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Uniting democracies has been the key international political trend of the last hundred years. Understanding this trend and enabling it to continue is the key to world political development.

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Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Jim Wright (Dem. of Tex.) died in Fort Worth, Texas on May 6, 2015. An 18-term U.S. Representative, Wright was a close personal friend of Clarence K. Streit and a decades-long member of the board of Federal Union, Inc., the predecessor of The Streit Council. He was a longtime supporter of Atlantic Union and Streit's call for federal institutions first articulated in his bookUNION NOW, to solidify the Atlantic Alliance in World War II and later with NATO. While in the U.S. House, Wright was a supporter of U.S. Sen. Estes Kefauver's (Dem. of Tenn.) "Atlantic Union Resolution" and, later, the similar efforts of U.S. Rep. Paul Findley (Rep.of Ill.). For many years, Wright was often a spokesperson for the concepts of Clarence K. Streit in the U.S. Congress. The photo to the left is of Wright at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver with D. Bruce Shine, Chairman of the Board of The Streit Council, where both were convention delegates.

New Book by Streit Council Advisory Board Member Kenneth Weisbrode
In Old Diplomacy Revisited: A Study in the Modern History of Diplomatic Transformers, historian Kenneth Weisbrode asserts that Old Diplomacyis not really that old—many of its concepts and methods date to the mid-nineteenth century—while the practices of New Diplomacy emerged only a couple of generations later. Moreover, "Diplomacy 2.0" and other variants of the post-Cold War era do not depart significantly from their twentieth-century predecessor: their forms, particularly in technology, have changed, but their substance has not. In this succinct overview, Weisbrode reminds us that to understand diplomatic transformations and their relevance to international affairs is to see diplomacy as an entrepreneurial art—and that, like most arts, it is adapted and re-adapted with reference to earlier forms. Diplomatic practice is always changing, and always continuous. To read more about this book, click here.

Kenneth Weisbrode, Ph.D., joins the Streit Council's Advisory Board. He is an Assistant Professor of History at Bilkent University, Turkey and has written and edited several books, including Old Diplomacy Revisited: A Study in the Modern History of Diplomatic Transformers; Churchill and the King: The Wartime Alliance of Winston Churchill and George VI; and The Atlantic Century: Four Generations of Extraordinary Diplomats who Forged America's Vital Alliance with Europe. He is also the co-founder of the Toynbee Prize Foundation's Network for the New Diplomatic History, and holds a Ph.D. in History from Harvard University.

 

New Book by Streit Council Board Member Richard Rosecrance
In The Resurgence of the West: How a Transatlantic Union Can Prevent War and Restore the United States and Europe, Richard Rosecrance calls for the United States to join forces with the European Union and create a transatlantic economic union. A U.S.-Europe community would unblock arteries of trade and investment, rejuvenate the West, and enable Western countries to deal with East Asian challenges from a position of unity and economic strength. Through this great merger the author offers a positive vision of the future in which members of a tightly knit Western alliance regain economic health and attract Eastern nations to join a new and worldwide international order. To read more about this book, click here.


At the Washington D.C. Summit on Cross Continental Cooperation,held by the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy from November 4-7, Streit Council President Richard Conn Henry reviewed the history of the Streit Council, starting with Clarence K. Streit's self-publication of Union Now just prior to World War II, and continuing with the passing of the Atlantic Union Resolution in 1964. Henry also expounded his idea on a possible Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that, if adopted, would lead to a federal union with the European Union. His proposal can be found here.

Brendan Simms, Ph.D., joins the Streit Council's Advisory Board. He is a Professor of the History of European International Relations at the University of Cambridge, and is the founder and Chairman of the Board of the think tank Project on Democratic Union, which supports a full political union of the Eurozone. He also founded and is the President of the Henry Jackson Society, a think tank dedicated to fostering a strong British and European commitment to liberty; constitutional democracy; human rights; governmental and institutional reform; a robust foreign, security, and defense policy; and the transatlantic alliance. His publications include Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire 1714-1783 (2008) and Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia (2001).

