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EU citizens are evacuated from Sudan, China affirms ex-Soviet nations’ sovereignty after uproar, EU announces another 1.5 billion euros of aid to Ukraine
European Circle in week 17, 2023
curated by Nina von Schweinitz


EU citizens are evacuated from Sudan: The violence that exploded across Sudan as two of the country’s generals turned on each other has made major cities into war zones. At least 459 people had been killed amid the fighting as of Tuesday, according to the WHO. The EU evacuated its embassy staff in Sudan. The EU’s Ambassador Aidan O’Hara, who was assaulted last week in his official residence by armed men wearing military uniforms, left Khartoum but remained in Sudan. Several European foreign ministers thanked the French government for coordinating the evacuation of foreign citizens from Sudan.,

  • First evacuation flight of UK nationals lands in Cyprus.

China affirms ex-Soviet nations’ sovereignty after uproar: The Chinese government said it respected the sovereignty of former Soviet Union republics after Beijing’s ambassador to France caused an uproar in Europe by saying they weren’t sovereign nations. Ambassador Lu Shaye was being called on the carpet by the governments of former Soviet republics, and French President Emmanuel Macron, since Lu’s comment to a French broadcaster. While answering a question about the status of Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014, Lu said that there was no agreement to “solidify their status as a sovereign country.” The governments of former Soviet republics Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were among those who rejected Ambassador Lu Shaye’s comment.

  • Hunting dissidents: Beijing runs dozens of illegal police stations in Europe.
  • Russia wants to improve Chinese language skills among its population.

EU announces another 1.5 billion euros of aid to Ukraine: The aid is part of the loan programme of up to 18 billion euros agreed by EU member states in December for this year. With the financial aid, the EU wants to enable the Ukrainian state to continue paying wages and pensions. It will also guarantee the operation of hospitals, schools and emergency shelters for resettled people.

  • Macron promotes an unlikely ‚peace summit‘ for Ukraine.

EU to deploy mission to Moldova to combat threats from Russia: The EU will send a civilian mission to Moldova to help the Eastern European nation combat growing threats from abroad, officials have confirmed, following a string of reports that the Kremlin is working to destabilise the former Soviet Republic. Officials confirmed that the mission will focus on crisis management and hybrid threats, including cybersecurity, and countering foreign information manipulation and interference.

Borrell sees deal soon to buy ammunition for Ukraine: EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed confidence on Monday that the bloc would finalise a plan within days to buy ammunition for Ukraine after Kyiv expressed frustration at wrangling among EU member states. „Yes, still there is some disagreement. But I am sure everybody will understand that we are in a situation of extreme urgency,“ Borrell told reporters as he arrived for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

New EU sanctions on Russia no earlier than mid-May: A new round of European Union sanctions against Russia for waging war against Ukraine is under discussion but adoption of the package is unlikely earlier than „deep into May“, Poland’s Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said late on Monday. It would be unrealistic to expect anything earlier, the Polish state-run news agency PAP cited Rau as saying.

Europe names 19 platforms that must report algorithmic risks: The EU has confirmed the names of over a dozen platforms that will face the strictest level of regulation under its recently rebooted and expanded ecommerce rules, aka the Digital Services Act (DSA). The EU’s idea is to use mandatory algorithmic transparency requirements to drive accountability — meaning regulated platforms won’t be able to turn a blind eye to AI-amplified harms as the law also requires they put in place reasonable, proportionate and effective mitigation measures for identified risks, with their reporting and mitigation plans subject to independent audit and oversight by the EU Commission.

EU lawmakers adopt due diligence rules position: The corporate sustainability due diligence directive, presented by the EU Commission in February 2022, is set to hold companies based or operating in the EU responsible for human rights and environmental violations in their value chain. The proposed directive sets out the rules regulating due diligence obligations to ensure companies identify, prevent and mitigate adverse impacts on human rights or the environment due to their activities.

More banks join European instant payments pilot from end 2023: An initiative to offer an instant payments service in Europe from the end of 2023 said on Tuesday it has acquired two payment firms and obtained the backing of more banks. The European Payments Initiative (EPI) said it planned to acquire Dutch payments scheme Currence iDEAL, and PQI, a Luxembourg-based payment solutions provider that services iDEAL.

EU, UK and US impose new sanctions against Iran: The EU imposed sanctions on Monday on eight Iranians and a mobile telecommunications provider in its latest effort to target individuals and organisations it holds responsible for human rights abuses in Iran. „The European Union and its member states urge the Iranian authorities to stop any form of violent crackdown against peaceful protests, cease their resort to arbitrary detentions as a means of silencing critical voices, and release all those unjustly detained,“ a statement said.

