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Propaganda pressure on the EU from Russia and Islamic terrorist organisations is growing, say Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs in a resolution voted on Monday. It seeks to distort the truth, incite fear, provoke doubt and divide the EU. However, this pressure should be countered, not with more propaganda, but with positive messaging, awareness raising and education to increase the information literacy amongst EU citizens, MEPs add.

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Ministers are outlining the priorities of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU to parliamentary committees, in a series of meetings.

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Ukrainian movement EuroMaidan, Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege and Azerbaijani human rights activist Leyla Yunus are the three finalists for this year's European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, as voted jointly on Tuesday by the Foreign Affairs and Development committees.

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Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee discussed the motives and the possible consequences of Turkey’s recent attempted coup with Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn and representatives of the European External Action Service on Tuesday morning. MEPs emphasized that to ensure further accession talks, Turkey must stick to democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

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EU-Turkey cooperation on migration should be uncoupled from the EU accession negotiating process, say Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs in a repor voted on Tuesday. MEP praise Turkey for hosting the largest refugee population in the world, and note that it remains a "key strategic partner for the EU" but nonetheless call for progress on rule of law and fundamental values and "a more structured and frequent political dialogue on key thematic issues".

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EU sanctions against Russia must be stepped up, the Ukrainian border closed to halt arms flows from Russia, and the bodies of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash victims returned, MEPs insisted in today’s debate with Ukraine’s foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin. Mr Klimkin called on the EU to show its solidarity now, as Ukraine is “being punished for its EU aspirations”. The debate opened with a minute’s silence for victims of the 17 July crash.

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All of the EP’s 20 standing committees and two subcommittees held their constitutive meetings on Wednesday to elect their chair and vice-chairs.

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As the geopolitical importance of the Arctic region is growing, with climate change effects and competition for natural resources bringing new environmental and security risks for the region and for the world, the EU should speak with one voice and push to keep the Arctic an area of cooperation, says a resolution adopted by the Foreign Affairs and Environment committees on Tuesday.

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The respect of human rights and the rule of law in Turkey in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt will be a crucial test for the state of the country’s democracy, said Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs on Tuesday. They assessed the results of last week’s fact-finding mission to Turkey by the committee chair and rapporteur and stressed the need for constant monitoring.

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Belarusian political prisoners Ales Bialatski, Eduard Lobau and Mykola Statkevich, US spying whistleblower Edward Snowden and Pakistani campaigner for girls' education Malala Yousafzai are the shortlisted finalists for this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The laureate will be announced on 10 October, and the €50,000 prize will be awarded in Strasbourg on 20 November.

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The Ukrainian authorities must refrain from using force against the Euromaidan Square protestors, demonstrating peacefully against the Ukrainian government's decision not to sign the Association Agreement with the EU, said two key MEPs responsible for the Eastern Partnership policy, Foreign Affairs Committee chair Elmar Brok (EPP, DE) and rapporteur Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (EPP, PL), who warned: "Otherwise, there will be serious consequences".

       
 

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