French state-owned power generating company EDF and Uzbekhydroenergo have recently discussed signing a future, formal Memorandum of Understanding which would create a deeper relationship between Uzbekistan’s state hydropower producer and EDF. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Uzbekistan’s hydropower potential to boost RES energy balance with EU help

By Kostis Geropoulos
Energy & Russian Affairs Editor, New Europe

Uzbekhydroenergo Chairman Abdugani Sanginov talked to New Europe in an exclusive interview. “Hydropower is a renewable energy source and, in this regard, an increase in the share of hydropower in the energy balance of the Republic of Uzbekistan will help reduce the effects of climate change,” Sanginov said, adding that the technically feasible hydropower potential of Uzbekistan is estimated at 27.4 billion kWh per year and currently only 24% of this potential is used. EDF, which is the largest state-owned power generating company in France and the world’s largest nuclear power plant operator, and Uzbekhydroenergo also reached preliminary agreements on operational ventures and organizational collaboration, specifically construction of a pumped storage power plant (PSP) for the first time in Uzbekistan, installation of floating solar stations on reservoirs and the creation of special working groups to discuss key organizational issues. “The advantage of the partnership for Uzbekhydroenergo JSC with the French company EDF is that it has extensive experience in the design and operation of hydroelectric power plants, in this regard, Uzbekistan can learn innovative solutions in the design and operation of hydroelectric power plants,” Sanginov told New Europe. Uzbekhydroenergo is exploring plans to build a 200 MW PSP, in the Bostanlyk district of the Tashkent region. Uzbekhydroenergo

New Europe interview with Uzbekhydroenergo Chairman Abdugani Sanginov

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Uzbekistan’s hydropower potential is growing, and the Central Asian country is looking to boost energy efficiency and increase renewable energy’s share in the country’s energy mix with the help of the European Union, the chairman of Uzbekistan’s state hydropower producer and developer, Uzbekhydroenergo, Abdugani Sanginov, told New Europe in an exclusive interview. Asked what role the EU can play in supporting renewable energy in Uzbekistan, the Uzbekhydroenergo Chairman said, “The European Union can play an important role in supporting RES in Uzbekistan by providing grants and soft loans for the development of RES in Uzbekistan”.  
 
 
  Asked what caused the boom in the development of renewable energy sources in Uzbekistan compared to its Central Asian neighbors, Sanginov noted, “Uzbekistan has a huge potential for the development of renewable energy sources, in this regard, the government of the Republic of Uzbekistan has set the task of increasing the share of renewable energy sources in the energy balance of Uzbekistan to 20% by 2030”.

Any failure to do so will leave the blood on the hands of the idle, lazy, or disinterested. A return to the dark years of The Troubles seems imminent. EPA-EFE/PAUL McERLANE

The grounds of the Stormont, the parliament buildings in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Its population is not unanimously pro-independence, or pro-alignment with a foreign power. But perhaps they could consider amending their trade laws due to Northern Ireland’s situation – this has already been done to a limited degree, as the country remains in Brussels’ single market for goods. I can’t see how the situation is to be alleviated, especially as local law enforcement is not trusted by the Loyalists, who view the police and judiciary as being Sinn Fein-aligned. I shall simply state the obvious, because I think it needs to be reiterated: the recent resurgence of violence will only be a portent of further bloodshed to come if Britain and Europe do not act now and take preventative measures. As a result of the Brexit agreement, these look set to return with Loyalists feeling that their British identity and connection to the rest of the UK are under threat. The desire for an independent Irish state already exists in the form of the Irish Republic that we know and love today – and which was formed from yet another prior period of violence and sorrow. Mostly this remark comes either from Americans who don’t really understand the situation, but who take pride in moronically declaring ‘I’m Irish’, despite never having visited the island. Not only were soldiers ill-suited to tackle what effectively amounted to a half-peacekeeping, half-policing operation in a country not at war that was also their own country (see what I mean about complexities?), they were also unable to be entirely neutral: although their intended role was to hold the ring between both Loyalist and Nationalist factions, regular troops and special forces admitted to sympathising, and even colluding with, Loyalist vigilante groups. This lack of unanimous internal agreement has not disappeared since Tony Blair’s government signed the Good Friday Agreement (that same government which declared after 9/11 that ‘it didn’t negotiate with terrorists’, despite having done exactly that in the 1990s). I believe I’ve heard ‘Just give Northern Ireland back to the Irish’ more times than I’ve had hot meals. I won’t try and explain all the complexities and history behind the entire issue; God Himself couldn’t do that. Anyone who claims to have had a crystal ball with Irish politics has seen the thing smash in record time, so I won’t try and predict the behaviours of London, Belfast, and Brussels. The thirty years of civil strife that was largely (though not entirely) ended with 1997’s Good Friday Agreement was, however, simply another chapter in a long and bloody history in which neither side has much to boast about. This annoys Irish people more than anyone else, by the way, or Eastern Europeans who equate British involvement in Northern Ireland with Imperial Russian or Soviet occupations. Yet bringing in troops hardly helped matters in The Troubles; if anything, it made them worse. Yet, Northern Ireland is not like Catalonia, the Basque region, South Ossetia or the Donbass. The complex houses the the seat of the Northern Ireland Assembly, the devolved legislature for the UK region. I’m not suggesting Europe deploy peacekeepers to Northern Ireland – that would be the fastest way to an escalation I can think of. Although the IRA’s terrorist campaign largely – though not entirely – ceased, there has been the occasional flareup of violence. Last time, there was little foreign intervention except when the Americans stuck their oar in with then-President Bill Clinton deigning to visit the place, while his lunatic countrymen in Boston donated money to the IRA (I’d be willing to bet that this isn’t something Americans these days want to know about – that they funded a terrorist group). Yet since the latest problems are due to European regulations, perhaps Europe should take a hand. But I shall attempt to predict the course of events, and outline a few key issues. Media reports state that the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradey, is meeting, on 08 October 2018, the five main Stormont parties, the Irish deputy prime minister and Church leaders to discuss prospects for restoring devolution. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>The Trying Game: Why extreme caution is needed in Northern Ireland

By Timothy Ogden
A UK-born freelance journalist based in Tbilisi, focusing on defence matters

epa07078706 (FILE) – The Statue of Lord Edward Carson in the grounds of Stormont Parliament Buildings, Belfast, Northern Ireland 29 June 2017. EPA-EFE//PAUL McERLANE

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I doubt that any of those who predicted resurgent violence in Northern Ireland is taking pleasure in being proved exactly correct as riots, fighting, and bomb threats have returned to centre stage in Belfast, Derry, and practically everywhere in between. Britain’s history of meddling in Ireland goes back far further and has left it in a sticky situation which is almost unprecedented. The Loyalists of the territory support remaining a part of the UK, while the Nationalists (or Republicans) seek to unify the North of the island with the southern Republic of Ireland.

