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Updated: 4 hours 47 min ago
The European People's Party at a congress in Dublin on Friday elected Jean-Claude Juncker as their lead candidate for the European Commission presidency. Out of the 629 votes cast, Juncker got 382, while his challenger, EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier, received 245. Two votes were annulled.
The European People's Party adopted its elections manifesto Friday, speaking against a "centralised Europe that deals with every detail of people's lives." The EPP calls for a more "prudent" EU enlargement policy and says EU citizens should only have social benefits if they worked in the country they live in.
Leaders of EU centre-right parties (EPP), including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on Friday adopted an "emergency resolution" calling on Russia to stop and withdraw its troops from Ukraine or face further "targeted measures." They said Ukraine "has a European perspective and may apply to become a member of the EU."
Russian EU ambassador Chizhov has scorned the bloc's decision to freeze talks on visa-free travel, telling Itar-Tass the talks were de facto frozen "a long while ago." He noted the decision to sign the political part of an EU treaty with Ukraine leaves out the "substantive, economic part"on free trade.
EU leaders agreed Thursday to call on Russia to immediately withdraw troops from Ukraine, to allow international monitors and said a referendum on the future status of Crimea would be illegal. Additional measures will be taken if Russia and Ukraine don't find solutions within a limited time-frame, their statement said.
Nato chief Rasmussen told Ukraine PM Yatsenyuk Thursday the alliance will "step up our engagement with Ukraine’s political and military leadership" and "strengthen our efforts to build the capacity of the Ukrainian military, including with more joint training and exercises." The statement comes after Russian troops occupied Ukraine's Crimea region.