Transatlantic Relations and Global Governance News

As Kurds gain in Syria, Turkish govt ponders military action
29 June 2015 – AP
While Kurds gain territory in Syria, the Turkish media increasingly debate Turkey’s military intervention in the region against the Islamic State militants and, above all, Kurdish attempts to create a state along Turkey's southern frontier. Turkish pro-governmental newspapers are strongly encouraging a military action into northern Syria to defy the Kurdish separatist threat. Despite this, a military intervention remains extremely unpopular in Turkey where the public fears heavy casualties and an increase in the flow of Syrian refugees. Above all, a military fight against Kurdish forces could boost violence in Turkey as it would potentially lead to a civil war between Turks and Kurds in Turkey. 
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Abe seeks to protect U.S. vessels
29 June 2015 – The Japan News
Last Friday, during a session of the House of Representatives special committee on the legislation for peace and security, Prime Minister Abe explained Japan’s use to exercise the right of self-defense. The current legislation prohibits to Japan to protect U.S. vessels unless the attack directly threatens Japan’s security. In such a case, Abe argued, Japan would militarily respond to any threats, especially those coming from North Korea.
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Russia softens Ukraine gas price stance ahead of talks
29 June 2015 – Reuters
Russia’s Prime Minister confirmed that the Kremlin will not increase the gas price for Ukraine. The announcement anticipates of one day the meeting between Russia, Ukraine, and the EU to discuss gas supplies. As gas supplies to Europe largely depend on Ukraine as a transit point, this meeting has a particular significance. Rumors about new possible pipelines to transport gas to Europe and bypass Ukraine have been harshly criticized from the EU members.   
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Pro-European candidate leads in Moldova vote
28 June 2015 – AP
Near-final results are attributing a significant victory to the pro-European candidate in Moldavian elections. Due to Moldova’s location between Romania and Ukraine, this victory appears extremely important and cast fears over the Moldavian population for Moscow’s possible reaction. The pro-Russian opposition is already arousing doubts about the legitimacy of the elections claiming multiple irregularities. 
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Greece orders banks closed, imposes capital controls to stem deposit flight
28 June 2015 – Wall Street Journal
On Sunday, Greece closed its banks as the ECB chose not to expand its ELA program for the week. On Saturday, Greeks lined up at ATMs across the country to withdraw deposits in response to PM Tsipras’s referendum announcement on the bailout program offered by creditors. Going forward, withdrawals at ATMs will be limited to 60 euros a day per account. If, and when, Greek banks re-open, it is unclear whether they will use the euro as the ECB has not signaled its intentions to re-start its lending program.
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Nuke talks to miss target; Iran foreign minister heads home
28 June 2015 – AP
A senior U.S. official confirmed that nuclear talks will go past the June 30th deadline. Access to Iranian facilities remains the main issue at stake between Tehran and its Western counterparts negotiating the deal. Also recently Iranian officials confirmed Tehran’s refusal to grant any access to their facilities and criticized the use of economic sanctions as a means to intrude into Iran’s domestic affairs. Also European officials are skeptical about the feasibility of an agreement by Tuesday and fear the aftermath of failing negotiations in a context of growing instability in the Middle East.   
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French PM: Greek membership still on table
28 June 2015- Reuters
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls urged Greek officials to return to the negotiating table and complete a cash-for-reforms deal that would keep the country’s membership within the Eurozone. Leaders of 18 Eurozone countries criticized the Greek government for abandoning talks after calling for a July 5th referendum on new bailout terms. “I cannot resign myself to Greece leaving the euro zone…We must find a solution,” said the optimistic Valls. Greek and French officials have worked in close association since the beginning of bailout negotiations. However, Valls warned Greece on Sunday of the gravity of their latest decision for a referendum. “If there is a negative vote, there is a real risk …of exiting the euro zone,” said Valls.
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Obama and Merkel agree, Greece is critical to Eurozone
28 June 2015 - Reuters
President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke on Sunday and maintained the “critical importance” of furthering negotiations, and finding a way to keep Greece within the Eurozone. “The leaders affirmed that their respective economic teams are carefully monitoring the situation and will remain in close touch,” said the White House in a public statement. “The two leaders agreed that it was critically important to make every effort to return to a path that will allow Greece to resume reforms and growth within the euro zone.”
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What Greek papers are saying about the debt crisis
28 June 2015 - BBC
The newspaper of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ party Syriza, I Avgi, has a defiant “NO” written in bold on its front page. “No to blackmail, no to ultimatums, no to social bankruptcy, no to memorandums and austerity,” the article states vividly as it reinforces Tsirpas’ recent decision to hold a referendum over Greek bailouts. The popular Pro Thema, an anti-Syriza Sunday newspaper, polled 1,000 people across Greece, and declared 57% of those questioned would prefer any deal that keeps Greece in the Eurozone. “We won’t go 100 years backwards, just because Syriza cannot negotiate,” the paper states.
