In the spotlight: 12 May
NATO missile defence site declared operational
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg inaugurated in Deveselu, Romania, the first NATO anti-missile defence site equipped with the US ground-to-air Aegis Ashore system. The system is designed to detect, trace and destroy ballistic missiles in flights outside the atmosphere, using a technology that is almost identical to that used on US Navy Aegis ships. Works for the realization of a second site in Redzikowo, Poland, began the following day and are expected to conclude in 2018.
EU adopts directive on cybersecurity
The Council of the EU adopted at first reading the network and information security directive (NIS), confirming the agreement reached with the European Parliament in December 2015. The directive defines security obligations for operators of essential services (such as energy and transport) and for providers of digital services (such as online marketplaces, search engines and cloud services). Each member state will have to designate one or more national authorities and to establish a national cybersecurity strategy. After adoption at second reading by the Parliament, the directive is expected to enter into force in August 2016.
New commander appointed for the EU Atalanta operation
The EU Political and Security Committee appointed Brigadier Robert Magowan, an officer of the British Royal Marines, as operation commander of the counter-piracy mission EUNAVFOR Atalanta, operating in the Horn of Africa region since 2008. Brigadier Magowan, who succeeds to Major General Martin Smith, will take up his duties on 3 June.
North Korea: The EU updates sanctions
The Council of the EU added eighteen names and one entity to the list of people subject to restrictive measures. The individuals subjected to restrictive measures with this decision are mostly high-ranked military officials responsible for the industrial development of the North Korean nuclear program, while the entity added to the list is involved in the development and in the implementation of ballistic-missiles related programs. Measures adopted include travel restriction and the freeze of assets and add to those already in place against forty-eight individuals and forty-one entities.
47 million euros added to the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey
The European Commission announced the financing of 47 million euros to the Facility for Refugees in Turkey. 20 million of new funds have been committed to reinforce the capacity of the Turkish coast guard to carry out search and rescue operations, while the further 27 million are to be employed in educational and vocational training programmes for young refugees. The Facility for Refugees in Turkey has been set up in November 2015 with the commitment of providing Turkey with additional 3 billion in financial resources to cope with the immediate needs of Syrian refugees. The measures announced bring the total commitment so far to almost 240 million euros.
Additional EU sanctions against North Korea
The Council of the EU adopted additional restrictive measures against North Korea. Measures adopted include the prohibition of the import of petroleum products and of dual use technology, the prohibition of transfers of funds to and from the DPRK, limitations to investments of EU citizens or entities in the country and the prohibition of entering European airspace or European sea ports for aircraft operated by North Korean carriers or originating from the DPRK and vessels owned, operated or crewed by North Korea.
The EU extends sanctions against Syria
The Council decided to extend until 1 June 2017 the restrictive measures in place against the Syrian regime, in conformity with its conclusions of December 2014 in which it reaffirmed that sanctions would remain in place as long as repression continues. The measures include an oil embargo, limitations to investments, the freezing of assets owned in the EU by the Syrian Central Bank and restrictions to the export of equipment and technology that might be used for internal repression. Sanctions against 200 individuals and 70 entities have also been extended.