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Further EU moves on Ukraine as its new leadership duo prepares for office …

  • September 5th, 2014
  • Posted by EU Australia

EU flag movementGovernment leaders within the European Union are considering further actions to try and constrain Russia to end its interventions in Ukraine.

The moves were put on the table at the summit of heads of government, the European Council, last weekend in Brussels, leading up to this week’s summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) near Cardiff.

NEW APPOINTEES

This coincided with the appointment of a new “President of Europe”, President of the Council, and a new “European Foreign Minister”, the High Representative, both after extended debate and wrangling at the levels of the Council and the European Parliament.

The specialist publication, European Voice, summed up the week’s deliberations:

“The European Council met on Saturday night and took decisions on appointing successors to Herman Van Rompuy and Catherine Ashton. In addition, there were significant conclusions on sanctions against Russia, on Iraq, and on the European economy.

“The national leaders chose Donald Tusk, Poland’s Prime Minister, as the next president of the European Council, and Federica Mogherini, Italy’s Foreign Minister, to be the next EU foreign policy chief and a vice-president of the European Commission.

Jean-Claude Juncker [incoming President of the executive body, the European Commission] is this week finalising the distribution of portfolios among his line-up of Commissioners. His hopes that there will be nine women in the line-up are still alive. The Danish government disclosed at the weekend that it had nominated Margrethe Vestager, economy and interior minister, as a commissioner.

“After hearing from Petro Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine, the Council demanded that the European Commission and the EEAS [external policy service of the EU] should prepare further sanctions against Russia. The Commission has offered further loans to Ukraine.”

….

POLITICAL BALANCE

The two new appointments, due to take effect on 1st December, provide a sense of political balance, and the drift of commentary from Brussels is that neither the President nor High Representative is expected to pursue an aggressively federalist or expansionist line, enough to frighten the horses.

Right wing politicians in Eastern Europe did complain for a time that Ms Mogherini, a social democrat, had been in the Italian Communist Party and was sympathetic to Russia, but they have one of their own in Mr Tusk.

Federica_Mogherini_daticameraFederica Mogherini, 41, (picture) is the centre-left choice, after several years in senior policy posts rising to Foreign Minister in the Renzi government formed early this year.

Donald_Tusk_2014Donald Tusk, 57, (picture) was a youth activist for Solidarity in the 1980s, at Gdansk, both his own birthplace and that of the free trade union formation. Prime Minister of Poland since 2007 he heads the centre-right Civic Platform party supporting free market economics and European integration.

Reference

European Voice, Brussels, What you should know about the weekend’s EU summit, 1.9.14.

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