Katya Adler @BBCkatyaadler on Twitter Published 3 days ago Share close Share page Copy link About sharing Related Topics Russia-Ukraine war Ukrainians are fighting and dying, while Lithuania has just been directly threatened by Russia. Germans are talking up energy rationing ahead of winter and the UN is warning of a global food crisis because of Russia's Black Sea blockade, impeding Ukraine's crucial grain exports. We're slap bang in the middle of a European security crisis - fast becoming a global one. And EU leadership is noticeably lacking. Over the next week alone, there's an EU summit in Brussels, a meeting of the G7 world's richest nations in Germany and a huge Nato defence alliance summit in Madrid. But where is that convincing European figure, able to speak on behalf of all the bloc's leaders? Angela Merkel, Germany's famous former … [Read more...] about Ukraine war: Where’s Europe’s leadership in crisis with Russia?
DW: The European Commission has come out in favor of candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova in record time. How do you view that recommendation with regard to the Western Balkans? Manuel Sarrazin, Germany's special representative for the Western Balkans: From my point of view, it's good for the countries of the Western Balkans because it shows that the geostrategic importance of EU enlargement is still there and that there is movement in the enlargement process. Both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo are still waiting in line. What should be offered to these two vulnerable states? The enlargement promise made at the 2003 Thessaloniki summit counts. Bosnia-Herzegovina is still looking at the 14 basic priorities and the implementation of necessary reforms, so we might finally grant candidate status. The Kosovo government is implementing reforms, which we want to reward. Visa liberalization for Kosovar citizens is one of these necessary steps that must follow. The … [Read more...] about EU will ‘stand by its promises’ on Western Balkans enlargement
In NATO's Strategic Concept 2022, Russia is mentioned 14 times and China 11. This strong focus on the dangerous alliance between Moscow and Beijing highlights the fact that NATO heads of state and government are well aware of the impending risks for which they must urgently prepare. NATO's eastern flank is to be strengthened in several ways. Poland and Romania will be upgraded to essential pillars of NATO in eastern Europe. Troops under direct U.S. command will be moved to the region in order to contain Russia. NATO will also remain open to new members and now describes the western Balkans and the Black Sea as "strategically important." Political instability and loyalty problems NATO's new Strategic Concept emphasizes that the alliance cannot rule out the possibility of an attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its individual members. The document presents the abyss on the edge of which Europeans — and not only Europeans — are standing. Syria, North … [Read more...] about Opinion: Can NATO save eastern Europe?
So the Government has cocked it up again. That is the widespread response to the announcement that the state pension and benefits are set to rise in line with double-digit inflation next April. The revered Institute for Fiscal Studies describes the increase as 'unsustainable in the long run' while a former senior Treasury mandarin says that people in work will have to pay more tax to fund the pension increase. Most critical of all was Lord O'Neill, a former Conservative minister and one of the BBC 's pet economists. He told Radio 4's Today programme yesterday that 'the constant protection of pensioners seems ludicrous in itself and, in these circumstances, particularly crazy'. He means that with public sector workers demanding pay rises of 10 per cent and more — which the Government is strenuously discouraging — it makes no sense to give 12 million pensioners such an increase. Meanwhile, former Tory chancellor Kenneth Clarke told the BBC that the Government needed to … [Read more...] about STEPHEN GLOVER: It’s not ‘crazy’ to give British pensioners a pay rise. They get one of the worst deals in Europe
Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is guaranteed to cause a two-year global food crisis even if the war ends tomorrow, Western officials have warned, as Ukraine struggles to export its crucial grains. Officials are bracing for food supplies to suffer a long hangover from the conflict after Russia placed mines in Ukraine’s seaports and caused severe disruption to production in what is known as the “breadbasket of Europe”. The Kremlin has been accused of weaponising global food supply , as prices soar to record levels and fears grow of shortages in the developing world. “Even at the best of times, if tomorrow the war was over, we are still looking at a two-year crisis globally,” said one Western official. “There is still going to be an impact on the world’s food supply from Ukraine for an extended period as a result of the war, as long as the war continues.” A source said efforts to move Ukrainian grain over land by rail and road are deemed by officials as … [Read more...] about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is guaranteed to cause a two-year food crisis, Western officials warn