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Small German firms view U.S. trade deal as threat
28 June 2015 - Reuters
There is growing concern from small businesses across the Eurozone that a trade deal between Europe and the U.S. would grant too much authority to multinationals at the expense of small companies. “The proposals are being negotiated behind closed doors with the help of 50 or 60 big corporates,” said Roemmelt-Fella, a small business owner in Bavaria, one of thousands that account for nearly 89 percent of Germany’s exporters and stand as a pillar for the country’s economy. Her opposition represents the skepticism toward the TTIP in Germany, where large protests from anti-globalization groups and labor unions have frequently taken place.
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Japan open to joining U.S. in South China Sea patrols
25 June 2015 – Wall Street Journal
A top Japanese military officer, Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, stated in a recent interview that China’s construction of artificial islands could prompt Japan to join U.S. in naval patrols of the South China Sea. The U.S. would welcome the move. “I view the South China Sea as international water, not territorial water of any country, and so Japan is welcome to conduct operations on the high seas as Japan sees fit,” said Adm. Harry Harris, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, at a briefing in Tokyo earlier this month.
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EU data protection reform expected within six months
25 June 2015 - The Parliament Magazine
After years of standstill, discussions between the European Council, Parliament, and Commission over data protection reform have been renewed. After the first round of talks, the new legislation includes over 4,000 amendments. The current EU data protection initiative was put into place in 1995, a decade before most of modern day technology even existed. For this reason, chair of parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee Claude Moraes considers reforms “an urgent priority.” Jan Albrecht, parliament’s rapporteur on the dossier, expressed optimism for the new directive. “The first trilogue very clearly showed that this aim is achievable and realistic, as long as the three partners are open to compromise,” stated Albrecht. 
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Fear over Brexit more real than Grexit for Europe’s bankers
25 June 2015 - Reuters
During a financial industry conference, attending bankers expressed greater concern over Britain’s potential exit from the Eurozone than Greece. “To me, that (Brexit) is the bigger potential nightmare,” said Tim Adams, president of the Institute of International Finance during the organization’s European meeting in Frankfurt on Thursday. Britain’s inclusion in the EU is considered more important to the euro Zone’s long-term future than the outcome to Greece’s financial crisis. Prime Minister David Cameron has publicly stated his plans to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU and afterwards, issue a referendum by the end of 2017 on whether to stay or leave the bloc. 
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Russia and Europe's extremist parties find common cause
25 June 2015 – USA Today
Russia and anti-immigration extremist parties in Europe are forging an alliance based on both their common opposition to NATO and the EU, as well as their common sympathy for Putin’s authoritarian leadership. According to experts, Moscow is financing right-wing extremist parties in countries such as the UK, France and Hungary to weaken European unity and its ability to impose sanctions on the Russian economy.  Meanwhile, Russia appears to have offered financial support also to left-wing parties opposing European austerity, especially in Greece. Russia’s design aims to break European and transatlantic unity to pursue an autonomous strategy toward its former satellites.
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Senate approves Trade Authority Bill
24 June 2015 - The New York Times
The Senate has approved legislation granting President Obama power to negotiate major trade agreements with Asia and Europe. The trade promotion bill won by a vote of 60 to 38, after the Senate voted 76 to 22 to cut off debate on an aid bill that would protect workers, with the senate vocally agreeing to pass the vote. Senator Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, called the trade promotion authority “the most important bill we’ll do this year.” Although final passage of the bill does not guarantee approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it is considered an important stepping-stone towards the White House’s pivot to Asia strategy. Discussions with Europe over the TTIP have further to go. 
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Coalition of businessman pushing for Brexit
24 June 2015 - Investor’s Business Daily
A group of businessman in Britain have formed a coalition called “No Thanks – We’re Going Global” to support Britain’s exit from the bloc ahead of the referendum in 2017 on EU membership, promised by Prime Minister David Cameron. The group has already raised 7 million pounds. The Confederation of British Industry predicts 2.7% growth in 2015 against the EU’s 1.5% overall. The coalition seeks to embrace globalization as a positive, and have strong convictions in the liberalization of the private sector. “This is too important for politicians to be taking the lead, it has got to be business and the wider public,” said Arron Banks, one of the group’s more prominent donors. 
