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Archive for EU

Newsline: The EU’s Embassy In Russia Was Hacked But The EU Kept It A Secret

The European Union’s embassy in Moscow was hacked and had information stolen from its network, according to a leaked internal document seen by BuzzFeed News. An ongoing “sophisticated cyber espionage event” was discovered in April, just weeks before the European Parliament elections — but the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s foreign and security policy agency, did not disclose the incident publicly. (https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/albertonardelli/eu-embassy-moscow-hack-russia) Russian entities are believed to be behind the hack, a source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told BuzzFeed News. The EEAS confirmed an incident had taken place and, asked whether the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini knew about the incident, said that EEAS hierarchy had been informed. “We have observed potential signs of compromised systems connected to our unclassified network in our Moscow Delegation. Measures have been taken and the investigation is in progress — at this stage we cannot comment further,” a spokesperson said. According to the leaked document, the initial attack took place in February 2017, but it was only detected in April this year. An analysis of the hack found activity affecting at least two computers and concluded that information had been stolen.

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Newsline: Iran dissidents call for Tehran’s embassies in Europe to be shut down

A top Iran resistance group is calling on European nations to shut down Tehran’s embassies in response to the regime’s alleged use of embassies to plot terror attacks against its political opponents across the continent — as the Trump administration ramps up sanctions against the Islamic republic led by President Hassan Rouhani. “What we are calling for is closing the Iranian regime’s embassies,” National Council of Resistance of Iran Deputy Director Alireza Jafarzadeh told reporters at a news conference in Washington, D.C. this week. “These diplomatic relations have allowed the regime to plot terrorist attacks and assassinations in the West.” (https://www.foxnews.com/politics/iran-dissidents-calls-for-tehrans-embassies-in-europe-to-be-shut-down-amid-terror-threat) The news conference was held to discuss the release of the group’s new book “Iran’s Emissaries of Terror,” which seeks to highlight Tehran’s use of embassies in plotting terror attacks against political opponents in the U.S. and Europe. Iranian-backed plots have surged in recent years, particularly in 2018, when the NCRI logged 10 instances of terror plots or terror-related arrests against Iranian officials. The most significant was the foiled plot to bomb an annual gathering of Iranian dissident groups (under the umbrella of the NCRI) in Paris last year — an event that was attended by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. An Iranian diplomat based in Vienna was one of four arrested for the plot.

Newsline: United States citizens will need a visa to visit Europe starting in 2021

US citizens traveling to Europe without a visa will be a thing of the past come 2021. The European Union announced that American travelers will need a new type of visa — a European Travel Information and Authorization System or ETIAS — to visit the European Schengen Area. The Schengen Area is a zone of 26 European countries that do not have internal borders and allow people to move between them freely, including countries like Spain, France, Greece, Germany, Italy and Poland. Currently, US citizens can travel to Europe for up to 90 days without a visa. To apply for the ETIAS, US citizens will need a valid passport, an email account and a credit or debit card, the EU said. Minors, the website said, will still only need their normal passports to travel after the visas go into effect. (https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/us-citizens-need-visas-to-visit-europe-in-2021/index.html) The Union said that the ETIAS visa is valid for three years and allows Americans to enter the Schengen Area as many times as necessary. On the ETIAS website, the European Union said it “has recently decided to improve their security level to avoid any further problems with illegal migration and terrorism.”

Newsline: U.S. Offers EU Olive Branch Restoring Embassy’s Status

Frosty relations between the U.S. and the European Union warmed on Mar. 4 when Washington reversed its decision to downgrade the bloc’s embassy, a move late last year that had strained already tense trans-Atlantic ties. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-offers-eu-olive-branch-restoring-embassys-status-11551705872) The downgrade, which designated the EU as an international organization from its previous rank as a bilateral mission equivalent to a nation state, was, EU officials say, never formally announced by Washington.

Newsline: EU in talks with US over embassy ‘downgrade’

The European Union said it is in talks with US officials after President Donald Trump’s administration reportedly “downgraded” the bloc’s embassy in Washington, in the latest blow to transatlantic relations. The US State Department lowered the EU mission’s diplomatic status from member state to international organisation late last year, according to a report by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. The move apparently only came to light when the EU ambassador in Washington did not receive an invitation to the funeral of former US president George H W Bush in December, DW reported. “We understand that there was a recent change in the way the diplomatic precedence list is implemented by the United States’ Protocol,” Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for the European Commission’s diplomatic service, told AFP in an email. “We are discussing with the relevant services in the administration possible implications for the EU Delegation in Washington.” Kocijancic confirmed the EU was not notified of the change and said the bloc expected “the diplomatic practice established some years ago to be observed”. The news comes at a sensitive moment for EU-US relations, with the bloc’s top trade negotiator Cecilia Malmstrom on her way to Washington to try to breathe life into efforts to strike a trade deal and calm raging commercial tensions.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/416359-eu-in-talks-with-us-over-embassy-downgrade

Newsline: DR Congo orders EU ambassador to leave over sanctions ahead of polls

Just three days before the much-anticipated elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the government has ordered the European Union ambassador to leave the country within 48 hours due to the body’s protracted sanctions against the governing party’s presidential candidate. The decision was announced by the Foreign Ministry after a meeting with foreign ambassadors in Kinshasa and comes two years after sanctions were first imposed, the Reuters news agency reports. The EU, last year, sanctioned the governing party’s candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, for frustrating the electoral process in Congo and for a clampdown against protestors who were angry over the election delay. The sanctions consist of a ban to enter the EU and an asset freeze of 14 people, including Shadary, who is also a former interior minister, according to EU Observer. Shadary was introduced as the candidate to replace current president Joseph Kabila, whose term ended in 2016, but had stayed on as elections were continuously postponed over the past two years.

https://face2faceafrica.com/article/dr-congo-orders-eu-ambassador-to-leave-over-sanctions-ahead-of-polls

Newsline: EU recalls Tanzania ambassador

The European Union has recalled its ambassador to Tanzania, citing “the deterioration of the human rights and rule of law situation” in the East African country where one regional official last week called for the outing and arrests of homosexuals. A statement emailed to The Associated Press said the EU will be conducting a broad review of its relations with Tanzania. The statement does not cite specific issues, but there are fears of an impending crackdown against homosexuals after Dar es Salaam Commissioner Paul Makonda urged Tanzanians to spy on suspected gays and lesbians and to report their activities. Tanzania’s government has since issued a statement saying Makonda stated his opinion and does not speak for the administration. Tanzania’s government will continue abiding by all international treaties on human rights to which it has committed, it said, adding that it protects all human rights guaranteed in the country’s constitution.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/eu-recalls-tanzania-ambassador-amid-calls-for-gay-arrests/2018/11/05/203d81e4-e102-11e8-ba30-a7ded04d8fac_story.html?utm_term=.694a5d9ecd0a