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Turkey has featured regularly on the agenda of the European Council in recent years, notably in the context of the migration crisis and military operations in Syria, and as a result of an increasingly tense situation in the eastern Mediterranean, which led to a significant military build-up at sea during the summer of 2020. In all these cases, the European Council (re)acted swiftly, ensuring that the views of the Member States were taken into consideration. In the migration crisis, it stepped up ...

The EU's binding climate and energy legislation for 2030 requires Member States to adopt national energy and climate plans (NECPs) covering the period 2021 to 2030. In October 2020, the European Commission published an assessment for each NECP. Greece submitted its NECP in December 2019. Greece accounts for 2.4 % of total EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and has reduced its emissions at a higher pace than the EU average since 2005. The carbon intensity of the Greek economy decreased by 23 % from ...

North Macedonia was the first Western Balkan country to sign a stabilisation and association agreement with the EU in 2004; just one year later, it became a candidate country. However, bilateral disputes with Greece and Bulgaria have blocked accession negotiations so far.

The 'hotspot approach' was presented by the European Commission as part of the European Agenda on Migration in April 2015, when record numbers of refugees, asylum-seekers and other migrants flocked to the EU. The 'hotspots' – first reception facilities – aim to improve coordination of the EU agencies' and national authorities' efforts at the external borders of the EU, in the initial reception, identification, registration and fingerprinting of asylum-seekers and migrants. Even though other Member ...

In early September 2020, a fire in the over-crowded migrant camp of Moria in Greece pushed thousands of people onto the streets, exacerbating the already dire conditions faced by asylum-seekers and migrants. The incident also shows the need to find a solution to a crisis of solidarity in EU asylum policy that has remained unresolved since the unprecedented influx of migrants into the EU in 2015. The European Commission presented a new Pact on Asylum and Migration on 23 September 2020. In that, it ...

Since the discovery of offshore natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean in the early 2000s, Turkey has challenged its neighbours with regard to international law and the delimitation of their exclusive economic zones (EEZs), and destabilised the whole region through its illegal drilling and military interventions. Ankara has used military force and intimidation, including repeated violations of the territorial waters and airspaces of neighbouring countries. Ankara has also used bilateral ...

With the virulence of the coronavirus pandemic gradually diminishing, and in the light of the restrictive measures adopted by Member States, attention remains on the way chosen by the various states to respond to the crisis. With states at various stages of relaxing emergency constraints, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are likely to last in terms of health, economic, social, psychological and possibly even political impact. Although public attention is now turned towards the widely differing ...

In response to increased migratory pressure in Greece along the EU's external border with Turkey in recent months, and following the Greek government's request for support under Article 78(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the European Commission has launched a new relocation scheme to speed up the relocation of unaccompanied minors from the Greek islands to other EU Member States. Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, who has been entrusted with taking this ...

For the second time since the introduction of strict coronavirus containment measures, the European Parliament conducted its April plenary session with the majority of Members participating remotely, and used the alternative voting procedure put in place by Parliament's Bureau for the March II session. This temporary voting procedure is available for use until 31 July 2020, unless extended by Bureau decision. As in March, the session focused on a number of urgent legislative proposals as well as ...

Draft Amending Budget No 1/2020 (DAB 1/2020) would provide additional funds to help address the needs arising from the increased migration pressures in Greece, assist Member States to limit the impact of the coronavirus outbreak through meeting needs for equipment and medical products, and contribute to Albania's post-earthquake reconstruction. The European Parliament is expected to vote, under the urgent procedure, on the Council position on DAB 1/2020 during the 16-17 April plenary session.