Turkish state oil company TPAO (Turkish Petroleum Corporation) Mehmet Ferruh Akalin, as well as his deputy in the department, Ali Koskun Namoglu.

Large reserves of natural gas have been found on the shelf and in the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus. In September, the island state government signed an agreement with the French company Total and the Italian company Eni to develop the 7th sector of the field offshore Cyprus. However, in early October, Turkey sent its own drilling vessel to the area, accompanied by warships.

Turkey, which has not recognized the Republic of Cyprus since 1963, disputes the borders of the EEZ of this island state and declares that it will not allow geological exploration drilling off the coast of the island without the consent of the Turkish Cypriot community. According to Ankara, Turkish drilling ships are sent to the gas field area on the basis of licenses issued by the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which, apart from Turkey itself, is not recognized by any other state in the world.

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Germany Will Not Tolerate Embargo Violation In Libya Anymore
Europe

Germany Will Not Tolerate Embargo Violation In Libya Anymore

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has warned that countries that are continuing to provide weapon support in Libya will now have to face dire consequences.
Despite a weapons embargo, countries have been supplying war equipment to the fighting sides in Libya. Maas has made this statement a little before United Nations Security Council meeting. The UN has been constantly trying to curb the interference of foreign nations in order to restore peace in the war-torn country.

This is after a total of 16 countries and organizations had already met in Berlin in January 2020 to create harmony and unanimously decide to end the war like conditions in Libya. The intent was to renew their commitment to a 2011 UN weapons embargo, in a bid to end to the civil war that has been raging in the country since the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

In the whole scheme of things, Turkey has also been making the most of the situation and supporting one side in order to harness the rich natural resources in the country. He is known to have signed Fayez Serraj.

Khalifa Haftar on his part has made it clear that ceasefire will happen only when Turkish presence ceases in the region completely. With Erdogan confirming of the presence of training troops, the whole Geneva intervention plan can fall flat any moment. Haftar has been against the interference of Turkey from December 2019, when Ankara decided to sign two agreements over military cooperation with the legitimate government in Libya.

According to the Haftar, the new alliance will amounted to a “defense pact” that grants the Turkish government the right to use Libyan airspace and waters as well as build military bases on Libyan soil. Libya remains oil and gas rich and reserves the borders important Mediterranean trade routes. The country’s destabilization aroused the avarice of various international players, including the Turkish government. With signing a pact for maritime boundaries, Turkey ensures the safety of Libya’s largest natural resource and mode of employment and trade.

Khalifa Haftar’s Libya National Army has said that ‘any Turkish forces setting foot in the Libyan would be considered hostile forces and legitimate target.’ Recap Tayyip Erdogan had confirmed on December 10 that he would be sending in Turkish forces to support the GNA. However, Haftar has pointed out that in doing so, Erdogan would be in violation of the UN security council resolutions.

Haftar maybe correct is saying that the decision of GNA head, Fayez Serraj, to activate the military cooperation agreement with Turkey is merely ‘aimed at boosting his militia’s power.’ Sarraj may have missed the point that giving an entry to Turkey is like opening a death trap to another nation which would like to get a piece of this meaty nation.

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Johnson promises overhaul of defense and foreign policy
Europe

Johnson promises overhaul of defense and foreign policy

Boris Johnson has unveiled a post-Brexit audit of defense and foreign policy trying to settle Britain’s national security system for the following five years.

The half-year exercise is another step in the prime minister’s affirmation of control following the controversial cabinet reshuffle and comes while developing cyber threats and vulnerability about the UK’s place on the globe.

Some Whitehall sources said the appointment of Ellis added up to a defeat for Cummings, who they said had been attempting to delegate authorities to take a shot at the audit as a result of his aggressive reputation across Whitehall.

However, while Ellis will report straight to Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary and Britain’s most remarkable government worker, the terms of a survey clarified it would likewise include “a small team in 10 Downing Street comprised of specialists from inside and outside the public service.”

Defense and security review usually takes place every five-year intervals, yet this one will be different as it will be reviewing the nation’s foreign policy needs when the UK has quite recently left the EU and as it measures up how intently it needs to be aligned to the United States.

A few specialists criticized as Downing Street is permitting the audit to run simultaneously as the complete spending review – which they said implied that more extensive budgetary limitations would restrict any of its decisions.

The Foreign Office, Ministry of Defense, and other government offices will serve into the central review group, while final decisions will be made by the National Security Council, a body of senior ministers led by PM Boris Johnson.