The doorbell was rung continuously by visitors and staff, a screeching sound that is still stuck in my mind. Often, showers are shared and you are to shower nude near each other. Halfway through my stay, I was transferred to Female Ward 1. I had already been in the hospital for days and was transferred internally by a nurse, yet still had to strip naked for a drug check – which was frankly dehumanising. An institution that is supposed to protect and heal people experiencing mental health problems does nothing but worsen their experience. I needed attention, to speak to people, so I began shouting and screaming.”
He continues: “I just wanted to speak to someone, but they said they were trying to calm me down. Another person confined to this institution recently spoke up about being thrown into a cell by himself for a week. I vividly remember a woman roaming around like a Roomba, walking into walls as if she was merely a ghost embodying a human being. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Listen to those with mental ill-health; end coercion in mental healthcare

By Belle de Jong
Freelance writer whose article about her experiences at the mental health institution Mount Carmel in Malta caused a national outcry and put a renewed spotlight on coercion in mental healthcare. *Names have been changed for the individual’s protection. Unfortunately, I am just one of many with traumatising experiences in Mount Carmel. In three words, it was hell. In fact, the lack of community-based and voluntary mental healthcare services causes tremendous distress to those that are already severely affected by mental ill-health. The psychiatric hospital is in Malta, the European island state south of Italy. In the process, they were breaking me. At 7 am, the bright lights are switched on and everyone immediately has to wake up. The people in Mount Carmel are the ones that need the support of their community the most, but the way they are treated only fuels the stigma and fear surrounding mental health and psychiatric care. It is time to end coercion in mental health care. Coercion is not care, and mental health matters now more than ever. It is time to listen to them and their experiences. “Instead of using slow legal reforms as an excuse, policy-makers should be inspired by positive examples around the world that successfully reduce and end coercion in mental health care. The heavy, metal doors were slammed shut throughout the day. Besides the total lack of appropriate care, Mount Carmel Hospital violates human rights by locking patients in solitary confinement against their will, when that is the last thing they need. “Different investigations over the years show that we have sufficient evidence of human rights violations that continue to take place in psychiatric settings”, says Jonas Bull, Research and Policy Officer at Mental Health Europe. The deprivation of liberty and coercion does not contribute towards a healthy recovery. You head to the showers, with old cabins and chipped floor tiles. I was now convinced this had to be some sort of prison. Developing such commitments must be the primary objective for 2021, particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrates the urgency of adequate mental health care when dealing with mental distress”. If you do not experience mental ill-health to begin with, the conditions the place is in will certainly affect your mental health negatively. The common area was a dirty, depressing room with chairs lined up against the wall as if the persons confined to the institution are convicts. You do not have the freedom to walk around as you wish. Nearly two centuries later, not much has changed. Most doors are locked at all times, and it was not unusual for some institutionalised people to aggressively bang on and scratch the doors. Coercion in mental healthcare silences those who experience mental ill-health, isolates those that need help, and harms those that need to be cared for. Two televisions displayed loud cartoons and the news simultaneously. It’s hard to get attention there. Other people were banging on their walls constantly.”
Not surprisingly, he felt completely alien: “I was having my senses taken away from me. I would wash my clothes in the toilet, a literal hole in the ground. The only time I had seen bathrooms looking like this was in history books about German concentration camps. It was founded as a “Lunatic Asylum” in 1861, with the aim of keeping people experiencing mental ill-health away from society rather than supporting them towards reintegration into the community. All the while, I was drugged into the state of a zombie. FLICKR

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I spent eight days in Mount Carmel Hospital. I lost track of time. “I was having a mental health crisis, and their decision was to put me in solitary confinement.”
Joshua* explains: “I was all alone in a box. With few windows, there was no natural light. Medication was chaotically passed around in the hallways and seemed to have the purpose of numbing us. The worst thing I did was getting naked in front of some nurses.”
Finally, he relates: “I am still traumatised by those seven days.”
Mount Carmel is anything but a place to heal.

Some European businesses in affected sectors such as wine and spirits or confectionary suffered up to 40% export losses as a result. EPA-EFE//STEFAN SIMONSEN

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There is a famous line that if it moves, tax it. In the Airbus-Boeing disputes, it was primarily the unrelated sectors that had to suffer the consequences, with considerable export drops on both sides of the Altantic. While it may appear technical at first sight, the Section 232 tariffs and quotas on imports have – and will continue to have – a huge impact on EU-US trade relations. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>The EU and US must steel themselves for a tariff suspension

By Glen Hodgson
Founder & CEO of Free Trade Europa

epa06775652 (FILE) – A worker is dwarfed by large steel coils at a furnace of German steel technology group Salzgitter AG in Salzgitter, Germany, 07 March 2017 (reissued 31 May 2018). Dismantling tariffs would provide a big boost to many sectors in both the EU and the US.    
While the world is focusing on COVID-19 vaccine nationalism and the negative effects of trade barriers, there is a dispute over steel and aluminium tariffs and quotas which is being overlooked. The US administration announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico on 31 May 2018. Full metal jacket
Section 232 refers to the part of the US Trade Expansion Act of 1962 which allows the president to use authority delegated by Congress to impose tariffs or quotas when it is determined that imports “threaten to impair the national security.” Far from being a bureaucratic detail, this was invoked by President Trump in 2018 when he introduced 25% tariffs on steel and 10% tariffs on aluminium imports into the US. As a result, other industries have been caught up as collateral damage in the steel and aluminium dispute, with a whole range of goods from agricultural products to spirits and luxury items affected by tariffs. By diffusing the steel and aluminium trade spat, the EU and US can be a good example to the rest of the world in difficult and uncertain times. From the US perspective, the higher price of imported steel and aluminium due to the introduction of tariffs hit national firms hard. The clock is ticking. It is often the case that the ones most likely to suffer in any conflict are the innocent, yet all sides need to work together in order to avert this. The EU and US should reach a solution that is beneficial for all. While this may not be a true reflection of how governments view the economy, it is correct that subsidies and tariffs are a never-ending source of conflict in international trade relations. While the current dispute may appear vast, complex and impenetrable, a suspension of tariffs and quotas – as we saw in the Boeing-Airbus dispute – would be the best approach. At the same time, US steel and aluminium companies have witnessed falling share prices, lower levels of investment and increased lay-offs of employees. Time for a reset
With the coronavirus pandemic maintaining its global grip and economies suffering, now is the time to strengthen the transatlantic trade relationship and reestablish it as the cornerstone of the multilateral trading system. Some automotive manufacturers reported that higher tariffs cost them over USD 1 billion. The duties increased prices of key inputs for US manufacturers, led to retaliatory measures from the EU and other trading partners, while they also created new strains and tensions with allies and foes alike. EPA-EFE/STEFAN SIMONSEN

A worker is dwarfed by large steel coils at a furnace of German steel technology group Salzgitter AG. This would be a sufficiently bitter pill in itself but the EU’s retaliatory tariffs are set to double on the 1st of June this year. Now is not the time for provocation. If it doesn’t move, subsidize it. Every job may look easy when you are not the one doing it, but when it comes to dismantling steel and aluminium tariffs and quotas it is in the interests of everyone on both sides of the Atlantic to try. If it keeps moving, regulate it. The effects of this decision have been as dramatic as they have been widespread.

The high caseload and unrelenting pressure on the health system is in stark contrast to the Mitsotakis’ government’s plans for a gradual reopening of the economy which has already partially started in many sectors but will accelerate after the Greek Orthodox Easter holiday ends on May 3, when outdoor dining will again be permitted. Unfortunately, realistic progress reports and foreign assessments do not match the current government’s narrative that victory over the pandemic is close and that the country will be safe for tourists beginning on May 14, a date many experts think is too early to open for tourism in view of the still-high infection levels. In Bosnia, the shortage of vaccines has led to street protests. The World Health Organization has established a global vaccine distribution system called COVAX, aimed at helping poorer countries obtain supplies. Existing lockdown rules will apply to all tourist arrivals though, diminishing the attractiveness of a visit before the “official” opening in May when most lockdown rules will be suspended. The EU member states are making slow but steady progress in vaccinations, as increasingly available EU-procured supplies arrive. While the Covid-19 caseload in major urban areas is close to stabilizing at near-record high levels, a visible downtrend that would support the government’s optimistic assessments has yet to be recorded. Serbia has used a combination of Chinese and Russian vaccines with very small shipments of Western vaccines. The Greek government also reports 25 doses have been administered overall per 100 people, on average. As New Europe readers will recall, Serbia has been able to administer about 44 doses per 100 population up to now and has also engaged in “vaccine diplomacy” by donating useful quantities to neighboring former Yugoslav republics and inoculating some visitors from those countries, in this way regaining some stature as a regional leader. The EU supported and funded COVAX in its early stages in parallel with its own program, as have some other major donor countries. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Southeast Europe begins to tackle COVID-19 immunization delays

