The year started with the intensification of the crisis in Ukraine, leading to Russia's annexation of Crimea which led to several rounds of sanctions in which the EU was a key player. Former High Representative Catherine Ashton showed strong support to Ukraine throughout the crisis and through the Presidential elections and formation of a new government. Federica Mogherini continues the EU's commitment in Ukraine and in just two months in office met with the Ukrainian leadership on multiple occasions and signed a historic Association Agreement. The EU also set up an Advisory Mission on civilian sector reform in Ukraine.
This year was important for the ongoing talks on Iran's nuclear programme. Based on the strong commitment by all sides to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution, ten rounds of negotiations and numerous meetings have been held during the past months. On November 24th, the Joint Plan of Action agreementwas extended until June 30th and Ashton, who led the talks leading to the interim agreement last year, was appointed to carry on her role Special Advisor for the talks.
In mid-2014, the world saw the rise of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The EU attaches a great importance to fighting ISIL. On December 3rd, HR/VP participated in the first ministerial level meeting of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, where the way forward in fighting the organisation was discussed.
The summer brought an escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with tragedies on both sides. The EU strongly supports a two-state solution and is ready to play a major role in mediating the conflict towards resolution. High Representative Mogherini stressed the feeling of urgency to find a solution to this conflict when she addressed the European Parliament for the first time upon her arrival from her first official visit to the Middle East.
See this Flickr slideshow for a few glimpses of the year. Click top-right of the photos to see their descriptions.