Article Credit: BBC/ The Guardian

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UK announced a review of priorities of foreign policy, defense and security
Europe

UK announced a review of priorities of foreign policy, defense and security

The UK government has announced the largest review of its priorities in foreign policy, defense, security and international cooperation since the end of the Cold War. This is stated in a statement released on Tuesday by the Office of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson.

A comprehensive review is conducted following the country’s withdrawal from the EU, which occurred on the night of February 1. Until December 31 of this year, a transitional period between Great Britain and the European Union will act, as if there was no Brexit. Starting January 1, 2021, the kingdom intends to independently determine priorities in these areas.

“A comprehensive review will cover all aspects of Britain’s place in the world – from the role of our diplomatic service and development approach to the capabilities of our Armed Forces and security agencies,” the communiqué says. It emphasizes that this analytical work will go beyond the scope of biennial reviews of the state of affairs in various fields and will take into account “the totality of global opportunities and challenges that Britain is facing.”

Among the mentioned aspects that will be considered are the procurement process conducted by the Armed Forces and security services, the fight against organized crime, the more efficient use of technologies to adapt to the changing threats that the country faces, “from countering hostile activities of states to strengthening the Armed Forces “

“As the world changes, we must move with it, bringing in new technologies and ways of thinking, to ensure that British foreign policy is at the core of our national interests now and in the coming decades,” Johnson said in this regard.

The review will involve key ministries, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and the Ministry for International Development. The final decision on the adoption of updated priorities should be made by the National Security Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, during this year.

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Northern Italy GDP Hit With Coronavirus
Europe

Northern Italy GDP Hit With Coronavirus

Coronavirus cases are on the rise in Italy too. In anticipation of an outbreak, people in northern Italy have emptied supermarkets. The stocks are being piled and people have been forced to prepare for the worst.

It has been reported that schools, museums and cinemas along with some other prominent programmes have also been cancelled. Quarantine will soon be in process, due to which people are preparing ahead of possibility of shortage of essential supplies.

The food sector is already anticipation a huge impact. Italy has seen a sharp spike in cases of COVID-19. Currently, Italy is being reported as the worst hit European country with 212 confirmed cases and seven dead due to the virus, confirms head of Italy’s Civil Protection Agency, Angello Borreli.

The epicenter is said to Northern Italy. However the government is asking for people to remain calm and not panic. Even then, the quarantine towns in the worst affected areas have been earmarked as ‘Red Zone’ where travel to and from the outbreak areas has been banned. Such travel would need special permission, shared Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte.

Ivano Vacondio, President, Federalimentare, the food industry association has warned that the ‘closure’ of northern regions of the country could well weigh on Gross Domestic Product (GDP)with the food sector left particularly exposed.

Two cities in northern Italy Lombardy and Veneto are economically important for Italy and collectively account for 32 percent of GDP, including Emilia Romagna, accounting for literally 41 percent of the national GDP.

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Brexit: green light of the 27 EU countries negotiating mandate with London
Europe

Brexit: green light of the 27 EU countries negotiating mandate with London

According to European diplomatic sources, there is the ok from the 27 EU countries to negotiate with the United Kingdom the after Brexit as tomorrow the mandate should be adopted by the EU General Affairs Council. “Tomorrow the EU negotiating mandate should be formalized at the EU General Affairs Council”, chief negotiator for the Union Michel Barnier said, adding that the conditions for post-Brexit trade talks will also be established, effectively laying the foundations for future ties between Brussels and London.

With the mandate Brussels sets its red lines on future relations with London after the UK decision to leave EU. According to the Italian news agency “ANSA”, today on the eve of the EU Council, the European ambassadors meet to finalize the negotiating mandate.
French President Emmanuel Macron expressed doubts on Saturday that there could be a global deal later this year. The discussions will be focused on where the British financial services will be located and the role of the European Court of Justice with the EU which wants it to keep the last word to interpret EU law.

A firm stand is expected from the British chief negotiator David Frost. Days ago, Frost warned that “those who think that UK will accept EU supervision over the so-called ‘level playing field’ are wrong”, stressing that the UK position will not change if the British are put under pressure. Europeans remain open to a broad partnership, including a trade agreement without quotas or customs duties, fearing unfair competition from London. Seems that UK is ready to accept just a basic trade deal, such as those negotiated by EU with Canada or Japan. The negotiations therefore are expected to be tense.

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Germany reopens the hate speech and weapons law files.
Europe

Germany reopens the hate speech and weapons law files.

