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Gavin Hewitt, Europe editor

Gavin Hewitt Europe editor

This is where you will find my view of the big arguments over Europe, its politics and its personalities

A peace project at a time of war

2 September 2014
An armed pro-Russian separatist stands next to an APC in the city of Donetsk
Europe is struggling to react to the emerging reality of "New Russia" in Ukraine

At last Saturday's summit in Brussels the EU's new foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that, at heart, the European Union was a "peace project".

It is often defended with those words but now it is a "peace project" at a time of war. The known world is receding. And Europe is struggling to adjust to that new reality.

Others too are having to react to a Russian president who speaks of Novorossiya, of the unknown and ill-defined country of New Russia.

So on his way to the Nato summit in Wales, President Obama will on Wednesday divert to the Estonian capital Tallinn.

There he will reassure the increasingly anxious Baltic states and Poland that they can depend on Nato guarantees.

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Eurozone anxiety overshadows EU summit

29 August 2014
Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk attends a parliamentary meeting in Warsaw, 29 August 2014
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk is a front runner for the role of European Council president

In the midst of cascading international crises, Europe's leaders are set to meet for an unusual Saturday summit.

The meeting has long been in the diary and its agenda is to decide on two of the EU's top jobs.

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France and the shadow of the euro

26 August 2014
French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech in the rain on the Ile de Sein, an island located near the Pointe-du-Raz, off the Brittany coast, on 25 August 2014.
Francois Hollande's popularity is the lowest for a French president in more than 50 years

President Francois Hollande has been overseeing the creation of his third cabinet in two years.

The resignation of his government on Monday was partly due to feuding, personal ambition, and the divisions between centre-left politicians and socialists.

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Europe: All change on Iraq

21 August 2014
Yazidi children in Angers in western France hold placards in support of their community in Iraq (20 August 2014)
France, home to Yazidi refugees and a large Kurdish community, is calling for an international conference

In just a few days in August everything changed. Or that is how it seems in Europe. The language of politics is different.

French President Francois Hollande said: "I believe the international situation is the worst we've seen since 2001" and the 9/11 attacks on New York.

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EU tackles crises in Iraq and Ukraine

15 August 2014
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, 14 Aug 14
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have prevented IS militants from reaching Irbil

EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels have broadly welcomed moves by some European countries to provide military material to the Kurds.

The agreement only recognised reality. The French are already supplying weapons.

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Eurozone crisis: The grim economic reality

14 August 2014
Barbed wire hung over the ECB logo in Frankfurt as part of an installation (7 August 2014)
The European Central Bank can expect more pressure as clouds continue to gather over the EU economy

Over recent weeks, the French government has been saying it would "tell the French the truth" about the economy. A new reality is dawning.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin has spoken of Europe's "economic malaise". After another quarter of zero growth in France, he has admitted that the government's previous forecast of 1% growth this year is impossible to reach.

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Ukraine conflict: EU squeezes Russia

Russian oil tanker - file pic
Russia's vast oil industry is likely to be affected by the new sanctions

EU ambassadors are likely today to adopt economic sanctions against Russia.

Up until now they have targeted individuals and companies for travel bans and a freeze of assets. The list has grown to 87 people and 18 entities. New names from President Vladimir Putin's inner circle are being added.

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About Gavin

Gavin was special correspondent for BBC News before becoming Europe editor in 2009.

He covered the Obama campaign in 2008 and was embedded with US forces for the invasion of Iraq.

He has written two books including A Soul On Ice.

He has won an RTS, a BAFTA and a Broadcast award.

He has covered conflicts in Georgia, Lebanon and Zimbabwe and reported from New York after 9/11. He was in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and was in Berlin the night the wall fell.

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