EU approves security policy for rapid reaction force
27 March 2022 | 3:42 pm
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has expedited the "Strategic Compass" security strategy, which allows the European Union to form a rapid reaction force. Germany has offered to provide the "military core."
On February 16, the European Union's top court rejected a legal challenge by Poland and Hungary to a conditionality mechanism that would link EU funds for member states to respect for the rule of law. The Polish government stands by its controversial judicial reforms, despite criticism from local judges. On the ground in Poland, many development projects that were counting on EU funding have already been halted. One example is in the town of Wieliczka, as our correspondent Gulliver Cragg reports.
European Union leaders are meeting with their counterparts from the African Union in Brussels this Thursday. Several major economic issues will be discussed, including the €150 billion investment plan promised by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Ahead of that gathering, French President Emmanuel Macron promised a deal on reallocating of up to $100 billion of International Monetary Fund finance to African countries. Also today, we bring you the latest on the fuel shortage crisis in Nigeria.
Europe and Africa already had more than enough in their in-tray going into their first Brussels summit in nearly eight years. Now you can add coup contagion and the pullout of French-led anti-terror forces from Mali. The day began in Paris for key players in the Sahel. Will the crisis overshadow the EU-African Union summit?
In a interview with FRANCE 24 at the EU-African Union summit in Brussels, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said the French-led troop withdrawal from Mali required "new arrangements" in the regional fight against terrorism. Akufo-Addo, who is also the current chairman of West African bloc ECOWAS, demanded the departure of "foreign mercenaries" from the region and explained that negotiations are underway with the Malian junta on an election timetable. He called the junta's proposal of a four-year transition "clearly unacceptable" and said a 12-month transition period would be "an acceptable framework", while stressing that this was not official ECOWAS position.
As Russian military movements close to the Ukrainian border continue to be a major global concern, the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola tells FRANCE 24 she is doubtful about Moscow's claims that its troops are moving away from the frontier. The top EU lawmaker reaffirms that "if the escalation occurs, the European Parliament would align with other institutions to ensure concrete, swift and effective action".
Brussels has imposed sanctions on 22 Myanmar officials and a state- owned oil and gas company that has been a major source of funding for the ruling junta.
Western nations have agreed on more economic sanctions against Russia, but the energy sector is a delicate issue, says Theresa Fallon, director of the Centre for Russia Europe Asia Studies.
Gas prices have risen to record levels and gas storage facilities are far from full. With Germany dependant on Russia's gas taps, energy supplies are becoming a powerful political weapon to use against the West.
Georgia previously planned to apply to join the European Union in 2024. The move comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for EU membership amid Russia's ongoing invasion.
EU interior ministers are expected to agree on a temporary protection mechanism for people fleeing Russia's war in Ukraine. The number of people fleeing into neighboring countries could run into the millions.
In an interview with FRANCE 24, European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic condemned Russia's attack on Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as "absolutely irresponsible" and called the Russian invasion of Ukraine an "absolutely senseless war". Sefcovic also welcomed Ukraine's bid for EU membership, saying that Ukrainians are "dying for European values […] we want them in".
This week, there was a major show of support from across the political spectrum for the Ukrainian state and victims of the Russian invasion. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke via video link to Members of the European Parliament, asking them to keep up that backing and help his country accelerate down a path towards joining the EU. In this programme we're joined by two MEPs to discuss the EU's involvement in this fast-moving crisis.
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