By Alec Mally
Director for Global Economic Affairs at IPEDIS

Initial COVAX vaccine deliveries begin to reach Western Balkans countries

EEAS Website

Supplies flowing from all directions although still in small quantities

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In terms of Covid-19 vaccinations, the gap between Europe’s haves and have nots finally appears to be narrowing, after many months where much of the southeastern section of the continent appeared to linger in a dead zone, receiving only symbolic deliveries along with an overflow of promises from Brussels. For a fair overview, it is best to divide the region into three segments, separating the EU member states of Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece from the so-called Western Balkans, all of whom are non-EU members. The other five countries in the Western Balkans — Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Kosovo have had little success in their mass vaccination programs but are beginning to move forward with small shipments from Western suppliers or even donations from interested countries. Accordingly, Vienna announced on April 20 that it would send 651,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to six countries in the Western Balkans by August and that more was likely to follow. Neighboring Albania imposed on April 19 a strict 14-day quarantine requirement for all travelers arriving from Greece and North Macedonia, making it clear that Tirana does not accept Greek assurances at face value. In some of these countries the Astra Zeneca vaccine has attracted fewer than expected numbers of interested citizens, increasing overall reliance on supplies from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. It is extremely unfortunate that Washington’s latest advisory, which included a large number of countries, was released at almost the same time as the Greek quarantine requirement for US travelers was relaxed but in a fast-changing environment such crossed signals are not unusual. In the Western Balkans group Serbia’s outstanding performance as the regional vaccination leader places it into a separate category, since its vaccination levels far exceed that of most of the EU member states in the region and have for months. Greece had imposed strict controls on arrivals from Albania last year. From now on EU, Israeli, American, British, Serbian and a few other nationalities of travelers will be able to enter Greece simply with negative tests or other vaccination documents, without a quarantine. Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Greece.” 
For unexplained reasons, the message was not released to US citizens in Greece or to the local media until April 22. Explaining the program, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said, “With this initiative, we are showing that we are not leaving the region behind.”
Greece making less progress than anticipated
Meanwhile, on the southern edge of the region, EU member Greece is working diligently to contain the pandemic. While a respectable number for southeast Europe, this number is close to the EU average level and far below Serbia’s equivalent statistic (44 doses per hundred people) using a mix of Chinese, Western and Russian vaccines. As EU-procured supplies arrive, vaccination programs are being accelerated but as of April 22, only 785,000 (about 7.3%) of Greece’s current population have received two doses of all currently available vaccines. Confidence not yet established
Because the viral caseload is so high, several countries have called into question the Greek government’s claim of being able to guarantee a safe environment for travelers at this time.      
EU Coordination handed to Austria
Austria is serving as the coordinator for an EU vaccine sharing system covering the Western Balkans, announced earlier this year.   
While the Mitsotakis government’s tourism promotion efforts continue unabated, the government has relaxed quarantine requirements for travelers that formerly needed negative virus tests plus a quarantine period after arrival.  
Even more painful for Athens was the April 20 travel advisory (for Covid-19) issued by the US State Department which read “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Greece due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country.   Although slow to take its first steps, a few initial COVAX shipments had arrived in various Western Balkan capitals to great fanfare by end-March.

We have to move quickly to meet these challenges. “And it will help us spur the private sector to contribute more to climate solutions in developing nations and here at home as well,” he said. International Climate Finance Plan lays out specific steps for US federal agencies

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At a virtual climate summit on April 22, US President Joe Biden pledged to take steps that will lead his country on a path to a net-zero emission economy by no later than 2050. “By maintaining those investments and putting these people to work, the United States sets out on the road to cut greenhouse gases in half — in half by the end of this decade. “These steps will set America on a path of net-zero emissions economy by no later than 2050. The Climate Finance Plan calls for scaling-up international climate finance and enhancing its impact, mobilizing private finance internationally, ending international official financing for carbon-intensive fossil fuel-based energy, making capital flows consistent with low-emissions, climate-resilient pathways, and defining, measuring, and reporting US international climate finance. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Biden uses leaders’ summit on climate to outline path on cutting CO2 emissions 50% by 2050

By New Europe Online/KG

US President Joe Biden addresses a virtual leaders' summit on climate, the White House, US, April 22, 2021. “We have to move. Turning to the United States’ first-ever International Climate Finance Plan issued, Biden explained that it lays out specific steps that federal agencies will take to increase both the quality and quantity of climate financing. No nation can solve this crisis on our own, as I know you all fully understand. We must get on the path now in order to do that,” he said. But the truth is, America represents less than 15 percent of the world’s emissions. That’s where we’re headed as a nation, and that’s what we can do if we take action to build an economy that’s not only more prosperous, but healthier, fairer, and cleaner for the entire planet,” Biden said. Biden’s announcement came a day after the European Union reached a tentative deal that should make the 27-member bloc climate neutral by mid-century. All of us, all of us — and particularly those of us who represent the world’s largest economies — we have to step up.”
Biden noted that this summit is the first step on the road to and through Glasgow this November and the UN Climate Conference. The steps our countries take between now and Glasgow will set the world up for success to protect livelihoods around the world and keep global warming at a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

But if I were living in Germany, I would likely be dismissed and pilloried for stating the above. I am a Scientologist. Ron Hubbard, has been observed for years by the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. It is surely time that the entrenched political influence and the completely unconscionable actions of the State Security Services were far more intensely placed under a microscope by the international community – certainly by other European countries and the European Union in particular where pronouncements on religious freedom violations around the world are quite rightly made by a range of Freedom of Religion or Belief  Special Envoys and appointees but for various reasons refrain from speaking about discrimination issues closer to home. The latest judgement from the State Administrative Court of Appeal of Baden-Wurttenberg illustrates this most vividly. The case involved a skilled electrical technician who had been working in secure areas of German and European airports for many years, with irreproachable conduct and contributing to the security of those airports, who happened to have Scientology as his religion. The Kruger decision became final when the Federal Supreme Administrative Court on December 15, 2005, upheld it, making it clear that Scientology was a genuine religion and that based on facts, “the reprimand of the defendant, that the decision under appeal would be based on an incorrect understanding of these terms because the teachings of L. Were this an isolated incident it could, perhaps, be put down to some momentary loss of focus, but it is not. State of Hamburg, where the Hamburg State Administrative Court of Appeal found in 2004 that Scientologists could claim protection of Article 4 of the German Basic Law, which protects the right to freedom of religion or belief. This was enough for him to be labelled as “unreliable” for no other reason than his long-term religious beliefs. Even these statements have been struck down by some courts but they still continue to be practiced. This group is the national member body of the UK’s Interfaith Network which is supported by the UK government and is an umbrella grouping of interfaith activity around the UK. He was not disseminating Scientology at his work nor involved in any other questionable conduct but for reasons unknown, his membership of Scientology was made known to the State Air Traffic Security Agency who were tipped off by the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Scientologists have been forced to go to court to fight for their right to practice their religion. I am also the Director of an interfaith group in the UK which has members from many religions. One far-reaching result of this being numerous examples where various state government agencies require that people working for the government, or private companies that contract with public bodies must sign a statement that they are not a member of the Church of Scientology, nor will work or associate with members of the church. For more than 20 years, Scientology has been the target of state agencies. Government agencies have consistently attempted to label the practice of Scientology as non-religious, yet again and again, in dozens of court cases over the last 35 years, Scientology has won case after case which has affirmed the practice of Scientology is a bona fide religious belief. After all, if we as a proclaimed seat of democracy, allow such illness to perpetuate we are in a weakened moral position to make pronouncements on others. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Scientology: A conflict between German judicial integrity and prejudiced administrative agencies