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NATO forces boost efforts, with sights set on Russia
24 June 2015 – The Boston Globe
NATO is reinvigorating plans to face its past threat, Moscow. The recent military training exercises along the border between the former Soviet Republics and Russia prove widespread fears about the Kremlin’s aggressive strategy in the region. After years of missions from the Balkans to Afghanistan to the Horn of Africa, NATO has greatly switched back its attention toward the former Soviet bloc. This change is also forcing the Alliance to revisit its military strategy in case of a conventional attack to Europe. Although this possibility seems remote, Baltic States feel extremely vulnerable to Russia and are rushing to correct their shortfalls in military equipment.
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European Union divided in Digital Single Market adoption
24 June 2015 - Diginomica
A survey of over 10,000 websites across EU member states was taken in the European Commission’s 12th Benchmark Measurement of European eGovernment Services. In the report, a lack of transparency on processes, personal data, and the agencies involved in government services were the primary reasons why people were unwilling to use online government services. According to current European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, there are several aspects of the ambitious DSM plan that require improvement before reaching acceptable transparency standards. “There are still many barriers to maximizing its potential,” said Juncker.
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ECB member Knot warns further easement could result in financial market bubbles
24 June 2015 - Reuters
ECB governing council member Klass Knot said on Wednesday that the Central bank’s easing monetary policy has reached its limit, and any further easement would result in engendering potential financial market bubbles. “Monetary policy accommodation is now reaching its limits and if it is maintained for a significant period of time it also comes with the risk of certain negative side-effects such as new financial imbalances,” said Knot at a conference in Paris. Fellow ECB member Ignazio Visco remained optimistic over the future of the easement program, stating that, “For the time being there are no signs that low interest rates are provoking generalized imbalances.”
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Parliament’s trade committee to vote on TTIP Monday
24 June 2015 – Politico
The European Parliament’s trade committee will hold a symbolic vote on the TTIP on Monday, but still faces opposition from MEPs over the ISDS mechanism. A vote on the issue was postponed in early June after MEPs tabled several amendments to the trade bill.
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EU industry group says trade defences against China must stay
24 June 2015 – Reuters
European businesses are vehemently against a reclassification of China’s economic system under WTO rules. The WTO is deciding whether China should be considered a market economy, a status that would prevent EU businesses from maintaining protectionist trade policies. The issue will most likely be discussed at the EU-China summit next week.
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U.S. general: Russian military presence in Ukraine irrefutable
24 June 2015 - AP
The commander of U.S. troops in Europe has claimed “clear and irrefutable evidence" of Russian involvement into the conflict in Ukraine. While denying these accusations, the Russian Foreign Minister attacked the Western coalition for allowing a breakdown of a peace deal reached in February. In response, the U.S. commander reaffirmed that the presence of equipped and well trained Russian special forces in Ukraine undoubtedly shows the involvement of the Kremlin and its unwillingness to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis.     
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UN chief calls on Security Council to take action on Syria
24 June 2015 – Reuters
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the UN Security Council to take action on Syria to stop daily atrocities and abuses on the local population. The secretary indirectly suggested using embargo and sanctions for violations of humanitarian law. Last year Russian and Chinese veto stopped the UN from referring Syria to the International Criminal Court. Due to the civil war, the increasing factionalism of rebel groups, and President Assad’s use of massive bombing more than 12 million people are in urgent need of help.
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Senate makes headway on Obama trade initiative
23 June 2015 - Politico
The Senate agreed Tuesday to break a filibuster on fast-track trade legislation, clearing the way for Trade Promotion Authority legislation to become law by the end of the week. The close vote gained enough Democratic support after a joint pledge from both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to reinforce TPA with the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill. Democrats have insisted that the TPA be accompanied by TAA, which would provide aid and job training for workers who lose employment from trade. The Senate passed the TPA/TAA package in May, but McConnell and Boehner split TPA from TAA after the House voted not to pass the package.
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ECB continues emergency funding for Greek banks
23 June 2015 - Reuters
The European Central Bank continued to stretch its funding to Greek banks on Tuesday, allowing the country’s banks to remain viable as Athens comes close to reaching a final deal with its creditors. The ECB has raised its Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) cap to 89 billion euros ($100 billion), providing nearly one billion euros to Greek banks on Tuesday. Many, including German officials, have expressed fears of the growing liability of lending to Greece. Ralph Brinkhaus, deputy parliamentary floor leader for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, disapproved of the move and called on Athens to strengthen control over the flow of money instead.
