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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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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 EP-Verkhovna Rada high-level conference opened a new era of cooperation between the two parliaments, said lead MEP on capacity-building for the Ukrainian Parliament, Andrej Plenković (EPP, HR) at the close of the event on Wednesday. "We agreed to jointly implement the recommendations of the report of the Needs Assessment Mission and allocate adequate funds for the organisation of the follow up with our Ukrainian partners", he added.

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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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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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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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Russia must acknowledge it is directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine and the interna-tional law must be restored, Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs told Alexey Pushkov, Chair of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs on Monday evening. In the debate, they also questioned Mr Pushkov on why his country has not respected its obligations under the September Minsk protocol.

       
 

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