By Martin Weightman
Director of the All Faiths Networks in the UK

epa05775270 An exterior view of a building of the ‘Scientology Kirche Hamburg e.V.’ a branch of the Scientology church, in Hamburg, Germany, 06 February 2017. EPA/CARSTEN KOALL

An exterior view of te Scientology Kirche Hamburg e.V.' a branch of the Scientology church, in Hamburg, Germany. The underbelly of the state encourages these practices – certainly not all sectors, but at least a significant number that maintains a wall of discrimination against members of society simply because of their religious beliefs. Perhaps one of the most notable is the decision in Krüger v. If you do not sign the statement, then you will not get the job or the company will not be able to engage in government-funded contracts. EPA-EFE///CARSTEN KOALL

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Certain segments of German politics and administrative agencies have a disreputable approach to freedom of religion that has been perpetuated for the last 30 or more years and which continues to exist as a festering sore in German society. The surgeons of the State, here the courts, and thanks to them, have kept the illness at bay – but for how long must this go on? Hats off to the German courts, but shame on the state agencies that brought this about. There are, in fact, many documented cases of this. The judgement in the first instance before the Administrative Court of Stuttgart found that he was unfairly dismissed. In the interests of transparency, I must declare a self-interest here. I also have direct experience of the extent of discrimination in Germany and so I know what I am talking about. I openly declare it! As a result, he lost his job and decided to sue the state for unfair dismissal. The organization, founded in 1954 by L. Ron Hubbard about the world as a whole as well as to the origin and aim of human life would lack elements in the meaning of transcendental or immanent relations, is unfounded.”
It cannot be a sign of a healthy democracy that this has been happening for so long. The State appealed the decision before the Administrative Court of Appeal of Baden Wurttemberg which, in a decision rendered the 4th of March 2021, consequently dismissed the appeal finding that there was no wrongdoing “neither by the plaintiff himself nor for the Scientology Organization” and that Scientology membership does not forward anti-constitutional endeavours. Surely it is a symptom of a disease that should be excised before the body is riddled with its cancer. Of course, my religion should not matter, or Christians writing about discrimination of Christians around the world or Jews opposing Jewish hate crimes would not be able to speak out either. And let not us Europeans attempt to sweep this dirty laundry under the carpet (to mix metaphors).

As an outsider, we can only suggest things that could help. Does racism have a place in what is currently happening? Kay noted that Sikh integration and moderate influences are not the same as the mass movement that Canada saw 20 to 30 years ago. “Policies, transparency and technologies help educate society,” Mathur explained. The Khalistanis, who are fundamentally a Sikh separatist group, used the growers’ dissatisfaction with the government’s decision to introduce three farm laws: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce Act, 2020: will allow farmers to sell goods outside the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee mandis; Farmers Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020: support for contract farming will enable a farmer and a commissioned buyer to establish an agreement before production begins; Essential Commodities Act, 2020: Various commodities including potato, onion, and oilseed are removed from the essential commodities list, ending forced stock-holding limits except under extraordinary circumstances. A case in point is the celebration of Talwinder Singh Parmar, who some in the community consider as being a martyr. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Western pandering fuels the Khalistani separatist movement

By Zoe Koulouris
Freelance journalist based in Canada

epa02424654 A group of American Sikhs rally near the United Nations in effort to call US President Barak Obama’s attention to 1984 Sikh Genocide in New York, New York, USA, on 01 November 2010. “We cannot go on and on with violence and the seeds that have been planted in our brains. You don’t need to kowtow to Khalistanis to get voted in Canada.”
The panelists agreed that education and communication are key if peace and harmony are to come. “It’s about those who try to get the votes for the domestic politics who pander to the Khalistani, who think they speak for all Sikhs when they do not.”
Pandering does go on in Canada and the U.K., and to a lesser extent in Germany. “But the reason is that the politicians have no idea what they’re talking about,” the former CBC News correspondent said. EPA/JUSTIN LANE

EPA-EFE//JUSTIN LANE

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Are Khalistani allies in the West complicit in encouraging a secessionist movement in India? Subtle, well, not-so-subtle racism is going on where white politicians stereotype all Sikhs as separatists. Mathur was quick to state that the Khalistanis used the protests to draw attention to their cause. Randhawa said there has been a turning point for this movement, which has leveraged social media to gain ground on an issue that is not being properly solved internally. But the local media does not really report on it. The West does not have a great deal of experience with the Khalistanis. “It’s a bit of a farce,” Milewski said. Kay mentioned how Canadian politicians, especially in British Columbia, take part in events that cater to honoring individuals known for criminal activity. So, this is how they grab the attention of the global community, and there is very clear evidence that a lot of money has been funnelled for the Khalistani network in Canada and the U.K.”
The narrative in Canada is that the Khalistani movement became extremely popular in the Sikh community in the 1980s and 90s, but it is less popular now. Milewski touched on two key elements that impact Western support for this movement. In terms of what goes on in the Punjabi region, Mathur said the political leadership hobnobs with the perpetrators, who use social media to propagate their beliefs and gain support from those who take part in criminal activity. Panel members Gurdeep Randhawa, member of Angela Merkel’s ruling party CDU and councillor in the German county of Wachsenburg; Shipra Mathur, Indian journalist and founder editor of penliteracy.com; and Terry Milewski, retired senior correspondent for CBC News and author of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute report “Khalistan: A Project of Pakistan,” examined the underlying issues of the Khalistani movement, one in which does not have a great deal of traction on the global media front. And no Canadian politician has ever declined to participate in the event honoring Parmar in Surrey, B.C. Western politicians who help the Khalistanis, by pandering to them, end up not helping them because at the first sign of trouble they run in the other direction. This is a problem that will only be solved within India, not outside of the country. Milewski, who said he has no sympathy for these politicians, said, “They [the politicians] walk a fine line because it’s based on an illusion that they have to appeal to the militants or the Khalistanis. Mathur agreed, saying, “Absolutely, Khalistanis have lost their ground.”
Cross-border militant activity, however, is quite solid. According to Mathur, “Dialog will only solve the problem. President Obama is traveling to India next month and the Sikh community wants the United States and the Untied Nations to pursue justice for the nearly 30,000 killed in November of 1984 in India. Mathur pointed out that the farmers’ protests in India last November were the catalyst behind this latest resurgence of the Khalistani movement. Kay noted the media does not pick up on it, contrary to what it would have done had Osama Bin Laden’s face been plastered on posters everywhere. Randhawa said, “Sikhs believe we have one race, we are all brothers and sisters.”
But Milewski, when asked about the Canadian landscape, said, “The Khalistani Sikhs have managed to convince politicians that they are the authentic voice of the Sikhs. Mathur explained the Khalistanis have found a great deal of support from Pakistan, which has enabled the movement to operate an office from there. For instance, if the government raises questions, the politicians are quick to say they support a united India. So, if you’re an anti-separatist, you’re a racist!”
Kay added that white politicians and journalists think the more militant you are, the angrier you are, then the more culturally and politically authentic you are. Although Parmar was acquitted of all charges over the June 23, 1985, bombing of Air India flight 182 en route to New Delhi from Montreal, a commission investing the attack concluded that Parmar “is believed” to be the mastermind behind the deadly event. The virtual think tank Global Stratview tackled this question with a roundtable discussion on March 27, moderated by Jonathan Kay, the senior editor at Quillette Magazine. The panelists also touched on Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the Canadian left-wing NDP, who, in past, has been evasive about responding to questions about the Air India bombing. The Khalistani movement was gone, and it has since resurfaced.” She went on to say Indians work in silos and must care about the issues and to work together if things are to be resolved. “The Indian security pointed out that it was a designed strategy on a terror module,” she said, adding, “The farmers’ protests became the Khalistanis’ easy target with a huge population of mainly Punjabi. Sikhs will be loyal to their country, but promises must be kept.”
Contrary to what the movement hopes to achieve globally, the Khalistanis do not have a strong presence in Punjab, where 75 per cent of the world’s Sikhs live.