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Eurozone business growth at 4-year high
23 June 2015 - CNBC
According to data released on Tuesday, business activity in the Eurozone has grown at its fastest pace in four years, indicating that a recovery is finally gaining traction in the region. The flash Markit Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which measures manufacturing and service sector activity grew to 54.1 in June from 52.6 in May. Leading the way are Europe’s two strongest economies, as French PMI data showed the country’s manufacturing sector growing for the first time since April 2014, while Germany’s composite PMI grew to 54.0 in June from 52.6 in May. Many believe that ECB’s 1 trillion euro monetary stimulus package has contributed to the recent show of economic strength in the Eurozone.
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Eight EU nations express reservations on Internet regulations
23 June 2015 - Reuters
In light of an upcoming review of the behavior of web companies, eight EU nations including Britain, Ireland and Poland have urged caution in a letter directed to European Council President Donald Tusk, stating the EU should only regulate “where there is clear evidence to do so.” A key part of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy includes a review of the business practices of online platforms including Google, Amazon and Facebook. France and Germany have been vocal supporters of introducing regulations that would support European start-ups to compete with successful American tech giants.
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Malmstrom predicts Canadian-EU trade deal by July
23 June 2015 – Politico
EU trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom is hoping to complete a FTA between Canada and the EU in July. The two sides agreed to a deal last September, but have not started the ratification process in EU and Canadian governing institutions. Both parties are waiting for the end of the “legal scrubbing process,” a procedure that makes final edits to the agreement’s 1,600 pages of text. The deal could be held up beyond July as various members of the European Parliament are skeptical of the ISDS mechanism inserted into the agreement in September.
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European policymakers seek more cross-border power trade
23 June 2015 – Reuters
In order to fully integrate European energy markets, the EU will need to create a single energy market, according to a draft document from the European Commission. The single energy market would make it easier for countries to trade renewable energy when supplies are strained.
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Russia assails EU over sanctions vote, vows retaliation
23 June 2015 – The Boston Globe
Kremlin officials reacted furiously Monday to the European Union’s extension of sanctions on Russia and promised to respond by enforcing countersanctions against the members of the European Union. Meanwhile, the United States confirmed its commitment to provide weapons, aircrafts, and forces to NATO’s new rapid reaction units. Although the transatlantic partners are still discussing the American contribution to Europe’s defense in terms of military troops, this initiative confirms the U.S. commitment to European security after Russia’s invasion of Crimea. Moscow harshly criticized the effect of EU’s economic sanctions on Russian economy.
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NATO plans re-engagement with Iraq four years after departure
23 June 2015 – The Guardian
NATO is planning to re-engage in Iraq after four years from its departure. The Atlantic Alliance is offering military training to the local officers to better cope with the advancing threat posed by the Islamic State. Meanwhile, U.S. State Defense Secretary announced the temporary deployment of about 250 tanks in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. NATO’s move is dictated by local concerns for Russia’s aggressive strategy. In particular, NATO’s intervention in Iraq would be highly symbolic and also expand its new role as a guarantor of peace and geo-political stability outside Europe.  
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Russia Pips Saudi Arabia in Race to Grab China Oil Market Share
23 June 2015 – Bloomberg
Russia has surpassed Saudi Arabia to become China’s top oil crude supplier. While Russian exports increased 20%, Saudi exports fell 40% over the last month. Saudi Arabia’s resistance to use a different currency than dollars is affecting its exports which could be further weakened by Iran’s competition. A possible nuclear deal could double Iran’s sales within six months. 
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Diplomats seek to calm Ukraine fighting, break stalemate in new talks
23 June 2015 – Associated Press
Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany’s foreign ministers will meet in Paris to further discuss a possible solution to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, representatives of Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are holding separate talks in Minsk. Although the current conflict has claimed more than 6,000 victims so far, the EU and U.S. have been unable to agree on the use of military force to stop the war.
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Eurozone consumer confidence steadies despite Greek crisis
23 June 2015 – Wall Street Journal
Eurozone consumers seem unfazed by the Greek debt crisis according to new measures of confidence from the European Commission. The headline measure from its monthly sentiment index remained unchanged at -5.6. The rise in the consumer sentiment trend started at the end of last year as households gained from lower energy costs, and wage growth began to pick up.
