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BAFTA: Four awards for the road movie "Nomadland".

Ukraine conflict: EU warns Russia against invasion

The European Union unanimously threatens Russia with retaliation in the event of an attack on Ukraine. At their summit in Brussels, the heads of state and government adopted a declaration to that effect. He states that Russia urgently needs to defuse the tensions arising from the deployment of troops on the border with Ukraine and aggressive rhetoric. Any further military aggression would have “serious consequences and high costs”.

As an example, coordinated sanctions with partners were cited yesterday evening. The European Union fully supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Details are not clear

Leave heads of state and government open about what sanctions they could include. According to diplomats, sanctions against state companies and ruling oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin are under discussion. In addition, a ban on the operation of the natural gas pipeline “Nord Stream 2” from Russia to Germany and the exclusion of Russia from the express payment system are implemented as two options.

The latter in particular could have far-reaching consequences, as Swift processes messages and financial transactions for more than 11,000 financial institutions worldwide via secure networks. If banks are no longer able to use Swift, it could have dire consequences for their businesses, as they are effectively excluded from the global financial system.

Call for booster vaccinations

The summit also unsurprisingly addressed the epidemic: The European Union relies on rapid booster vaccines. The joint conclusions on the epidemic, which were adopted by the European heads of state and government at their summit in Brussels, said, “Vaccinations for all and the provision of booster doses is crucial and urgent.” Brussels also plans to limit the validity of vaccination certificates for travel within the European Union to nine months.

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Therefore, universal compulsory vaccination has not yet appeared in the European Union. Austria and Germany initiated such a measure, and the Bundestag is scheduled to vote on it soon in Germany. The President of the European Union Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, recently described the debate as essential for all of Europe.

According to the European Union Commission, the highly contagious variant Omikron could become the dominant variant in Europe by mid-January. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis warned that it was a “race against time”. To date, about 67 percent of the total population in Europe has been fully vaccinated.

More pressure on countries of origin

When it comes to migration, the European Union wants to return more migrants without a residence permit in the future and put more pressure on their countries of origin. The EU Commission must take steps with member states to ensure an “effective return”.

Visa issuance, trade relations, and development aid should be used to pressure third countries to implement existing agreements or conclude new ones. The so-called rate of return in the EU has been low for years. In 2018, the EU Commission set a target of increasing it to around 70 percent by 2020. In fact, according to the EU Commission, only 29% of people who should have left EU countries left in 2019.