CoFoE: Michel Wants to Create European Geopolitical Community

20. mája 2022 22:26
Brussels, May 20 (TASR) - Reflecting on the Conference on the Future of Europe, the EU said this week that it would work to create a "European Geopolitical Community" that would be a sort of waiting room with privileges for neighbouring countries hoping to join the bloc. European Council President Charles Michel pledged to put the project on track around the middle of the year, fleshing out an idea put forward by French President Emmanuel Macron to MEPs last week - at the final ceremony of the Conference on the Future of Europe. Michel said that he´d propose that a conference be held around or after the summer with EU leaders and partner countries to discuss some specifics. Macron at the final event of the Conference on the Future of Europe described a European "community" that would have at its core the EU but also include countries in its orbit, such as Ukraine and Britain. EU lawmakers on Thursday called on the bloc to slap sanctions on German ex-chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and other Europeans who refuse to give up lucrative board seats at Russian firms. The demand was made in a non-binding resolution approved overwhelmingly by the European Parliament focused on strengthening the European Union's response to Moscow's war on Ukraine. European Union lawmakers have voted to suspend import duties on all Ukrainian exports for a year to support the war-torn country's economy. The measure covers industrial products, fruits, vegetables and steel. The EU is Ukraine's most important trading partner, accounting for more than 40% of its total trade in goods last year. Before the war, Ukraine was the EU's 15th-largest trading partner, representing around 1.2% of overall EU trade. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has reiterated his stance that Ukraine should not be able to benefit from any special rules to accelerate its accession to the European Union. "The fact that there are no shortcuts on the way to the EU is also an imperative of fairness towards the six nations of the Western Balkans," Scholz said in parliament in Berlin on Thursday. Ukraine officially applied for EU membership shortly after the Russian invasion began on the 24th of February. The European Union will have to invest up to 300 billion euros by 2030 to become independent of Russian energy imports, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said. "We must now reduce as soon as possible our dependency on Russian fossil fuels," von der Leyen said in a speech in Brussels, presenting the EU's strategy to break away from Russian energy imports by the end of the decade. The Council of the European Union and the European Parliament on Thursday reached an agreement on a proposal for a regulation on natural gas storage to improve the security of supply in the current geopolitical context. The two legislative bodies agreed that underground gas storage facilities in the EU should be filled to at least 80 per cent of their capacity for the upcoming winter season and to 90 per cent thereafter. bub
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