European Union

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Ukraine wants tie-in to South Stream Pipeline

 Ukrainian Minister for Energy Eduard Stavitsky has demanded EU leaders to give it access to the South Stream gas Pipeline during a summit in Brussels.He expressed concerns about a bill worth $7 billion Gazprom demands Ukraine to pay and construction of the pipeline.Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych said on Friday that the country was planning to quit the European Energy Community. 

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 European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom has met Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and discussed political and economic problems.Ivanishvili expressed readiness to fulfill all conditions and obligations to lift the visa regime with the EU and join the union. He expressed hope for signing a free trade agreement with the EU.Malmstrom said that Georgia needed to continue fighting corruption and organized crime, respect the rights of national minorities and reform the judicial system.

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Russia, France, Germany, EU discuss meeting with Iran

 Russia, France, Germany and the EU have had consultations for the upcoming meeting of Iran and six mediators of the nuclear talks in Alma Ata today, RIA Novosti cites EU Chief Diplomat Catherine Ashton’s spokesman Michael Mann.The talks will start at about 1.00 pm.Russia, US, EU, China, France and Germany will discuss the nuclear program with Tehran. 

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European Commissioner hands action plan for lifting visas for Georgia

 European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom has handed Georgian Foreign Minister Maya Panjikidze an action plan for liberalization of the visa regime between Tbilisi and Schengen, Trend reports.Panjikidze thanked the commissioner for support and expressed hope that the EU would approve Georgian efforts. 

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The Georgian Times says that the schism of Georgian Dream and the United National Movement of President Mikheil Saakashvili was aggravating. The sides failed to reach a consensus on constitutional amendments.Georgian Speaker of Parliament Usupashvili said on February 20 that an amnesty for 1,500 people was demanded. David Bakradze, leader of the parliamentary majority and former Speaker of Parliament said that they do not was immunity for themselves.D. Sakvarelidze of the parliamentary minority demanded hatred to be stopped. ***

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The Hurriyet Daily News published today an article entitled "Majority of Germans opposed to Turkey EU entry "."Six out of 10 Germans are opposed to Turkey joining the European Union, a survey published on Sunday showed, as Chancellor Angela Merkel embarked on a two-day visit to the country. Sixty percent of those surveyed in the Emnid poll for the Bild am Sonntag weekly said they were against Ankara gaining membership of the EU bloc. Thirty percent said they were in favor, the rest undecided," the article starts.

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The signing of an agreement between Russia and the European Union to ease visa restrictions has been delayed due to differences over Russian officials' passports, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov said on Friday.Moscow wants the EU to cancel visas for officials holding special biometric passports. Such documents are issued to employees of various state bodies, such as the presidential administration, the parliament, the Supreme Court and state corporations who travel on an official assignment.

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 Ukrainian Parliament Resumes Work after Two-Week Filibuster

Speaker Volodymyr Rybak opened the second session of Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, on Friday, after more than two weeks of filibustering by opposition deputies, the Kyiv Post reported. Lawmakers from three opposition factions - Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party of jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Vitali Klitschko’s UDAR and the nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) Party blocked the speaker’s rostrum on February 5.

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South Korea's imports of crude oil from Iran fell 16.1 percent in January from a year earlier under U.S. sanctions pressure targeting Tehran's controversial nuclear programme, data from state-run Korea National Oil Corp showed on Friday, Reuters reports.The world's fifth-largest crude oil buyer imported a total 81.71 million barrels of crude oil in January, up 2.8 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.

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Biggest sweater made in Istanbul

 The textile factory of Istanbul has made the world’s largest sweater.It was put in the Guinness Book of Records. It is 45m high and 18m wide. It took about a month to make it.Egemen Bagis, Turkish Minister for the EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator, and Istanbul Mayor Bayrampasa Atilla Aydiner tried the sweater prototypes on. 

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"A window of opportunity for a resolution to the Cyprus problem is opening once again. Will the Greek and Turkish Cypriot peoples of the divided east Mediterranean island be smart enough finally to grasp this opportunity and bring about an end to the almost half-century-long intercommunal power-sharing problem? Past experience unfortunately does not allow much room for optimism," the articel by Yusuf Kanli published by Hurriyet reads. 

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The Armenian authorities should introduce some democratic changes into the country's electoral law, according to the OSCE recommendation, EU Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton and EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle say in a joint statement.

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Russian FM meets EU commissioner over Iran and Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with European Commissioner for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton in Brussels today. The officials discussed the Iranian nuclear crisis, the Syrian civil war and the situation in Mali.

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EU calls upon Saakashvili and Ivanishvili to settle crisis

The European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, has called on Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili to cooperate in order to settle the political crisis in the country.

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