Western Balkan and European Union leaders met on Thursday for talks on EU enlargement. A draft of the summit statement showed that EU leaders would again give "full and unequivocal commitment to the EU membership perspective of the Western Balkans." The leaders of Albania and Serbia attended the summit after they had briefly considered not going amid disappointment over the lack of progress on milestones to becoming EU members . "We will keep going and working even harder to make Albania a nice EU member," Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama wrote on Twitter after the meeting in Brussels. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic wrote on Twitter after the talks that his country would "fight" for an EU future for Serbia. Speaking to reporters after the summit, North Macedonia Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski, said: "The Russian aggression on Ukraine is a threat to all countries in the region, and, in this context, European Union enlargement to the Western Balkan should be seen as … [Read more...] about Western Balkans determined on membership after EU talks
By Nick Thorpe Published 15 February 2017 Share close Share page Copy link About sharing A new police unit in Hungary, launched to reinforce patrols along the 175km (110-mile) border fence with Serbia, is struggling to find suitable candidates despite a massive recruitment drive. Many fail the psychology test, one of several designed to weed out inappropriate applicants. Several YouTube videos with a recruitment theme have disabled all comments. Where comments are still possible, one failed applicant complained that visible tattoos were a criterion for rejection. Xenophobia is at record levels in Hungary, after two years of anti-migrant rhetoric from the conservative Fidesz government. Work is continuing on a second, electronic fence parallel to the first, designed to prevent illegal entry. Hungary now accepts only 10 applicants for asylum a day from Serbia, where up to 7,000 … [Read more...] about Hungary hits snags with squad to stop migrants
By Erika Benke Published 7 February 2017 Share close Share page Copy link About sharing A village in Hungary has banned the wearing of Muslim dress and the call to prayer. By leading what it calls "the war against Muslim culture", it hopes to attract other Christian Europeans who object to multiculturalism in their own countries. "We primarily welcome people from western Europe - people who wouldn't like to live in a multicultural society," Laszlo Toroczkai tells the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme . "We wouldn't like to attract Muslims to the village." Mr Toroczkai is mayor of Asotthalom, a remote village in the southern Hungarian plains, situated around two hours from the capital Budapest. "It's very important for the village to preserve its traditions. If large numbers of Muslims arrived here, they would not be able to integrate into the Christian community. "We can see … [Read more...] about The village aiming to create a white utopia
The rarest clouds on Earth were spotted by sky watchers in parts of western US, Europe and Canada over the weekend a vibrant display that has not been seen in about 15 years. Known as noctilucent, these clouds were glowing a stunning blue in the sky just after the sun moved below the horizon. Reports of the eerie-looking clouds came from Oregon , Washington, Alberta, the UK and Denmark. Noctilucent clouds (NLCs) form in the mesosphere, which is at altitudes of around 50 miles – making them the highest in Earth's atmosphere. The clouds consist of ice crystals that become visible during twilight when the sun is shining from blow the horizon. Scroll down for videos The rarest clouds on Earth were spotted by sky watchers in parts of western US, Europe and Canada over the weekend and this is the first time they have been seen in about 15 years. Pictured are the clouds over London 'There's really nothing else quite like them,' the National Weather Service office … [Read more...] about Rare clouds that glow in the dark are the most vibrant in 15 years for sky watchers in the upper US, Canada and Europe
By Jessica Parker Published 4 hours ago Share close Share page Copy link About sharing Related Topics Russia-Ukraine war Ukraine is set to be approved as an EU candidate at a Brussels summit on Thursday, after the European Commission gave the green light. Ukraine applied days after the Russian invasion in February, and the process has since moved at a record speed. Its ambassador to the EU told the BBC it would be a psychological boost for Ukrainians. But Vsevolod Chentsov admitted "real integration" could only start when the war was over. Candidate status is the first official step towards EU membership and France said this week there was "total consensus" on Ukraine. But it can take many years to join and there's no guarantee of success. The Western Balkan countries of Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia have been candidate countries for years; in … [Read more...] about EU leaders to back Ukraine as candidate at Brussels summit