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Slovak unemployment hits six year low
23 June 2015 – Prague Post
Unemployment in Slovakia fell to 11.48% in May, a six year low. The total number of unemployed workers fell to 309,523, a decrease of 36,000 workers on an annualized basis. In early 2013, the unemployment rate was close to 15%. Social Affairs Minister, Jan Richter, predicted a slight uptick in unemployment in June as college graduates enter the labor force.
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New NATO force to deter Russia
23 June 2015 – Euractiv
When U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter was in Germany yesterday, he announced the U.S. would put more forces at the disposal of NATO, through participation to the new Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. The participation would include "intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets." Carter stated that Russia was trying to recreate a Cold War climate and that this was the reason why NATO needed to show its presence.
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Philippines, U.S., Japan Hold Military Exercises near South China Sea
23 June 2015 – VOA
Both the United States and the Philippines as well as the Philippines and Japan have launched joint military exercises not far from the South China Sea on Monday. Although the exercises saw the participation of combat units, the Philippine navy said that the goal is to prepare its personnel for humanitarian emergencies and rescue operations. These exercises are part of the Philippine’s expanding military program which also includes political and military cooperation with Japan. Despite its acclaimed peaceful goals China looks with suspicion to the Philippines’ undertaking.
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Ukraine crisis: Yanukovych regrets bloodshed in Kiev
22 June 2015 – BBC News
In a recent interview former President Viktor Yanukovych admitted his responsibility for the 2014 bloodshed in Kiev's Maidan Square. Although the former President did not issue the order to fire, he could have done much more to prevent it. The killing of the demonstrators sparked the February revolution and the following war in Crimea. The former President was taken to Russia from Russian Special Forces and this was his first interview since. Yanukovych described the loss of Crimea as a nightmare, denied Kiev’s accusations of having embezzled millions of dollars, and harshly criticized the current government for its support to far-right forces. 
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British Government promises support for Media companies in Single Digital Market
22 June 2015 - Politico
In a recent interview former President Viktor Yanukovych admitted his responsibility for the 2014 bloodshed in Kiev's Maidan Square. Although the former President did not issue the order to fire, he could have done much more to prevent it. The killing of the demonstrators sparked the February revolution and the following war in Crimea. The former President was taken to Russia from Russian Special Forces and this was his first interview since. Yanukovych described the loss of Crimea as a nightmare, denied Kiev’s accusations of having embezzled millions of dollars, and harshly criticized the current government for its support to far-right forces. 
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Recovering EU may dissuade UK referendum
22 June 2015 - Bloomberg
As economists expect growth across most of the EU to pick up in the lead-up to the UK referendum, euroskeptics hoping for a UK exit may face greater difficultly persuading voters to leave the Eurozone. Although David Cameron announced his commitment for a referendum deadline by the end of 2017, UK officials are said to be planning for a vote as early as October 2016. The UK economy grew 2.4 percent in the first quarter after the May general elections, a substantial rate compared to just 1 percent in Germany and 0.7 percent in France. 
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Fears casted over EU-U.S. trade deal
22 June 2015 - Politico
European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, described apprehension over hormone-treated meat, corporate monopolies, and a secret court favoring big companies as “myths that simply aren’t true” about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Failure to hold a vote on negotiating the position in parliament reflects the polarized views over the massive trade deal. “There is a huge lack of trust,” said Jacob Schrot, president of the Young Transatlantic Network. European consumers are worried about the establishment of lower-standard American regulations, especially within the food industry where chickens are regularly processed with chlorine, intruding into their markets. 
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Greece taking “a positive step forward” with new budget proposal
22 June 2015 - Reuters
The presentation of Greece’s new budget proposal on Monday during an emergency summit was well received by Eurozone leaders. European Council President, Donald Tusk, called the cash-for-reform package “a positive step forward.” An agreement between the representatives of European governments, the ECB, and the IMF must be reached before the deal can move forward. The proposal will include higher taxes and welfare charges, along with measures to curtail early retirement. Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that “[t]here’s still a lot of work to be done.”
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EU foreign ministers to agree on Mediterranean intelligence operations
22 June 2015 – Euractiv
The European Union’s foreign affairs ministers are meeting today and are expected to agree on a plan to gather intelligence on smugglers operating in the Mediterranean. However, a UN Security Council Resolution and the approval of the Libyan government will be essential for next steps, such as a military operation in the Mediterranean.
