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#GreekOrthodoxChurch to decide on #Ukraine question



Will the Greeks betray the canons of the Orthodox Church for Tsipras and the US State Department, asks Michael Panagopoulos?

The US Department of State and Phanar have conducted  an active campaign to exert pressure on the government of Greece and the leadership of the Greek Orthodox Church. That is why the consideration of the Ukrainian question announced by October by the Bishops' Council of the Greek Church was postponed to 24 June.

The reason for the rush is the US interest in the early recognition of the Autocephalous Ukrainian Church and their support for Tsipras in early parliamentary elections.

US Ambassador to Athens J.Payett and US State Department Envoy for International Religious Freedom S. Brownback in May this year during meetings with top-level government officials, including Greek Deputy Foreign Minister M.Bolaris, announced Washington’s plans to support the communities of the Hebrew Orthodox Church (EOC) abroad. In exchange, the State Department would like to use the influence of the Greek authorities on the Synod of the EOC to promote Constantinople’s decision on Ukraine.

In the EOC there are two independent commissions which were formed to convince the hierarchy of the legality of the actions of Patriarch Bartholomew, under the leadership of leading theologians - the bishop of the EOC Procopius and a professor at the University of Thessaloniki Vlasios Fidas. Initially, it was planned to complete the work of experts in October 2019.

The heads of the local Orthodox churches do not support the new church structure established in Ukraine by the Patriarch of Constantinople, and in every way delay the adoption of an official decision on the Ukrainian question. In this regard, the US State Department and the Patriarch of Constantinople plan to support the Ukrainian autocephalous project and are giving a priority role in this regard to the Greek Orthodox Church.

If there are early elections, the Alexis Tsipras Government, seeking to win Washington’s support and remain in power, will support the efforts of the United States.

Talks were held between Patriarch Bartholomew and the Primate of the Greek Church, Archbishop Jerome in Athens on May 22 - 24, 2019. Despite the pressure exerted, the head of the EOC stated the primacy of canon law, which requires the compulsory examination of such decisions and their collegial discussion.

The upcoming elections in Greece were also one of the topics discussed at the meeting of US Ambassador to Greece Jeffrey Payette with the delegation of the Order of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate named after them.

Under great combined pressure from the United States, Phanar and the Greek government, on 25 May, the Fidas commission made conclusions confirming the canonical identity of the territory of Ukraine to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as well as the sole right of the Patriarch of Constantinople to provide an autocephaly to their church. Taking into account these findings, consideration of the issue of recognition of the CCP has been submitted to a meeting of the extraordinary Bishops' Council of the Hellas Orthodox Church, scheduled for 24 June.

The established precedent, as conceived by Fanar, will launch a mechanism of corporate solidarity in the Greek Orthodox group and will facilitate the adherence of local churches to the process of recognition. In addition, it will significantly reduce the prospects for the organization of the Pan-Orthodox synagogue to overcome the religious crisis in Ukraine.

Due to the lack of consensus within the Synod of the EOC, whose members are divided into supporters and opponents of Patriarch Bartholomew and fight with each other for influence, Washington’s decision will be supported by the votes of the Patriarch of Constantinople, the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Jerome, as well as individual influential bishops.

We will see whether the US State Department succeeds in embedding the entire Greek Orthodox group into the mainstream of its policy, or whether they will remain with one Patriarch Bartholomew, who fell for them because of his dependent position and difficult financial situation in the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Ultimately, the question is whether high-ranking hierarchs of the EOC dare to deceive the trust of their believers and sell the canons of the Orthodox Church for the sake of an atheistic government and overseas manipulators.


Sustainable transport: EU funds clean buses, electric charging infrastructure and more in France, Germany, Italy and Spain



Following the EU's investment of €2.2 billion in 140 key transport projects to jump-start the green recovery, as announced in July, the EU is contributing additional €54 million to five projects that aim at delivering safer and greener transport services. Among the selection are projects deploying cleaner busses with charging infrastructure in Paris and Barcelona. The projects also involve constructing 255 new electric charging stations on Italian roads, and installing ERTMS, the European Rail Traffic Management System on 238 rail vehicles in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

The projects will be supported through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the EU's financial mechanism supporting transport infrastructure, and further contribute to decarbonizing transport as set out in the European Green Deal. These projects were selected through the CEF Blending Facility, which allows the leveraging of additional private financing for the projects, in addition to the EU's support. In total, CEF has now supported 932 projects, with €23.1bn in total. You can find more details on today's five new selected projects here.

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Security Union: EU law on combatting terrorism led to stronger criminal justice rules against terrorism and more rights for victims



On 30 October, the Commission adopted a report assessing the measures that member states have taken to comply with the EU rules on combating terrorism (Directive 2017/541). This Directive is the main criminal justice instrument at EU level to counter terrorism. It sets minimum standards for defining terrorist and terrorism-related offences and for sanctions, while also giving victims of terrorism rights to protection, support and assistance.

The report concludes that the transposition of the Directive into national law helped strengthen member states' criminal justice approach to terrorism and the rights afforded to victims of terrorism. While the measures taken by member states to comply with the Directive are overall satisfactory, there are however gaps that are a cause for concern.

For example, not all member states criminalize in their national law all the offences listed in the Directive as terrorist offences. In addition, there are deficiencies in the measures that member states have taken to criminalize travel for terrorism purposes and the financing of terrorism, as well as to support victims.

The Commission will continue to support member states in working towards full and correct transposition of the Directive. Where necessary, the Commission will make use of its powers under the Treaties through infringement procedures. The report will now be presented to the European Parliament and the Council.

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European Union joins world leaders in committing to reverse nature loss by 2030 at UN Biodiversity Summit



On 30 September, President Ursula von der Leyen (pictured) represented the EU at the UN Biodiversity Summit in New York which brings together world leaders to step up global actions for nature and confirm their determination in agreeing a new ambitious global biodiversity framework at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, planned for 2021.

Prior to the summit, President von der Leyen, together with more than 70 heads of state and government endorsed the Leaders' Pledge for Nature, committing to ten decisive actions to address the nature emergency. The President pledged to put nature and the climate at the heart of the EU's recovery plan, committing to tackle the interdependent climate and biodiversity crisis, deforestation, ecosystem degradation and pollution, and move to sustainable production and consumption.

President von der Leyen said: “Nature helps us in the fight against climate change. But it is also our ally in securing prosperity, combating poverty, hunger and inequalities, and is essential to prevent future zoonotic pandemics. We need to act now and bring nature back into our lives. This is the moment for world leaders to join hands and the EU is ready to lead the way. The European Green Deal is our vision and roadmap. We call on all to join this collective effort to create a common movement of change, to make the recovery green and to protect and restore our planet - the only home we have.”

The EU Biodiversity Strategy adopted by the European Commission in May 2020 outlines an ambitious agenda for the EU internally, but also globally. It reaffirms the EU's determination to lead by example in tackling the global biodiversity crisis and in developing an ambitious new UN Global Biodiversity Framework at the 2021 UN Biodiversity Conference.

This includes overarching long-term goals for biodiversity so that by 2050 the world's ecosystems are restored, resilient, and adequately protected; ambitious global 2030 targets in line with the EU's proposed commitments; and improved means of implementation in areas such as finance, capacity, research, know-how and technology.

Ahead of the COP 15, the European Commission also launched the global coalition United for #Biodiversity, calling on all national parks, aquariums, botanic gardens, zoos, research centres, science and natural history museums, to join forces and raise their voice about the nature crisis.

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