Slovenia hosts diplomatic conference to adopt MLA Convention

Ljubljana (STA) – Slovenia is hosting a diplomatic conference from 15 to 26 May to adopt the Convention on International Cooperation in the Investigation and Prosecution of Genocide, Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes and Other International Crimes (MLA Convention). The convention, which will fill legal gaps in the investigation and prosecution of the most serious international crimes and be the first international treaty to be named after Ljubljana, is expected to be adopted at the conference.

It will be the largest diplomatic conference ever hosted by Slovenia. It brings together some 250 experts in the field of international public and criminal law from 79 countries that support the initiative for the MLA. Slovenia is leading the initiative for the convention, together with the Netherlands, Belgium, Argentina, Mongolia and Senegal.

At the opening of the conference, the participants were addressed by, among others, Slovenian Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon and Minister of Justice Dominika Švarc Pipan, Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib, Dutch Minister of Justice Dilan Yesilgöz-Zegerius and International Criminal Court (ICC) Judge Kimberly Prost.

If approved at the conference, the MLA Convention will be the first major treaty on international criminal law adopted since the Rome Statute in 1998. The Netherlands will be the depositary of the convention, which will also be named after the Slovenian capital. (May 15)

Zelensky thanks Germany – Scholz reluctant on fighter jets

Berlin/Aachen (dpa) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has thanked Germany for its help in the defensive struggle against the Russian attack.

On his first visit to Berlin since the invasion, he also asked for support in the delivery of modern fighter jets. Ukraine was working in European capitals to “create a fighter jet coalition”, Zelensky said on Sunday at a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Chancellery in Berlin. He also asked Germany to support Ukraine in this coalition. Russia dominated the airspace. This should be changed.

Scholz, cautious about this, said that Germany had supplied Ukraine with a great deal already. “Especially in terms of air defence, we provided very modern and effective weapons such as the Patriot system and the Iris-T.” Germany, he said, was focusing on supporting the defence campaign. After the United States, Germany was the second largest supporter of Ukraine, he added. “We will continue to do so.” Again, Scholz assured, “we will support you as long as it will be necessary.”

Charlemagne Prize for Zelensky in Aachen

In Aachen, Zelensky and the Ukrainian people were later awarded the Charlemagne Prize for their services to the unity of Europe. In his laudation, Scholz said that the award ceremony was a prelude to further coalescence in Europe. In addition to Ukraine, he also mentioned the countries of the Western Balkans, Moldova and, in perspective, Georgia. Scholz assured Zelensky, “Ukraine has our full support on its way into the European Union.” Ukraine was “part of our European family,” he said. (May 14)

French PM says there is “no pause at all” in France’s climate ambition

Saint-Paul (Reunion Island, France) – French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne said that there was “no pause at all in the climate ambition” of France, after controversial statements were made by Emmanuel Macron, calling for a halt in the formulation of new environmental standards in Europe.

Macron called for “a European regulatory pause” on environmental standards, saying the European Union had done “more than all its neighbours” and was now “in need of stability.”

These comments have aroused the anger of environmental leaders and activists in France and raised questions in Brussels.

Referring to the “Green Deal”, during a visit to Saint-Paul on the French island of Réunion, Borne said that “this legislation is ambitious, it allows us to meet our objectives. Now we have to work on implementing it and this is already a very important task,” she added, asserting that it was not useful to “add standards to standards.” (May 13)

Connecting the capital cities of the Western Balkans by rail

Sarajevo (FENA) – Director of the Belgrade-based Transport Community (TC), Matej Zakonjšek, said that the main task of the Transport Community was to return the railway to where it belonged, and that is why they are working on establishing passenger connections between the main cities of the Balkans.

The Transport Community is an international organisation founded in 2017 with the aim of developing the transport network between the European Union and the countries of Southeast Europe. Members of the TC are the European Union and six countries of the Western Balkans, namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia.

“Currently, we have only one connection between Belgrade and Bar, and our goal is to establish a connection between Sarajevo and Zagreb, as well as between Sarajevo and Ploče, and for it to function as a standard offer,” Zakonjšek emphasised.

He says there is money for improving the quality of the transport service, because the European Commission has defined it in the investment plan. As for the price of each of the projects, it depends on the standard that is to be achieved in terms of, for example, electrification, speed, and so on.

The Secretary of the Ministry of Communications and Transport of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor Pejić, said this should help decision makers to determine solutions in the direction of integration into the European railway system. Therefore, it was necessary to monitor the trends in which Bosnia and Herzegovina was lagging behind.

The European Community adopted rules on railways 30 years ago and the transport policy is one of the common policies of the European Union, considering that transport knows no borders. (May 11)

This is a compilation of the European coverage of enr news agencies. It is published Tuesdays and Fridays. The content is an editorial selection based on news by the respective agency.