“We have to move. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>At leaders’ summit on climate, Biden outlines path to cut CO2 emissions 50% by 2030

By New Europe Online/KG

US President Joe Biden addresses a virtual leaders' summit on climate, the White House, US, April 22, 2021. The steps our countries take between now and Glasgow will set the world up for success to protect livelihoods around the world and keep global warming at a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius. All of us, all of us — and particularly those of us who represent the world’s largest economies — we have to step up,” the US President said. International Climate Finance Plan lays out specific steps for US federal agencies

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At a virtual climate summit on April 22, US President Joe Biden pledged to take steps that will lead America on a path of net-zero emissions economy by no later than 2050. “You know, these steps will set America on a path of net-zero emissions economy by no later than 2050. We must get on the path now in order to do that,” he said.   We have to move quickly to meet these challenges. Biden noted that this summit is the first step on the road to and through Glasgow this November and the UN Climate Conference. But the truth is, America represents less than 15 percent of the world’s emissions. No nation can solve this crisis on our own, as I know you all fully understand. That’s where we’re headed as a nation, and that’s what we can do if we take action to build an economy that’s not only more prosperous, but healthier, fairer, and cleaner for the entire planet,” Biden said. The Climate Finance Plan calls for scaling-up international climate finance and enhancing its impact, mobilizing private finance internationally, ending international official financing for carbon-intensive fossil fuel-based energy, making capital flows consistent with low-emissions, climate-resilient pathways, and defining, measuring, and reporting US international climate finance. Turning to America’s first-ever International Climate Finance Plan issued on April 22, Biden explained that it lays out specific steps that federal agencies of the US will take to increase both the quality and quantity of climate financing. “And it will help us spur the private sector to contribute more to climate solutions in developing nations and here at home as well,” he said. “By maintaining those investments and putting these people to work, the United States sets out on the road to cut greenhouse gases in half — in half by the end of this decade.

Our goal is to impose costs for actions we consider unacceptable while seeking stability, predictability, turning down the temperature.  
In 2017, Gazprom exported 194.4 bcm of gas (over 90 %) to European countries…with the highest volume being delivered to Germany (52.44 bcm), Turkey (29.03 bcm) and the UK (16.26 bcm). As for so many countries in the world, China has suddenly become the biggest trading partner with 7.2 per cent of Ukraine’s exports and 15.1 per cent of its imports. The Montreux Convention of 1936 states that ships that are not littoral states are barred passage of all aircraft carriers in the Black Sea for more than 21 days. China has replaced Russia as Ukraine’s first export partner. Or will other member countries block its access like Greece blocked North Macedonia’s quest for membership? If these NATO members are attacked and according to Article 5, the United States would be under obligation to defend a NATO ally. The country’s merchandise exports increased by 5.8 per cent to $50.1 billion, while imports rose by 6.3 per cent to $60.8 billion. Since March 26 alone, we’ve lost 8 soldiers.” 
OSCE Germany later released a statement on April 10 saying: “Russia has not answered the questions raised by Ukraine re: the considerable Russian military activity near the Russia-Ukraine border and in occupied Crimea. But Russia is turning eastward with its new pipeline “The Power of Siberia as part of a Chinese-Russian gas deal. intelligence agencies  “sees the international stage as largely being shaped by a rivalry between China and the United States, along with its allies. Washington is supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, but is it ready to offer the country a road to join the Western alliance via a membership action plan? A senior Biden administration official said that “We are not looking to reset our relations with Russia nor to escalate. Credit: Alexandros Michailidis / New Europe
18th EU-Ukraine summit in Brussels, Belgium on Nov.  
Is Vladimir Putin testing President Biden’s resolve as he approaches his first 100 days in office? More than one billion people chose to join the alliance on a voluntary basis. No one country can effectively deal with the challenges we are facing today. NATO is a transatlantic alliance that is 30-countries strong and represents 50% of the world’s GDP and 50% of military might. Russia is Europe’s main energy supplier
Moscow has become the indispensable energy supplier to European markets and Turkey with its pipelines, writes Mert Bilgin : NordStream (capacity 55 bcm/y), Yamal-Europe through Belarus (33 bcm/y), BlueStream (16 bcm/y), Urengoy-Uzhgorod through Ukraine (142 bcm/y). (Ukraine: The beginning of a new Cold War in Europe?), where the authoritarian East squared off against the democratic West. According to Kiev, there are 28,000 separatist combatants and more than 2,000 Russian advisors and instructors on the territory they control. They are supporters and defenders of freedom, democracy, a rules-based international order, and peace. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Ukraine is a test for the West and ‘Westlessness’

By Ellen Wasylina
European affairs executive in sustainability leadership in emerging markets and founding partner at the Trocadéro Forum, a center for sustainable diplomacy in Paris. Would China step in to assist Russia? Turkstream (63 bcm/y) and Yamal Europe-2 (15 bcm/y) will decrease gas transit through Ukraine. It cannot be taken for granted. It seems unlikely that the construction of Nord Stream-2 could be halted and that the EU would sanction Russia and companies working on this pipeline because “this project is crucial for Germany since the low cost of Russian gas increases the efficiency of German industry…. If Ukraine joins NATO, would Turkey, Romania or Bulgaria go to war to defend her against Russia? Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during the announced final withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and a reiteration of Washington’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. When trying to understand the current East-West standoff, several important factors need to be considered:
NATO defends Europe
Now is the time to show strength just as Secretary of State Antony Blinken did when speaking with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg when he spoke at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels on March 23 and again on April 14, when both men held a joint press conference with U.S. Since challenges like transnational organized crime or global epidemics like COVID-19 can only be addressed in cooperation, a retreat to narrowly defined national interests puts all of our future at risk. He added: “If they’re inclined to turn the temperature up, we’re ready for that.”
  The implementation of Nord Stream-2 will enable Germany to become the largest European gas hub and will provide an opportunity to control the price situation on the fuel market.” 
Is joining NATO the only and best solution to ending the conflict/crisis in the Donbass? Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted on April 8 that since the ceasefire on July 27, 2020, “28 warriors have been killed by shelling in the (Ukraine’s eastern) Donbass (region), 24 of them this year. Released on April 8, the Global Trends Report, published by the U.S. The question remains whether this is yet another frozen post-Soviet conflict on Europe’s borders, one that results in dismembered and unrecognized territories that are occupied by Russia, just as we’ve already seen in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as in the Moldovan region of Transnitria? We support Ukraine’s request, under para 16 #ViennaDocument, and call on Russia to fulfil its obligations and provide clarity and transparency.” 
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko tweeted on April 13 that the “escalation situation in the east is a consequence of the current Ukrainian authorities’ desire for the so-called ‘pacification of the aggressor’. At the time I wrote an editorial in the autumn 2014 edition of the Geostrategic Maritime Review, Crimea was occupied by Russian troops and military exercises involving 150,000 men on the Ukrainian border (40,000 on March 30, 2014), was seen as a direct response to the new Western-friendly government in Kiev after its signing of an Association Agreement with the EU on March 21, 2014, a move that came shortly after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych fled Ukraine following the EuroMaidan Revolution from earlier that year. 24, 2016

