Conflict prevention paper to stress Commission’s role

first_imgFrance and Germany are insisting the EU executive should not be given the right to determine whether a group of member states can press ahead with ‘enhanced cooperation’ in the foreign policy arena, although it will be able to do so in other areas of policy-making in its role as guardian of the Union treaty.French diplomats have suggested that enhanced cooperation could be used, for example, to allow some states to form a special high-level task force to deal with the conflict in the Great Lakes region in Africa even if others did not wish to take part. But Paris argues that the Commission should not be given in a say in whether this happens.France has traditionally been the strongest advocate of giving the EU a more united position on external relations issues, but through greater coordination of individual member states’ stances rather than by boosting the Commission’s role.However, Patten argues that trying to improve the effectiveness of the Union’s foreign policy while marginalising the Commission is self-defeating because the executive can provide considerable aid and controls essential policy tools for dealing with crisis situations.He emphasised the importance of his institution’s role in a speech in June, saying: “While the Commission has nothing to say – nor do we seek a role – in defence, it is impossible to separate purely military matters from related issues in which we are competent, and have a real contribution to make. Military and the non-military actions cannot be placed neatly into separate boxes. Nor should they be, because they need to be closely coordinated in the service of a single strategy.”The debate comes as EU leaders prepare to boost Solana’s role by giving him control of the Union’s new permanent political and security committee (PSC), which will run crisis management operations from next year. The paper on ‘effective conflict prevention’ will emphasise the executive’s importance in dealing with humanita-rian emergencies such as the situations in Bosnia and Kosovo, although it will not be involved in the military side of crisis management operations.It will also argue against any attempt to marginalise the Commission, while acknowledging that the Union’s usual decision-making procedures will have to be telescoped if it is to take rapid action to deal with crisis situations.The move comes as most EU governments are fighting French-led attempts to limit the Commission’s role in deciding whether some Union countries can go ahead with new foreign policy initiatives without all 15 member states being involved.last_img read more

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Bristol Bears visit HMS Prince of Wales

first_imgIn a celebration of the strengthening relationship between the city of Bristol and the Royal Navy, the squad was treated to an exclusive guided tour of the 280-metre long vessel – one of the most powerful surface warships ever constructed in the UK.After a fascinating tour of the HMS Prince of Wales, the Bears headed to the HMS Temeraire sports ground for a joint training session with their Navy counterparts. Lam and Club Chairman, Chris Booy, presented a signed Bristol Bears shirt to Royal Navy Officer, Rudi Lorenz, which will be displayed on the ship.“The HMS Prince of Wales was so impressive – state of the art, one of the best in the world,” said Director of Rugby, Pat Lam.“For us to come down and be a part of it has been awesome. The boys were buzzing, because some of the things we saw on the aircraft carrier, not many civilians will get a chance to see. It’s great and it’s just building the ongoing relationship.“What we saw is that it’s all about teamwork, good strong leadership, clarity of roles. They’ve got an amazing ship – and it got me excited about our new training facility that’s coming – but it’s still all about manpower and people on the ground doing the hard work and playing role, having clarity of vision and purpose, and everyone doing their bit.”last_img read more

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Champions League: Marco Asensio Gives Real Madrid Favourable Lead Against Ajax

first_imgMarco Asensio scored a late winner for Real Madrid in a 2-1 victory at Ajax Amsterdam, who were left to rue a goal disallowed by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in their Champions League round-of-16 first leg on Wednesday.Asensio netted in the 87th minute from Dani Carvajal’s excellent cross to give Real the advantage heading into the return leg on March 5.Karim Benzema swept holders Real into the lead in the second half, before Hakim Ziyech scored a deserved equaliser as an energetic Ajax created more than enough chances to win comfortably on the night.They were also denied a first-half opener when Nicolas Tagliafico headed home but for the first time in Champions League history, the goal was ruled out after Slovenian referee Damir Skomina checked with the VAR and Dusan Tadic was judged offside.Ajax are seeking to reach the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time in 16 years, while Real have not lost a tie at this stage in almost a decade.Ajax made the brighter start and should have gone ahead when right back Noussair Mazraoui put his shot wide after finding himself the furthest player forward with only Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to beat.Tadic then held off Sergio Ramos to fire in a shot that hit the post, and Ziyech missed another one-on-one chance with Courtois as Ajax’s incisive passing stretched the visitors.The home side thought they had profited from a horror error by Courtois, who allowed a Donny van de Beek header to spill from his grasp and Tagliafico nodded the rebound into an empty net.Yet Skomina called for a VAR check and, after a number of replays, ruled that Tadic had been standing in an offside position when the goal was scored.Benzema tested the reflexes of home goalkeeper Andre Onana just after the break, a warning of his threat that was not heeded as he netted on the hour-mark with a rasping finish into the top-corner after Vinicius Jr. picked him out after having been given acres of space in the box.Ajax got the goal their play deserved with 15 minutes remaining as Ziyech side-footed home after a sweeping move, latching on to a delivery from David Neres on the left.Yet Asensio had the final word, scoring at the back post from Carvajal’s cross.Ajax claimed a foul in the build-up to the goal, but this time the VAR did not intervene and Real will take a slender advantage back to Madrid.Relatedlast_img read more

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55 Pakistani Sindhis Receive Indian Citizenship

first_imgFifty five Pakistani Sindhi migrants were granted Indian citizenship by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at a function in Lucknow on Jan. 21. Some of them, like Vidya Bai, 48, had come to India in 1990 from Sukhur, Pakistan, and finally became a citizen of the country where she has been residing for 28 years.As many as 146 Sindhis who migrated to India in the years after Partition had applied for citizenship. While 55 of them were granted citizenship on Jan. 21, the rest will also receive it soon, District Magistrate Kaushalraj Sharma told the Hindustan Times. Hundreds of Sindhis attended the event at an ashram in Lucknow.They can now have access to the Indian passport, Aadhaar and other schemes and benefits meant for Indian citizens. With the Indian passport, they can now travel to 55 countries visa-free.Speaking on the occasion, Singh said, “A delegation of Sindhis met me when I became home minister and apprised me of the citizenship issue. I promised them all support. I am happy that I have been able to deliver and grant Indian citizenship to oppressed people from Pakistan.”He added that while India and Pakistan had agreed during Partition to take care of the minority communities in their respective countries, Pakistan has not done so.“The suppression of minorities continued in Pakistan and as a result, a number of Pakistanis applied for Indian citizenship. But they were not granted this for years due to small technical issues. I called the attorney general and he helped in drafting the new citizenship and visa policy. But the bill is with the standing committee as it was not passed in Rajya Sabha. Soon we will have majority in Rajya Sabha and then the bill will be passed,” Singh said.According to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha, illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion can be granted citizenship. Singh referred to the bill during the event and said that citizenship can be issued by the district magistrate.Oppressed Pakistani citizens can apply for long-term visa, and they can open bank accounts and commercial establishments, while their children can get education in India while they apply for citizenship, Singh added. Related ItemsPakistanSindhilast_img read more

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