European Union

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Hurriyet published an article by Barcin Yinanc 'What if Turkey surprises Merkel and Hollande with a Cyprus move?' "There is no reason what so ever for German Prime Minister Angela Merkel to change her stance on Turkey’s entry to the EU, a Turkish official familiar with Germany told me," the article begins. “By lifting its veto in just one chapter and not the rest, France has shown us that it does not think differently than Germany,” another one told me." 

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Europe may reconsider sanctions against Iran

 Michael Mann, spokesman of EU Chief Diplomat Catherine Ashton, said that sanctions against Iran could be reconsidered depending on Tehran’s attitude to the meeting with six mediators in Alma Ata today, ITAR-TASS reports.He did not rule out opportunities for bilateral talks of Iran and the US.According to the official, the plenary session started at 1.30 pm and will continue until 4.30 pm.The spokesman said that Iran had had a bilateral meeting with China and consultations with EU, France and Germany in the morning, RIA Novosti reports. 

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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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