Alexandros Michailidis

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The G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, The United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the High Representative of the EU, have stated that they “are united in our condemnation of Russia’s continued actions to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.”
Before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union two years later, the Black Sea was an almost entirely Soviet-controlled body of water that was shared only with Turkey, which has since become the center of an East versus West divide. No single state is poised to become the dominant global force, the authors write. Overall, the European Union has grown in importance as a trading partner with 41.5 per cent of Ukraine’s total merchandise exports and 41.1 percent of its imports. Ukraine is no longer economically dependent on Russia
Anders Aslund points out that Ukraine is no longer economically dependent on Russia. This is a classic example where there are no military solutions, but rather, political solutions to resolve and end this conflict. Why have they failed to resolve this more than half decade-old low-intensity conflict on the Ukrainian-Russian border? I repeat: we should not seek peace in the eyes of Putin.”
From a conflict resolution point of view, many instruments have been put into place to de-escalate the crisis, such as the Normandy Format concluded on December 9, 2019, in Paris, involving France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, who decided on : 1) immediate measures to stabilize the situation in the conflict area; 2) measures to implement the political provisions of the Minsk agreements; and 3) Follow up. And competing powers will jockey for position, leading to “a more conflict-prone and volatile geopolitical environment.”
It seems that we are going back to the status quo ante from the Cold War, as I entitled in my 2014 book, Ukraine: Prémices de guerre froide en Europe?  
Seven years later, Ukraine is now accusing the Kremlin of massing 80,000 soldiers on its eastern border and in Crimea. Or are we witnessing a so-called “Westlessness”, which was the theme of the 2020 Munich Security Conference, when the conference’s German chairman, Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, argued that we are in “an unacceptable state of global insecurity”?

UZBEKISTAN ENERGY MINISTRY

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Dutch company Stone City Energy and Uzbekistan’s Energy Ministry signed in Tashkent on April 19 a Power Purchase Agreement and an Investment Agreement for the construction of a new thermal power plant (TPP) in the Surkhandarya Region, the ministry said. The TPP will employ the latest technologies, including modern HL class steam and gas units manufactured by Siemens Energy, which will save 1.1 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually. We look forward to working closely with Stone City in the years to come,” he added. The total value of the 1,560MW TPP construction project is $1.2 billion, with the project expected to launch at the end of 2024, Uzbekistan’s Energy Ministry said on April 20. Construction of the TPP will create 2,000 jobs with 150 specialist jobs to be created post-commissioning. The company, formed in May 2019 to serve as a base for the consortium that will finance, project, construct and operate combined cycle gas turbine power plants and distribution in Uzbekistan. “Due to the country’s economic growth, and the growing needs of the population, we need to fulfil future energy demand. “The agreements signed with Stone City Energy are yet another example of Uzbekistan working with international partners for the benefit of the country,” Uzbekistan’s Energy Minister Alisher Sultanov said. Stone City Energy, is a Dutch special purpose company, headquartered in Rotterdam, which operates in the fields of electricity generation and distribution. Stone City will design, finance, build, commission, operate and manage this new TPP for 25 years. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Dutch Stone City Energy to build 1,560 MW thermal power plant in Uzbekistan

By New Europe Online/KG

Uzbekistan’s Energy Minister Alisher Sultanov said that due to the country’s economic growth, and the growing needs of the population, the Central Asian country needs to fulfil future energy demand.

“We have always had more energy efficient buildings than the national standards and we’ve always utilised environment technology in our building from heat exchangers to materials with less energy leakage. Today it is one of Stockholm’s stand-out residential areas and one of the world’s most successful urban renewal districts. “The pandemic has changed the perspective on what types of buildings are necessary,” Mayor Stjernfeldt Jammeh admitted. In a year’s time – covid allowing – Malmö will offer ICLEI members a chance to see how they made sustainability work for the good of everyone, including big business. And if you want to be a developer in these markets you will need to understand your footprint.”
Malmö and White Peak’s happy marriage of corporate ambition and environmental responsibility is a common theme that runs through much of modern Sweden. He said: “Globally, it’s becoming clear that if everyone wants to meet their carbon targets, there is going to have to be a drastic change in property development and urbanization, making these spaces more energy efficient. In the early 90s, the district had a reputation for being a run-down, polluted and unsafe industrial and residential area. As a result, Malmö has won several awards, receiving national and worldwide recognition for its record of sustainable development. That’s how we turn sustainability into reality and inspire others to follow. With roughly 15,000 apartments in production on an annual basis, Olsson says he has learned over the years not to rely on intuition, but on data. So, we take all of this data and put it into systems and try to analyse markets and product design.”
Having analysed the data, Olsson said he was still surprised by the sudden uptick in White Peak’s eco-friendly properties post-covid. White Peak – the largest European residential developer in China – is the force behind the scheme. “As we in Malmö accelerate the climate work further, the World Congress is an excellent opportunity to show what the city and business, civil society and academia do locally, while we at the same time get the opportunity to learn and refine new ideas to move forward.” We are confident that we can make a difference as a city, in a national and international context. He said: “Before Covid, people thought that better energy efficiency was a great idea, but they weren’t so keen on paying for it. In fact, it is so successful, a replica Hammarby is being constructed in Yantai, in China’s Shandong province. Malmö Mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh. “But it makes sense,” he said. For CEO Jesper Jos Olsson, China’s growing realisation of what green building should actually look like, coupled with a hygiene hangover from the coronavirus, is what is now driving the surge in demand for sustainable housing throughout China. Yantai takes this commitment to the next level, with more insulation, more European technology, solar technology and underground garbage systems to deal with bacterial issues.”
The Hammarby Eco City Yantai will eventually be home to 20,000 Chinese living in a Swedish-style community, and will be rolled out to more urban developments in the coming years. Malmö Mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh said: “Malmö is a young and global city, located in the biggest labour market region of the north. People are now taking more care not only about the air they breathe, but also the water they drink, and what used to be a middle-selling project has ended up being our best-selling project in this city.”
The award-winner developer, ranked Number One in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark for the past five years, has been building residential developments in China for fifteen years and is currently active in ten cities across three provinces in the north east. Having taken the top spot for the second year running in Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index for Green Living, Sweden is now playing host to the ICLEI World Congress, putting the city of Malmö under the eco-spotlight for the coming year. One of Sweden’s greatest eco-success stories is the rehabilitation of Hammarby Sjöstad in the inner city of Stockholm. Essentially a fund manager, the company is the epitome of Swedish corporate commitment to climate change solutions. Based on climate science and global trends, the authors believe the mark of true leadership is an ability to find solutions that create value for companies and society “by minimizing corporate negative impacts and maximizing its positive social, environmental and economic impact while creating long-term value for all stakeholders.”
During the past two decades, Malmö has acted as Sweden’s eco guinea pig; a testing site for sustainable solutions such as holistic development, climate adaptation, green regeneration and smart energy solutions. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>The business of sustainability: A Swedish success story

By Andrea Busfield
A Cyprus-based UK journalist who has worked extensively in the national and international press based primarily in the UK, Qatar and Afghanistan. And Olsson also fully expects other developers to follow where Sweden leads. After Covid there was a dramatic shift in customer behaviour. Mayor Stjernfeldt Jammeh said: “With courage, creativity and curiosity, the city tests the solutions of tomorrow. In their book ‘Sustainability Leadership: A Swedish Approach to Transforming your Company, your Industry and the World’, Henrik Henriksson, CEO of Scania, and Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, founder of the AI Sustainability Center, argue that corporate sustainability is no longer a philanthropic nod to the green lobby, but rather a necessary and mutually beneficial relationship between corporations, society and the health of the planet. He said: “We have a strictly data driven approach and China has a vast amount of data. Facebook

