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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Ravens tight end Watson practices for first time in nearly 10 months

first_imgOWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson said it felt like Christmas morning when he woke up on Tuesday.Having not practiced since tearing his right Achilles tendon on the first play from scrimmage in a preseason game in Baltimore last Aug. 27, the 36-year-old was itching to get back on the football field for the first time in nearly 10 months. Watson took part in some individual drills before working to the side during the full-team portions on the opening day of mandatory minicamp.“I went to sleep last night, and my wife and I were talking and I told the kids,” said Watson, who is now entering his 14th NFL season. “They’ve been praying for me every day since I got injured, and they will continue to. I’m still not all the way there.“It’s definitely exciting. It leaves you hungry for more, obviously, but the plan was to have a good day and not have any setbacks and just get my feet under me a little bit.”Watson recently agreed to a pay cut to lower his scheduled $3 million salary to $1.25 million with incentives for the 2017 season, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. The move increases his chances of making the 53-man roster as the Ravens would like to have his veteran presence to lead an otherwise-inexperienced group of tight ends. Of course, Watson will need to show he can return to playing at a level high enough to justify keeping him around.The veteran wasn’t the only tight end to return to the practice field Tuesday as Darren Waller was taking extensive reps with the first-team offense, once beating safety Tony Jefferson in coverage on a deep crossing route. However, the 6-foot-6, 255-pound former wide receiver would later leave the field for heat-related reasons.Two-time Pro Bowl inside linebacker C.J. Mosley remained sidelined as he continues to recover from offseason shoulder surgery, but head coach John Harbaugh said he’s expected to be ready for the start of training camp in late July. Tight end Crockett Gillmore was also absent after leaving the field gingerly during last Thursday’s voluntary workout.“Crockett tweaked his hamstring,” Harbaugh said. “I think some of you guys speculated on that, and that was right. I do not think it is real serious as far as I know. He should be ready for training camp easily.”Other players missing from Tuesday’s workout included guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder), wide receivers Michael Campanaro (toe) and Quincy Adeboyejo, linebacker Brennen Beyer, defensive tackle Carl Davis (pectoral), tight end Maxx Williams (knee), and cornerback Tavon Young (torn ACL).Entering his 15th season, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs saw his first on-field action of the spring after being held out during voluntary organized team activities. Suggs took part in individual drills and saw some limited work during team drills.Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin arrived in Owings Mills early Tuesday afternoon to officially sign his contract and will speak to the media after his first practice on Wednesday. To make room on the roster, the Ravens waived tight end Barrett Burns.last_img read more

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