EU leaders to meet in Brussels for the first time in months

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The Council of the European Union (EU) meeting on May 24-25 will bring leaders together face-to-face at the videoconference venue for the first time since December. At the two-day EU leaders’ summit, leaders have a long list of programs.

The situation in the Middle East, where tensions escalated after the Israeli attack on Gaza, has been added to files on leaders’ tables, which had previously been announced to deal with Russia, EU-UK relations and the Kovid-19 epidemic, which was being managed on a regular basis.

While some EU countries such as Austria, Slovenia and Hungary have fully supported Israel, France and Germany have attempted to achieve a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. The EU, in its previous statements, has condemned the launching of rockets by Hamas and declared that Israel has the right to defend itself.

Supporting the two-state solution from the very beginning, the EU administration frequently expresses that a permanent solution to the Palestine-Israel issue is possible through a political process. The EU, which wants to relaunch the Middle East Quartet formed by Russia, the United States, the UN and the EU, wants to intensify its diplomatic initiatives to include the countries of the region for this purpose.

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The EU also says it is against international law for Palestinians to be forced to leave their homes in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem.

RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA

Another important item on the leaders’ agenda is relations with Russia. At the summit meeting, the arrest of Russian opponent Aleksey Navalniy, the strengthening of the Russian army on the Ukrainian border, and finally the “list of hostile countries” of Russia and the inclusion of the United States and Czechia, how EU-Russia relations have fallen to their lowest level in recent years.

EU officials stress the need for a “balance” in relations with Russia between member states. Some EU members, especially the Baltic states, argue that Russia should face severe sanctions. At this summit, it is stated that some countries will raise the issue of sanctions again, but the possibility of further sanctions is not high.

“We want a stable relationship with Russia. How to achieve this will be discussed on Monday,” a senior EU official said. He did an assessment of the framework for leaders’ meetings.

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COVID-19 AND MIGRATION WILL BE CONSIDERED

The issue of immigration was also added to the agenda of the summit of EU leaders at the request of Italy. With global warming, Italy expects more solidarity from the EU, especially after the increase in migrant crossings to Italy via Libya in the Mediterranean.

During the recent crisis between Spain and Morocco, thousands of irregular immigrants from Morocco entered Ceuta, which belongs to Spain, among issues being debated within the EU over immigration.

At the leaders’ meeting, preparations for the other summit meeting between US President Joe Biden, who will travel to Brussels for the NATO summit on June 14, and the EU administration will be discussed.

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Regarding the Kovid-19 outbreak, the latest vaccination situation, which has gained momentum across Europe, will be discussed. The EU administration is broadly optimistic about the course of the pandemic, but has agreed to be cautious in travel due to the loosening of measures and the upcoming summer tourist season.

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