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From popstars to flat-pack pioneers, the Swedes are no strangers to global domination, but today the flag they fly is not so much blue and gold, but green. We have made a journey from an industrial city to a modern, climate-smart university city, during a short period of time, and I believe that the challenges that we face are relatable to many cities around the world.”
In 2015, Malmö was the first city in Sweden to fully embrace the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, with politicians confident they could run the city on 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. According Mayor Stjernfeldt Jammeh the secret to Malmö’s success, and Sweden’s creeping power in the sustainability market, has been a healthy collaboration between the corporate world and the climate lobby, and the idea that sustainability and profitability can walk hand-in-hand is a concept that has grown in popularity following the pandemic. White Peak CEO Jesper Jos Olsson. The ICLEI is a global network of more than 1,750 governments committed to sustainable development.

epa07984016 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) observers watch the forces disengagement near the Bohdanivka village, Ukraine, 09 November 2019. The recent diplomatic pressure on Ukraine by the United States to clearly decide on its future in the Western camp has worked successfully. It may well be the discrediting of the notion of a ‘Greater Russia’, the ultimate demise of the Soviet Union and its legal successor state – the Russian Federation – in the post-World War II political order and a reduction of its place and influence in the world. We are not only seeing the last chapters of the Cold War being played out, but also a correction of sorts regarding the unfortunate decisions made in Yalta, where Roosevelt and Churchill acquiesced and allowed Stalin and the Communist leadership of the Soviet Union to hold captive millions in Eastern Europe for decades. The United States’ resolve has confronted Putin. Both Biden and Ukraine are steadfast in their refusal to accept Ukraine as a captive nation. scenario, then he got his wish. What right does Russia have to dictate how Ukraine’s elected parliament should vote and on what? What right does Russia have to even suggest how to adjudicate the traitors that have fought against the sovereignty of the Ukrainian nation? style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Confrontation in Ukraine

By Yuri Polakiwsky
Canadian-born political commentator specializing in foreign policy. Based in Kyiv, he is a noted commentator and lecturer on political affairs. The removal of Russia from the international Swift banking system, more widespread sanctioning of those in Putin’s circle who rely on his favor? However, it may be more than that because the risk Putin is now taking with his build-up could forever jeopardize his macro strategic goals and actually limit his future political moves, having him become the cause of his own “containment”, an assumptive principle of what he has been trying to avoid. Head of the Joint Forces Operation HQ press center Andriy Ageyev has said the practical phase of the disengagement of troops and weapons of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the pro-Russian militants forces kicked off near the villages of Bohdanivka – Petrivske in Donbas on 09 November 2019. Is the expansion of the war in Ukraine, and further military aggression by Russia, inevitable? For Putin, the price may even be greater than he can imagine at this point because it will not be strictly understood in economic terms. The restriction of travel of Russian citizens to Western destinations? If Putin’s intention was to secure France and Germany to his side or to secure their sympathy in response to greater U.S. What right does Russia have to suggest how elections are to be conducted within Ukraine’s own borders? These “demands” have become laughable in their audacity, revealing an ignorance and obstinacy of the changed political and psychological reality that has taken place in Ukraine since it was invaded by the Russian Federation. Biden’s presidency suggests he is prepared to make bold decisions. Now, whether this was an intended tactical move by Russia to undermine Ukraine’s “trust” in its Western partners or to gain an upper hand over the United States, which has become more vociferous in its support of Ukraine’s independence since Joe Biden’s election, one clear result has been the discrediting of the mechanism of the Minsk Agreements and the framework articulated in the Steinmeier formula as a solution to Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine. EPA-EFE/VADIM KOT

An observer from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) inspects the contact line near the village of Bogdanovka in eastern Ukraine. Whether it is either accepted or understood in the West, the military moves in Ukraine are about the preservation and even the extension of an authoritarian Russian Empire on its borders. EPA-EFE//VADIM KOT

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The recent unprovoked amassing of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border has overtaken a significant event that took place a few weeks earlier when Russia met behind the back of Ukraine to discuss the situation in Ukraine’s Donbass region with France and Germany. Nonetheless, from another perspective, if Putin wanted the U.S. Soon after the secret meeting was revealed, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s made a public statement saying the only solution for Ukraine’s long term security is cooperating with NATO. It is a view that was unfortunately institutionalized by post-World War II political compromises with the Soviet Union. If read honestly, Ukraine is assumed to be some borderland, its lands allowed to be carved up and its internationally recognized borders submissive to the dictates of an imperial and anti-democratic neighbor. to get more involved and create a Russia against the U.S. To those interested in the question of what is going on in Ukraine, a longer view of history best explains the framework of understanding. It not only revealed the continuing animus of Russia towards Ukraine, but caused alarm in Kyiv because it illustrated to Ukraine that two of its Western partners, despite public confirmation of their support for Ukrainian sovereignty, they could not resist the temptation of the practice of cynical geopolitical practice. Putin still believes and is guided by the long-ago established strictures of a Stalinist geopolitical worldview, that of national buffers that would offer space between itself and its perceived enemies. Cynically meeting behind Ukraine’s back, and then seeing the greatest amassing of Russian troops since the last world war has drastically changed any further diplomatic scenarios originating in Europe. For example, why would Ukraine accept joint patrols on its sovereign lands? His rhetoric and actions regarding Ukraine is an unequivocal reassertion of American and Western democratic values and an act of bold resolve at strengthening Western values in the present world order. Further economic sanctioning? This notion must be discredited in Putin’s mind. But Putin’s probable miscalculation will come at a price which he will soon find out if he continues his present tact. For all intents and purposes, this process must be declared dead because they do not fundamentally respect Ukraine’s sovereignty nor its right to act independently. What will be that price? His work regularly appears in the Kyiv Post, The Atlantic Council, New Europe and in Ukraine's Novoya Vremya and Liga.net. This was an act of disrespectful condescension by all parties. In relation to Ukraine’s sovereignty, the principle of a “sphere of influence” must be abandoned within the Western mindset. Whether publically stated or not, Ukraine can no longer assume that France or Germany either speaks for or is prepared to act justly for its interests. Ukrainian sovereignty be damned. EPA-EFE//SERGEY DOLZHENKO
The unprovoked build-up at Ukraine’s border could be understood as a test of resolve initiated by Putin for President Biden. Is he willing to push all his chips into the middle of the table to fulfill his nostalgic ambition to restore Russia’s prowess in the world order? Ukraine is the stage upon which these competitive views of the world are being played out. Ukraine is on a national quest towards freedom, to establish a democratic society based on the rule of law and aspiring to join a free market economic order. To Ukraine’s relief, the United States is now directly part of the situation as they are prepared to conjoin Ukraine’s sovereignty with the backing of NATO and military action. This is a clear signal that the United States is no longer going to act demurely and that it is willing to stand up and confront Vladimir Putin’s aggression. Almost seven years have passed and these frameworks have not come even close to proffering a solution. Of course not. In the least, the door has been further opened for the United States to become more directly and openly involved in playing a more pivotal role in any further talks about the future of Ukraine. At the moment, this seems to be a further tactical failure in that it elicited a swift and strong response from the Biden administration in terms of rhetoric and the promise of increased military activity in the region. participation in the region, it is evident that he failed. This ‘restoration’ is Putin’s aim or even end game.