Germany faces calls to tighten arms possession laws and intensify efforts to track down sympathizers of the extreme-right after authorities revealed a racist statement released by the suspect in one of the country’s worst indiscriminate shootings since World War Two.
The suspect who killed nine people in two hookah smoking cafes in the southwestern German town of Hanau published the document on the Internet late on Wednesday, expressing his belief in conspiracy theories and embracing extremist racist views.

The 43-year-old suspect, who is believed to have killed himself and his mother after the attack, was a member of an arms club, raising questions about how a man with such racist ideas was able to obtain club membership and then obtain the weapons he used in the attack.

The newspaper Bild, the best-selling German newspaper, published on its front page an article saying, “We need new, more stringent laws to verify the owners of licenses to carry hunting and firearms.”
“We immediately need more (intelligence) elements to monitor right-wing extremists and intervene before it is too late,” it added.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told the newspaper that the government would initiate reforms to intensify the weapons owners’ verification. “It is not just a matter of whether someone has stored their weapon properly or kept ammunition separate from the weapon – it should also be related to very personal matters.”

The ministry said in a statement that it was considering conducting such audits in cases where the weapons owners are eye-catching to the authorities, adding that no psychological tests will be conducted.
Federal Prosecutor Peter Frank said on Friday that the suspect had a license to carry two weapons, and it was not yet clear whether he had contacts with other right-wing sympathizers at home or abroad.

Frank added that the gunman sent a letter to the prosecution office in November complaining about an unknown intelligence agency with powers to control people’s thoughts and actions.

“The letter did not include his racist calls to exterminate certain people,” Frank told a news conference. We did not initiate an investigation based on the message, which again appeared in the racist statement of the armed man. ”
In October, the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel banned the sale of weapons to members of extremist groups monitored by the security services and obliged online platforms to report to the police any content that encouraged hatred.

The measures came after the killing of a German pro-immigration politician in June and an attack four months later on a synagogue and a restaurant in the city of Halle by an anti-Semitic militant.

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Leaders Summit Reaches Knots End For EU
Europe

Leaders Summit Reaches Knots End For EU

The European Union is having a tough time getting everyone to come on the same page as Brexit exit has shaken up their budget plans. A recent meeting came to a knot’s end when the various country participants could not reach a consensus.

With Brexit’s exit, the European Union has been left to deal with 75 billion euros short in its budgets and the remaining 27 EU countries are now showing unwillingness to agree on the overall size of the bloc’s 2021-27 budget or how to spend it.

The current exit has brought forth more cost related challenges. However, it is confirmed that setting the budget has always been a tug of war. Challenges include managing climate change concerns, to migration and a growing digital economy.

From the sound of the whole discussion, it seemed Germany would have to take the brunt of the Brexit shortfall. It wasn’t happy with it one bit. The other nations that are hard pressed over spending include Austria, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands. They have been called the ‘frugal four’ who are totally against a scheme that would allocate one-third for development aid to help poorer regions grow and another third on support for farmers, a key priority for Paris.

Berlin, Vienna and others were more interested on border management following Europe’s migrant crisis of 2015-16, tackling climate change, beefing up security and modernizing the bloc’s economy through digital investment.

So, the EU leaders’ summit did not yield any positive outcome and then the Austrian Sebastian Kurtz said that ‘it usually takes more than a meeting to come to a consensus’. The bloc will anyway have to freeze its projects by the end of 2021. So, further summits will be on the cards soon.

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Macron, Merkel and Erdogan held phone talks on Syria
Europe

Macron, Merkel and Erdogan held phone talks on Syria

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan held telephone conversations, during which they noted the need for a four-way meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the situation in Syria in the near future. This is stated in a statement distributed on Friday by the French leader’s administration.

Macron, Merkel and Erdogan discussed the situation in Syria, in particular Idlib, and recent events in Libya,” the administration noted. “As for Idlib, they expressed general concern about the disastrous humanitarian situation in which the civilian population is , and the danger of escalation. They agreed that the crisis needed a political solution. “

“In this regard, they considered it necessary as soon as possible, in a quadripartite format, to meet with the President of [Russia Vladimir] Putin,” they concluded in the Champs Elysees.

The situation in the de-escalation zone in Idlib in Syria escalated at the end of January, when, in response to violations by the militants of the ceasefire, the Syrian forces were forced to launch a counterattack, as a result of which a significant territory of the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib was liberated.

Moscow has repeatedly expressed support for these actions in the fight against terrorists, while in Ankara they regarded them as a violation by the government forces of the Sochi peace agreement, in connection with which Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced the Turkish military retaliatory operation in Idlib.

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