“The EU is concerned at curbs on freedom of expression Azerbaijan” following the approval of the Criminal Code, which will establish punitive measures against slander and insult on the internet, said a joint statement issued yesterday by the spokespersons of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle.
“The EU has repeatedly expressed its strong conviction that criminal defamation laws are counterproductive. Experience suggests that civil remedies allow justice to be pursued effectively and transparently in cases of alleged slander or insult,” the statement said.
It added that 2013 was an important election year for Azerbaijan, reminding that the country which has committed to improve the general environment for democratic elections. “One of the preconditions for creating an open platform for democratic competition is freedom of expression in all forms of public media,” they said.
“The High Representative and the Commissioner call upon the Azerbaijani authorities to create an open space for a pluralistic debate and to engage with the international community in order to meet its voluntarily agreed international commitments. The EU renews its readiness to assist Azerbaijan in this process,” the statement concluded. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
Environmental problems know no borders, making cooperation between the EU and its neighbours essential in meeting the challenges of preserving the natural environment. On the eve of World Environment Day, 5 June, the EU Neighbourhood Info Centre has released a package of material highlighting EU actions to protect the environment in the neighbourhood, including new video material, updated press packs, and a photo gallery illustrating EU support to the environment.
In the south, a 3-minute news video in English and Arabic highlights the EU’s commitment to meet the environmental challenge around the shared Mediterranean sea, and its implementation through a number of projects and initiatives.
In the east, a 1.5-minute photo-story highlights the achievements of an EU-funded waste management project in Ukraine.
The updated press packs highlight the importance of environmental issues to EU policy in the eastern and southern neighbourhoods, and showcase areas of EU support, through projects, programmes and funding initiatives, with links to material of further interest.
World Environment Day, 5 June, is an annual event aimed at being the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. The World Environment Day celebration began in 1972 and has grown to become one of the main vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action. (EU Neighbourhood Info)