Abandoning the official Greek language regime, according to which the sole item on the agenda should be the delimitation of the maritime borders, the Greek minister – and his Turkish colleague – referred to the entire spectrum of contentious Greek-Turkish issues. Dendias said in Ankara: “If Turkey wants to become a member of the European Union, which I hope it does, it will also accept UNCLOS, the Convention on the Law of the Seas”. In the end of the day, no durable conciliation between Greeks and Turks is conceivable without a solution of the “mother” of all Greek-Turkish conflicts. These range from the various facets of the Aegean imbroglio, the more recent conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean, the treatment of the respective minorities and, last but not least, the Cyprus problem, arguably the most contentious of all. Turkey is one of the few countries not to have ratified the convention thereby blocking this avenue of conflict resolution. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>The “Europeanization” of Greek-Turkish relations: Why the Greeks favor Ankara’s EU membership

By Ronald Meinardus
Political commentator and analyst, he heads the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom’s office in Istanbul. Most accounts on the tumultuous Greek-Turkish foreign ministers’ press conference missed an important statement by Dendias: “Greece supports Turkey’s accession process”, the minister said. epa08234645 Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias arrives a meeting with his Danish counterpart in Copenhagen, Denmark, 21 February 2020. It is unclear whether the present – or a future – government in Ankara is willing to join an international agreement which may be unfavorable for Turkey’s maritime aspirations in exchange for a hypothetical offer of membership in the EU. “Expectations are fairly low, the two sides are quite apart, more than ever”, says Kostas Ifantis, a Professor of International Relations at Panteion University in Athens. It has no place at the negotiating table”, says Tahsin Ertugruloglu, the North’s top diplomat. The convention is highly relevant in the Greek-Turkish context as it prescribes a legally binding procedure to settle maritime border disputes. EPA-EFE//IDA MARIE ODGAARD

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Harmonious relations with Greece has become an objective of Turkish diplomacy. The European Union’s policy of conditionality linking progress in EU-Turkey relations to Ankara’s behavior, vis-à-vis its neighbor to the West, is the reason for this desire for harmony. Considering Ankara’s diplomatic isolation in Europe and the growing choir of opponents of Turkey’s membership, this Hellenic commitment is remarkable. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side want the EU out: “It is a union against us. Professor Mustafa Aydin of Kadir Has University in Istanbul agrees: “The best-case scenario is if the (UN) Secretary-General announces that there is sufficient ground to continue with talks between the two communities.” 
Among the many contentious issues surrounding the talks is the question where the European Union fits in. “We will no longer waste time on the federal solution”, said Cavusoglu, reiterating Ankara’s position that a “two-state solution” is the only realistic option. EPA-EFE/Ida Marie Odgaard DENMARK OUT

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. In an unusually undiplomatic manner Mevlut Cavusoglu and Nikos Dendias engaged in what has been termed a verbal boxing match that offered an amazed group of viewers a rare, comprehensive and official overview of the sour state of relations between the two old adversaries. “We are convinced that, as neighbors, both sides stand to gain a great deal from the participation in the European Union of a Turkey that is fully integrated into the European family”. It is led by the consideration that a candidate member must accept and adopt the acquis communitaire, the EU’s accumulated legislation and legal acts. After years of standstill on the diplomatic front, next week’s informal Cyprus talks in Geneva mark yet another effort at reaching a solution for the divided island. It’s the first meeting since 2017 when hopes for a breakthrough were high following the election of Mustafa Akinci, an outspoken advocate of reunification, to the presidency on the Turkish Cypriot side. If showing off tranquillity with the Greeks was the objective, the recent foreign ministers’ meeting in Ankara was a failure for Turkish foreign policy. It makes one wonder why Turkey does not accept the EU’s presence when it wants to follow a European course,” says government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos. Meanwhile, the Greek Cypriot side enjoys the benefits of sharing in official EU business and is understandably in favor of a pro-active European role: “We would like the EU representative to be present. Today, this optimism is nowhere to be seen. Europe currently has no prominent role in the Cypriot negotiations. Still, it goes without saying that eventually, the EU will have to play a pivotal role as any settlement would need to include provisions on the benefits (and obligations) of membership would be made available for the Turkish Cypriot community. For the Greeks, both in Athens and Nicosia, the scenario of a formalization of the division is anathema: “The only solution can be the formation of a bizonal, bicommunal federation” Dendias said while voicing a principal shared by more or less the entire international community. Importantly, and this explains Greece’s preference for Turkey joining, the acquis includes international treaties. Greek support for Ankara’s EU accession is by no means altruistic. EPA-EFE/.GREEK NATIONAL DEFENSE MINISTRY
At this point, what may be termed the “Europeanization” of Greek-Turkish issues – a strategy pursued by the Athens government – comes in. Probably, the more important question is whether or not the EU is ready to open the door for the Turks if Ankara obliges to ratify the maritime convention, and by so doing paving the way for an amicable settlement with the Greeks. While the details of the workings of a reunified Cypriot republic remain sketchy and highly controversial, Washington, Moscow and Brussels are in rare agreement that the unity of the island state should be preserved under all circumstances. Breaking with an unwritten tradition of bilateral diplomacy, the ministers shared insights on the status of their discord in astonishing transparency and detail. A view of joint Greek-US aeronautical exercises south of Crete. Considering the political mood in Europe, this scenario for peace seems highly unlikely.

It is our binding pledge to our children and grandchildren,” she added. By enabling investors to re-orient investments towards more sustainable technologies and businesses, thes measures will be instrumental in making Europe climate neutral by 2050. When world leaders gather on Earth Day, the EU will come to the table with this positive news, which we hope will inspire our international partners. The Climate Law will shape the EU’s green recovery and ensure a socially just green transition. “We have reached an ambitious agreement to write our climate neutrality target into binding legislation, as a guide to our policies for the next 30 years. “I am delighted that we have reached an agreement on this core element of the European Green Deal,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. EUROPEAN UNION, 2021/EC – AUDIOVISUAL SERVICE/ETIENNE ANSOTTE

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The European Commission hailed on April 21 the provisional agreement between the co-legislators on the European Climate Law which enshrines the EU’s commitment to reaching climate neutrality by 2050 and the intermediate target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. In addition to the 2050 climate neutrality target, the deal reached on April 21 strengthens the European framework for climate action by introducing an ambitious 2030 climate target of at least 55% reduction of net emissions as compared to 1990, with clarity on the contribution of emission reductions and removals. Moreover, the agreement strengthens the European framework for climate action by introducing a process for setting a 2040 climate target, taking into account an indicative greenhouse gas budget for 2030-2050 to be published by the Commission, a commitment to negative emissions after 2050, the establishment of European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change, that will provide independent scientific advice, stronger provisions on adaptation to climate change, strong coherence across Union policies with the climate neutrality objective and a commitment to engage with sectors to prepare sector-specific roadmaps charting the path to climate neutrality in different areas of the economy, the Commission said. The EU Taxonomy Climate Delegated Act aims to support sustainable investment by making it clearer which economic activities most contribute to meeting the EU’s environmental objectives. “Our political commitment to becoming the first climate neutral continent by 2050 is now also a legal commitment.   Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans also called the agreement a landmark moment for the EU. The agreement also recognizes the need to enhance the EU’s carbon sink through a more ambitious land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) regulation, for which the Commission will make proposals in June 2021. The Climate Law sets the EU on a green path for a generation. Meanwhile, the European Commission on April 21 adopted an ambitious and comprehensive package of measures to help improve the flow of money towards sustainable activities across the EU. They will make the EU a global leader in setting standards for sustainable finance, the Commission said. This is a good day for our people and our planet,” Timmermans said. Today’s agreement also reinforces our global position as a leader in tackling the climate crisis. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>EU reaches deal on European Climate Law

By New Europe Online/KG

Ursula von der Leyen

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans and Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner Nicolas Schmit during a College meeting in Brussels, Belgium, April 21, 2021.