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The EU Delegation will organise a series of nine online webinars in different policy areas ranging from green recovery to trade to public health, bringing together EU and Japanese experts to discuss the impact, policy response and EU-Japan cooperation regarding COVID-19.

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Five years ago, beginning on 9 July 2015, the Chinese government arrested and detained more than 300 human rights lawyers and human rights defenders, in what is known as the "709 crackdown". In many of the resulting trials, the accused were denied a proper defence and a fair trial. There are extensive and credible reports of mistreatment and torture during their detention, while the lawyers who were detained have been disbarred and those released continue to be monitored.

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Thank you dear Minister [of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu], thank you for your warm welcome. It is the second time that I am visiting Turkey in the last four months. I have not come more frequently due to the coronavirus. I hope that in the future, once the pandemic will stop imposing constraints, we will be able to increase our contacts, our conversations because we have a lot of things to talk [about], a lot of problems to solve and the common endeavour of improving the relation between Turkey and the European Union.

The European Union is funding a EUR 1.43 million [2.2 billion MMK] project supporting older people and those with disabilities affected by COVID-19 in Myanmar, reaching five million people. The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Health and Sports and HelpAge International.

“Demography is destiny” said the sociologist Auguste Comte: the basic idea is that population trends and distributions determine the future of a country or region. Recently, my colleague Dubravka Suica, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for demography and democracy, provided us with an analysis of the foreseeable consequences of the demographic changes underway in Europe and globally. This work deserves our full attention, because this subject is both central to the Union's internal affairs and for its place in the world.

On 3 July, four defendants were sentenced to prison terms in the Büyükada case against a group of human rights defenders and long-standing interlocutors of both the EU and many of its Member States, three years after they were temporarily taken into custody.

The decision by the Court is deeply regrettable and further deepens the EU’s serious concerns regarding Turkey’s backsliding in fundamental areas as expressed on numerous occasions, in the Commission’s annual reports and in Council conclusions.

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We need to build a common strategic culture in Europe. If we agree more on how we see the world and the challenges it contains, it will be easier to agree on what to do about them. Given our different histories, this will take time. It requires many discussions among all involved in the shaping of Europe’s foreign policy, both in Brussels and capitals. We need to understand where each of us is coming from; what worries people and why; but also what we have in common.

In the almost ten years since civil war began in Syria, I have followed closely its appalling developments and the horrors that the Syrian people have gone through. I come from a country that went through a civil war and perfectly know how it divides and destroys a society.

More than 12 million Syrians, half of the pre-war population, had to flee their homes. Over half a million have lost their lives. An entire generation of Syrian children has only known war. As Europeans, we have collectively been unable to stop these massacres at the gates of our continent. When we pursue our efforts to build a stronger Common Foreign and Security Policy for the EU, I often think of Syria and what we could have done there.

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