Displaying items by tag: Europe
The governments of the UK, Germany and France have expressed ‘grave concern’ over Iran’s move to boost uranium enrichment to 60% in response to what Tehran says was an attack by Israel against its key nuclear facility at Natanz. The three European countries say the announcement is ‘particularly regrettable’ at a time when talks in Vienna have resumed, including the United States, to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. They also said this was showing Iran to be on the path to a nuclear weapon, adding, ‘Iran has no credible civilian need for enrichment at this level’.
European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) is deeply concerned about the increase in tension between Ukraine and Russia over the Donbass region. Fear of invasion, a desire for respect, territorial justice, patriotism plus military presence and diplomatic pressure have created a volatile situation. Since 2014 thousands have died and half a million have claimed asylum abroad. Those remaining in Donbass are in a kind of no-man’s land. Faith minorities, including evangelical communities, are unable to register, and no faith activities are allowed. The Russian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian National Orthodox Church are in a constant fight for superiority. Will the people’s suffering worsen with the resumption of full scale war? EEA is calling Europe to pray for comfort and healing for the victims of the conflict, and for the restoration of safety and human rights to the people of Ukraine. May wise diplomacy bring about a commitment to peace and stability. For background see
A long-simmering conflict in eastern Ukraine is escalating into a flashpoint for superpower rivalry, as a Russian military build-up is met by the deployment of two American warships to the Black Sea. Putin has ordered the largest movement of troops, tanks and missiles along the Ukrainian border since the Crimea 2014 invasion. About 85,000 troops, tanks, missile trucks, armoured vehicles and long-range guns are being transported by train to Crimea and strategic locations near the disputed region. Amongst the armoury are anti-aircraft missile systems last used in 2014 to destroy a civilian Boeing 777 over Ukraine, killing 298 people. Many fear Moscow is on the point of a full-scale invasion, and see the Ukrainian authorities preparing for this possibility. Putin's deputy chief of staff said Ukraine faced 'disintegration' if it pushed Russia into war. Meanwhile Washington is flying reconnaissance planes to monitor Russian activity. See also
We can be thankful that trade between the UK and EU partially recovered in February, after a steep drop following Brexit. However, exports were still below last year's levels and imports from the EU had seen a weaker recovery. Figures show the UK economy grew by 0.4% in February, but the economy was still 7.8% smaller than a year earlier, before the impact of the pandemic. The Federation of Small Businesses said overall sales had dropped by £2.5bn, and its members needed more help. Chairman Mike Cherry said: ‘UK exports have tumbled since the end of the Brexit transition period. International sales are way down on where they were at this time last year. A fifth of small exporters have halted sales to the EU temporarily, and some have already given up on selling into the bloc on a permanent basis.’
ECM UK is an international, interdenominational mission agency whose ministry primarily focuses on planting churches in areas of Europe where there is little or no evangelical presence. They work in over twenty countries, planting churches, training people in leadership development and managing social care ministries. Nearly all ECM missionaries are volunteers, raising their own financial support and prayer cover. ECM also has partners in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, France, Spain, Ireland and the Netherlands, all reaching out to unreached Europeans. See
Lava flowed from a volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula on 28 March, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of tourists. Then on 5 April a new 100- to 500-metre fissure opened half a mile north of the original crevice. Drone footage shows lava rivers feeding a larger lava flow pouring into a nearby valley. After weeks of seismic activity and over 50,000 tremors, the volcanic eruptions started near Fagradalsfjall mountain which has been dormant for 6,000 years. The current fissures are the first experienced on the peninsula in 800 years. In the first days a 600- to 700-metre-long fissure began ejecting lava. Now a cone with two open volcanic vents is ejecting lava at a constant rate of four to five metres every three seconds. The area is mostly uninhabited and 19 miles from Reykjavík, the capital and largest city of Iceland.
Brussels will not export AstraZeneca’s (AZ) vaccine manufactured in the EU to the UK until it meets its vaccine commitment to the EU. Its internal market commissioner, emphasised, ‘there is nothing to negotiate’ referring to EU’s ongoing talks over vaccine production. He said coronavirus vaccine production from Belgium and the Netherlands matches vaccine commitment made by AZ to the EU and thus must be reserved for them. ‘If AZ does more, we don’t have any issue, but as long as it doesn’t deliver its commitment to us, the doses stay in Europe - except for Covax (a vaccine programme delivering vaccines to poor countries).’ He said they are trying to ensure that AZ’s contract with the EU is delivered. In August AZ agreed to supply 300 million doses, with an option for another 100 million doses. Unfortunately, the supply has been slow, and they slashed their commitment to 30 million in the first quarter.
The EU’s environment commissioner, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said he was deeply concerned by the threats facing the Great Barrier Reef. ‘As long as we do not change our behaviours, things will not improve,’ he said. He hopes Australia will sign up to the 84-country Leaders’ Pledge for Nature - a document that calls for a ‘green and just’ recovery from the Covid-19 crisis and stronger political will to act against the ‘crises of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation and climate change’. The leaders’ pledge backs the objective of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, has said this is his preference, but he has resisted making a formal commitment amid divisions within his government over climate policy. Coral reefs are threatened because of human activity - unsustainable ways of living, producing, and consuming.
The UK has joined other European countries and donated €500,000 to a human rights project investigating the Lukashenko regime in Belarus. The longtime dictator denies human rights abuses in his country despite overwhelming evidence gathered by journalists and NGOs. The project will collect, store, and build evidence of human rights violations and torture against the people which may in future be used in independent criminal proceedings. The initiative is led by a coalition of expert NGOs and supported by the UK, Denmark, Germany, and other international partners to hold Lukashenko’s regime to account for violations following the rigged Presidential election in 2020. This independent initiative, free from political interference, will help defend democracy, media freedom and human rights. It will help the Belarusian people take a vital step further towards securing justice.
So far Moldova has only received 36,000 doses of the Covid vaccine, barely enough for 1% of its population of 2.6 million. This stock isn't even enough to cover the country’s primary target - its 60,000 medical staff. A coordinator from the National Vaccine Program said a three-stage rollout is ready, but the doses are not. He explains that to keep to their target of immunising 70% of their population, ‘we need to have more negotiations with manufacturers. But we are a small country, with a small population; we are not as interesting for manufacturers as other countries. The consequences of the lack of doses are dire, especially for the most fragile’. An NGO distributing lunch boxes to elderly and isolated populations in a poor neighbourhood said, ‘The week we went there, the death rate had almost doubled compared to the previous week. Yet despite this, there is still no sign of more vaccines.’