Tag Archive | European Union

Serbia to apply EU membership application

Serbia is to file a formal application today to join the European Union according to officials. President Boris Tadić is to fly to Stockholm to submit the application to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

Serbian President Boris Tadić

“President Boris Tadic will go to Stockholm on Tuesday to submit the application for EU membership,” announced Serbian presidency spokeswoman Jasmina Stojanov.

Reinfeldt called the announcement “a historic step”. In a statement he welcomed the bid, saying “I look forward to receiving President Boris Tadic in Stockholm on Tuesday, December 22, when he officially hands over the application.”

Along with Montenegro and Macedonia, visa-free entry to the 27-country bloc came into affect for Serbia’s citizens on Saturday, and a free trade agreement, frozen in April, was also reinstated this month, after the United Nations chief prosecutor accepted that the country was making serious attempts to arrest the two remaining people indicted for war crimes by The Hague’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

According to diplomats, the bid for membership has some support, with Italy and Greece favourable, but the Netherlands and the United Kingdom more cautious.

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China-EU trading relations growing

Chinese President Hu Jintao met with the European Union’s leaders Jose Manuel Barroso and Fredrik Reinfeldt in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. The EU leaders were in China to attend Monday’s twelfth China-European Union (EU) summit. Barroso said China-EU relations are “more mature, deeper” then before.

China-EU trading relations have grown over the last 35 years. The volume of trade between the pair reached US$425.58 billion in 2008, an increase of 19.5% over the prior year. Bilateral relations are far closer now than in previous years. Read More…

Israel “illegally annexing” east Jerusalem

A classified European Union report for 2009 says Israel is actively pursuing the annexation of east Jerusalem. The report accuses Israel of implementing an intricate policy including expanding Jewish settlements and demolishing Palestinian homes.

It says policies “are undermining prospects for a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem and incrementally render a sustainable two-state solution unfeasible”; this is described as, “an integral part of a broader Israeli strategy.”

Israeli Foreign ministry spokesperson, Yigal Palmor, told AFP that the report was “dishonest”, “reflects the Palestinian propaganda” and “is based exclusively on Palestinian versions and figures.” Read More…

Most Irish now favour Lisbon Treaty

The Twenty-eighth Amendment of Ireland’s Constitution is passed, enabling the country to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon, a referendum was held on 2 October 2009. The proposal was approved and represents a swing of 20.5% to the Yes side since the first referendum in June 2008.

Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland 2009
Yes or no Votes Percentage
Yes check.svg Yes 1,214,268 67.13%
No 594,606 32.87%
Valid votes 1,808,874 99.60%
Invalid or blank votes 7,224 0.40%
Total votes 1,816,098 100.00%
Voter turnout 58.0%
Electorate 3,132,475

The Treaty of Lisbon is an international agreement signed in Lisbon on 13 December 2007 that would change the workings of the European Union (EU). The treaty has not yet been ratified by all EU member states, as required for it to take effect. Read More…

EU declaration on the elections in Afghanistan

Presidency insignia

Presidency insignia

… The European Union congratulates the people of Afghanistan on the holding of Presidential and Provincial elections under challenging circumstances, emphasizing the need for a continued credible and inclusive process.

While deploring the loss of life, we believe that the security measures successfully prevented any major disruptions of the elections. We commend Afghan National Security Forces, supported by international forces, for this effort…

… The EU takes note with concern of reports of irregularities and fraud. We trust that the Independent Election Commission, the Electoral Complaints Commission and the Media Complaints Commission will address all irregularities in a conscientious, transparent, impartial and timely manner…

Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the elections in Afghanistan – PDF

Changes in EU airlines blacklist

The European Union (EU) has allowed four Indonesian airlines back into their airspace. A blanket ban had been placed on Indonesian air carriers in 2007. The EU has now added every Zambian airline and all but one from Kazakhstan to their blacklist.

The four airlines allowed to fly into Europe are state-owned flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, privately owned scheduled carrier Mandala Airlines and two private chartered airlines dealing mainly with western clients, Airfast Indeonesia and Premiair. Read More…

Iceland to joint European Union

In Iceland after five days of debate the Althing votes by a narrow majority to apply for membership of the European Union.

In early May 2009, it was leaked that the matter of applying for EU membership would likely be left to the parliament, where the Alliance, the Progressive Party and the Citizens’ Movement alone already have enough seats to approve the application.

Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson leader of the Progressive Party has however strongly objected to the idea that his party would aid the government in this matter. The anti-EU Left-Green coalition partner has however accepted that in spring 2010, the minister for foreign affairs will present to the parliament a bill on talks with the EU. Read More…