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EU to expand sanctions against Russia over Ukraine

The European Union agreed at a meeting of foreign ministers Monday to expand the scope of asset freezes and visa bans against Russian officials in the wake of heightening tensions in eastern Ukrainian cities. The EU council also warned that any further steps by Moscow to destabilize the situation in Ukraine would lead to far reaching consequences in a broad range of economic areas between EU members and the Russian Federation.

Xi goes to Belgian factory on last leg of Europe tour

Winding up an 11-day visit to Europe taking in mega business deals and stately banquets, President Xi Jinping toured China's biggest Belgian factory Tuesday, a Volvo car plant. And before flying home he gave a keynote speech to 300 students and VIPs including Belgium's royal couple, calling for ever deeper bonds between China and Europe, who together make up a quarter of the world's population and represent a third of the world economy.

Xi visit sets 'landmark' in EU-China ties

Chinese leader Xi Jinping, on the last leg of a maiden tour of Europe, on Monday made a ground-breaking visit to European Union headquarters underlining China's bid to firm up bilateral ties. "This first visit by a Chinese president to the EU was a historic landmark in EU-China relations," a joint EU-China statement said. "Both sides... welcomed the significant strengthening of bilateral ties over the last 40 years."

European Union signs landmark association agreement with Ukraine

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union and Ukraine's interim government signed a political association agreement on Friday, committing to the same deal former president Viktor Yanukovich rejected last November, a move that lead to his overthrow. The EU's 28 leaders and interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk signed the core chapters of the Association Agreement on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels, officials who witnessed the ceremony told Reuters.

European Union signs landmark association agreement with Ukraine

By Adrian Croft BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union and Ukraine signed the core elements of a political association agreement on Friday, committing to the same deal former president Viktor Yanukovich rejected last November, a move which led to his overthrow. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, EU leaders Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso, and the leaders of the bloc's 28 nations signed the core chapters of the Association Agreement on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels.

Ukraine crisis hampers EU's Central African Republic mission

By Adrian Croft BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The Ukraine crisis is hampering the European Union's plans to send a peacekeeping force to Central African Republic because nervous eastern European countries want to keep their troops at home rather than send them to Africa, diplomats said on Friday.

EU diplomats preparing next level of sanctions on Russia

By Luke Baker BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is preparing to impose travel bans, asset freezes and other restrictions on Russia for its failure to "de-escalate" the crisis in Crimea, officials said on Monday. While the formal decision to impose the sanctions is only expected to be taken when EU foreign ministers next meet on March 17, preparations on the measures have already started.

Swiss government will draft law on immigration curbs by year-end

BERN (Reuters) - The Swiss government said on Wednesday it will draw up a draft law to limit immigration by the end of the year, after Swiss voters narrowly backed proposals to curtail the number of migrants from the European Union. Switzerland risks losing its privileged access to the European single market following the successful vote spearheaded by the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) to reintroduce quotas, which has also unsettled businesses.

EU gives green light to opening negotiations on agreement with Cuba

Brussels, Feb 10 (EFE).- The Council of Foreign Ministers of the European Union on Monday approved opening negotiations on a political dialogue and cooperation agreement with Cuba to deepen relations, accompany the reforms undertaken by the communist regime and foster greater respect for human rights in that country. "These negotiations will help consolidate our engagement with Cuba. I hope Cuba will take up this offer," the EU's top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, said in a statement.

Swiss immigration vote impact on EU ties

Switzerland's vote to end mass immigration threatens to sink a series of accords with the European Union crucial to the country's economy after the bloc pledged to review "relations as a whole." Geographically, Switzerland sits at the heart of the 28-member EU, which accounts for the bulk of its trade. But it opted not to become a member given its longstanding tradition of international neutrality. Instead it negotiated accords to deepen economic ties, among them signing up to allow free movement of its and EU citizens.
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