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Europe just slapped Russia with another six months of sanctions
22 June 2015 – Business Insider
Due to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the European Union’s foreign ministers decided to further extend economic sanctions against Moscow until the end of January 2016. The decision was confirmed during today meeting in Luxemburg and will further weaken Russia’s financial and economic sectors.
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Pentagon chief planning for longer-term rift with Russia
22 June 2015 – Reuters
Russia’s intervention in Ukraine has triggered a set of military moves by the alliance, including the creation of a NATO rapid response force. Nonetheless, NATO members still search for diplomatic cooperation with Moscow, especially when negotiating the nuclear deal with Iran. Even so, the military moves confirm NATO’s concerns for a possible escalation in the confrontation with the Kremlin. Not only Russia’s aggressiveness but also the rise of the Islamic State and other militant groups in North Africa and the Middle East pose challenges for NATO.
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France says Iran deal “still not clear” as deadline nears
22 June 2015 – Reuters
France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius expressed his concerns about the feasibility of June 30th as the deadline for the nuclear deal with Iran. Other EU foreign ministers confirmed their intent to cope with the issue in the Monday’s bilateral meeting with Iran. In particular, France has been extremely tough on Iran to prevent it from from acquiring nuclear weapons and its position is strongly backed by Israel. Fabius further restated the necessity of a robust framework agreement to ensure international security. 
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Iran moves to thwart foreign inspectors’ access
21 June 2015 – The Boston Globe
While discussing the perspective nuclear deal, Iran’s Parliament approved a proposal banning international scientists from accessing military sites and documents. The bill, if ratified, will greatly complicate ongoing negotiations in Vienna. To become law, the bill must be ratified by the Guardian Council. International negotiators have reasserted that site inspection remains one of the central elements of the agreement and is adversely affecting the drafting of the final proposal which has been described as “a patchwork of text and dozens of blank spaces.”
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Britain extends commitment to NATO reassurance in Eastern Europe
21 June 2015 – Reuters
UK Defence Minister Michael Fallon announced on Sunday that Britain will extend its contributions to the NATO forces in Eastern Europe. Britain will contribute with more troops (a commitment of 1000 soldiers every year until 2021) and will also keep its fighter jets patrolling over the Baltic States.
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Fate of Greece rests in Merkel’s hands
21 June 2015 - DW
Greece’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, wrote on Sunday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will have the final say in choosing whether or not to save Greece from defaulting on its international loans. His comments come in anticipation of an emergency EU summit on Monday to discuss Greece’s financial crisis. Varoufakis expressed his commitment to compromise a deal with creditors as long as Greece is not forced to sign an austerity package that offer little hope of repaying those debts. The path to reform is ultimately a choice, that, “I am very much afraid, is hers,” concluded Varoufakis.
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ECB to play a key role in mitigating Greek financial crisis
21 June 2015 - The New York Times
The ECB has played both the savior and the target of scold for Greece. Although Europe’s central bank has helped keep Greece’s banking system afloat, the ECB has also pushed Greece to the edge of default by refusing to offer relief on its heavy debts. The ECB, according to Mark Wall, the chief economist at Deutsche Bank in London, “is the primary financier of the Greek banking system - which is the pressure point for Greece as a whole. Without the ECB, there is nothing to avert a collapse of the Greek banks.”
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Top EU officials lay out vision for common currency
21 June 2015 - Reuters
EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker and four other top EU officials have announced their vision for a common currency in a report published on Monday. The report recommended hastily implementing national competitiveness authorities that would push governments to initiate policies that would improve productivity. It also emphasized the importance of promoting employment and maintaining a sustainable pension system. In addition, the report expressed interest in establishing a European Deposit Insurance Scheme to share risks among member states in the event of a banking crisis.
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Snapshot Sleuthing Confirms Russian Military Presence in Ukraine
21 June 2015 – NPR
Russian soldiers’ social media posts confirm their presence in Ukraine. One of VICE News’ correspondents traced back their involvement by producing and filming a documentary entitled “Selfie Soldiers.”  The film follows up a recent initiative of the Atlantic Council, a think-tank located in Washington DC that also verified locations where pictures and videos of Russian soldiers were taken. In response, the correspondent was forced out of Russia.
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