EM Germany Weekly Round-Up | week ending 17/04/2015
EM Germany’s weekly round-up summarises the past week’s key European issues in a brief press review, which also includes a look at EM Germany’s activities and topics trending globally on Twitter. German version here.
The week’s highlights in print, at EM Germany and on Twitter
11/04-17/04/2015 – Renewed violence in Eastern Ukraine: after a relatively peaceful week, fighting between separatists and the Ukrainian military flared up again (Handelsblatt). The events cast a shadow on talks between the German, French, Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers, who called for an immediate end to the fighting and for implementation of the Minsk peace treaty (Tagesschau). “We call upon all sides to stop fighting and demonstrate their determination to adopt a ceasefire and finish removing heavy armaments “, said German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin.
At the start of the week, the G7 foreign ministers meeting took place in the German city of Lubeck. Steinmeier met with foreign ministers from France, Britain, Italy, Japan, Canada, the USA and the EU’s High Representative, Federica Mogherini. The crises in Ukraine and Syria, Islamic State, a nuclear deal with Iran, the crises in Libya, Yemen, Sudan and other African states, as well as ebola and environmental policy were amongst the topics discussed during the meeting (Spiegel Online). Although it was not on the agenda, the topic of Greece also came up at the G7 meeting. EU High Representative Federica Mogherini emphasised that the whole European Union could fall apart if a member state were to leave the EU(Tagesschau).
Asylum policy was also discussed in light of Wednesday’s tragedy, where 400 people drowned while trying reach Europe by boat. Foreign Minister Steinmeier urged more stable conditions in the refugees’ countries of origin, to stop more people being driven to flee their home countries. Meanwhile, EU High Representative Mogherini called for a new approach by the EU to the topic of migration (EurActiv).
“Euro group disappointed over talks with Athens” read Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung‘s (FAZ) headline in response to the talks between the euro group and representatives from the Greek government. From the institutions’ (aka troika’s) point of view, Athens is not prepared to negotiate cutting officials’ pensions. As a result, the euro group set a deadline of 20 April, by which the Greek government has to submit an acceptable list of reforms. All eyes are now on the upcoming meeting of EU finance ministers on 24 April.
After countless interviews with Vladimir Putin, Russia was a hot topic in the media on Thursday. Putin underlined that there are no Russian soldiers stationed in Eastern Ukraine. He also denied a weapons delivery to separatists (BBC). Putin also addressed Europe’s sanctions: “the rouble has stabilised and has strengthened”. He sees the sanctions rather as an opportunity for Russia to grow its economy (Tagesschau).
The (hash)tags #G7, @FedericaMog, #Steinmeier and #Lubeck provided the Twitter community with news on the G7 foreign ministers summit in Lubeck. Wrangling over the Greek crisis was accompanied by the hashtags#Griechenland, #Schuldenkrise and #Troika. All tweets on Ukraine/Russia can be followed using the hashtags #Ukraine, #UkraineConflict and#Russland, #Putin.