EU and Ukraine adopt Association Agreement, with concession to Russia

Yesterday on September 16 the European Parliament (EP), as well as the Verkhovna Rada – the Ukrainian Parliament, - ratified the European Union (EU)-Ukraine Association Agreement (AA). Last year this issue triggered the outbreak of a political crisis in Ukraine that led to the overthrow of then President Viktor Yanukovych, Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, and a war with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine that has to date killed more than 2,600 people. As a concession to Moscow the AA’s trade rules will not enter into force on 1 November as originally planned, but will be delayed until 31 December 2015.

European sanctions against Russia enter into force

Today, on 12 September, a new wave of sanctions against Russia that the European Union (EU) agreed upon during a Council meeting on 8 September will enter into force. In light of the decisive role that Russia has played in intensifying the conflict in eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian government and the pro-Russian, Kyiv-wary separatists, Brussels finds it necessary to impose additional sanctions on Moscow.

Movie night: "Age of Delirium", the collapse of the Soviet Union

On 21 September Blinibioscoop and Foundation Max van der Stoel are organising a screening of documentary film "Age of Delirium," which focusses on the fall of the Soviet Union, followed by a panel discussion. The film screening will begin at 15:00, the panel at 17:00, to be followed by the Bliniscoop traditional pancakes. Entrance fee is 5 Euros, and includes pancakes. The working language will be English.

Campagnetraining Tunesië

Afgelopen weekend (29-31 augustus) organiseerden wij in samenwerking met onze lokale partner Ettakatol een campagnetraining in Tunesië. De training vond plaats in Gabès (oostkust) voor het communicatieteam van Ettakatol en regionale campagnemanagers. Parlementsverkiezingen worden op 26 oktober gehouden en Ettakatol zit momenteel midden in de voorbereidingen. In januari organiseerden wij al een campagnetraining en in maart een mediatraining. Deze training diende om in de beginnende, maar inmiddels hete fase van de campagne, met Ettakatol leden te werken aan een aantal belangrijke campagneonderdelen.

Tensions escalate over Ukraine-Russia conflict as Russia opens new front in Ukraine

Yesterday Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia of sending troops into Ukrainian territory and opening a new southern front in the Ukrainian army’s fight with pro-Russian separatists, capturing the strategic coastal town of Novoazovsk. The reports have been confirmed by NATO and the US, and other Western leaders also seem to have little doubt at this point of Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine.

Ceasefire ends fifty days of conflict between Israel and Hamas

A ceasefire agreement was eventually reached between Israeli and Palestinians on 26 August. Fifty days after the beginning of Israel’s “Protective Edge” military operation, the Cairo-brokered peace deal was welcomed by Gaza’s inhabitants who demonstrated in Gaza’s streets last night. However, it should not bring much improvement in comparison to the previous ceasefire negotiated in 2012.

Early elections scheduled in Ukraine as Kiev condemns Russian “invasion”

One day after the country’s independence day parade on 24 August, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko dissolved the Parliament and announced that early elections would be held on 26 October. The announcement is a strong signal on the eve of Poroshenko’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk, and as Russian soldiers have been arrested on Ukrainian soil today. It raises concerns about a potential escalation of the conflict as the political and economic situation deteriorates in Ukraine.

Abkhazia’s dependence on Russia questioned amid presidential elections

The breakaway region of Abkhazia has held early presidential elections on Sunday, August 24th. Allegations of corruption and misrule had forced the former President Aleksandr Ankvab to resign in early June, consequently rescheduling the date of presidential elections from 2016 to August 2014. The election of a KGB academy graduate has raised concern from the European Union and Georgia about the Kremlin’s involvement in the area.

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