War crimes: ICC and Europol conclude Working Arrangement to enhance cooperation
Lower energy prices: EU launches joint gas purchases for 80 companies
EU states adopt rules: Companies must disclose salary differences
Syria: EU sanctions drug trade benefitting the regime
Want to rent out your home to tourists? Make sure to follow these new rules around Europe
EU Health Commissioner: Bloc must better prepare for drug shortages


„You cannot have political legitimacy without moral authority. You can’t have political legitimacy either unless the people (have) trust in you.“

The mounting political scandal besieging the EU risk having a shattering effect on how people perceive and trust the entire project of European integration, European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has warned.


EU gives green light to revamp of Europe’s main climate policy: EU countries gave the final approval to the biggest revamp to date of Europe’s carbon market, which is set to make it more costly to pollute and sharpen the 27-member bloc’s main tool for cutting carbon dioxide emissions. The reform is set to hike the cost of polluting for sectors including cement manufacturing, aviation and shipping, while also raising billions of euros through CO2 permit sales, for national governments to invest in green measures.

  • New EU wastewater directive makes its way through Parliament, but at what cost?
  • EU plan to ban up to 7,000 dangerous chemicals failing badly, says study.

European countries pledge huge expansion of North Sea wind farms: Nine European countries have pledged to multiply the capacity of offshore wind farms in the North Sea by eight times current levels before 2050, turning it into what Belgium’s energy minister called “Europe’s biggest green power plant”. The countries are aiming for a combined 120 gigawatts (GW) of North Sea offshore wind capacity by 2030, and to more than double that to 300GW by 2050.,

Council gives final green light to legislation that will make products safer for consumers: The Council of the EU adopted the general product safety regulation (GPSR), which reinforces the safety rules for products sold both offline and online. The regulation will reinforce market surveillance for unsafe products and consumer rights for anyone who has been sold an unsafe product.

Spain pleads for EU crisis funds as drought hits farmers: Spain is requesting emergency funds from the EU to support farmers and ranchers amid extreme drought conditions in its agricultural heartlands, Agriculture Minister Luis Planas said Tuesday. Currently, 27% of Spanish territory is classified as in drought “emergency” or “alert,” according to the Ecological Transition ministry, and water reserves are at 50% of capacity nationally.

Lithuania passes legislation allowing border guards to turn back migrants: Lithuania’s parliament passed legislation allowing border guards to turn back migrants who cross its frontier illegally, brushing away concerns from human rights organisations. Lithuania, Poland and Latvia have reported a sharp increase since 2021 in migrants from countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan trying to cross their borders from Belarus, in what they and Brussels have said was a form of hybrid warfare designed to put pressure on the EU over sanctions it imposed on Minsk.

EU, Norway seal ‘Green Alliance’ to tackle climate change: The alliance, which has been in the works since February 2022, will cover different areas, including nature protection, reversing biodiversity loss, climate change adaptation as well as technologies to remove, capture and store CO2. The partnership also has a heavy focus on the transition away from fossil fuels, including clean mobility, renewable energy and hydrogen production, and obtaining the critical raw materials needed for these technologies.

Poland wants to have Europe’s strongest army: Poland’s army is to become the strongest in Europe within the next two years, according to an election campaign promise announced by Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, the PAP news agency reported. The prerequisite is that the national conservative government is re-elected in the parliamentary elections in autumn, said the minister, who is also deputy head of government.

Austrian communist party stages major comeback: The communist party KPÖplus made huge gains and secured a solid fourth place in its best supralocal election result since at least World War II in the Salzburg state elections on Sunday, which also had the far-right FPÖ make the second-largest gains and the centre-right secure the first spot needed to lead a coalition again.

UK’s Labour suspends Diane Abbott: Britain’s main opposition Labour Party has suspended high-profile lawmaker Diane Abbott over a letter she wrote in which she said the prejudice experienced by Jewish people was similar to, but not the same as, racism. Labour, which polls indicate is likely to form Britain’s next government after an election expected next year, faced accusations of discrimination and harassment against Jews under its former leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Hungary: EU groups call for action against anti-LGBTQ law
Poland: Prosecutors open investigation involving opposition chief Tusk
Portugal: Brazil’s Lula triggers protests and passions in Portugal
UK ministers take nurses to court over strikes


Air pollution kills 1,200 young people in Europe each year.


Italian tourism video mocked for using footage of Slovenia: Italy’s tourism ministry has faced ridicule after an official video to attract tourists to Italy used footage of people in Slovenia drinking Slovenian wine. The video, part of a €9m campaign produced by the Armando Testa communications group, was widely mocked by critics and on social media even before it emerged that part of it had been shot abroad.