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This edition of State of the Union highlighted the divisions within the EU over various global issues. One of the main points of contention was the decision by the International Criminal Court to seek arrest warrants against Israel’s prime minister and defense chief, as well as three Hamas leaders. Reactions to this decision varied across EU member states, with some welcoming it and others rebuking it. Ireland and Spain, along with Norway, moved to recognize Palestine as an independent state, emphasizing the importance of keeping the hope for a two-state solution alive.

While there is some unity among European countries regarding the conflict in Ukraine, there have been delays in making decisions on arms shipments to support the country. As Russia increases its offensive in the north-east, Ukraine has called for increased air defense support from Western allies. Germany’s foreign minister emphasized the need to boost Ukraine’s air defenses to counter the relentless Russian attacks. Moldova, situated between EU and NATO member Romania and Ukraine, signed a defense partnership with Brussels to strengthen its ties with the EU as it moves closer to joining the bloc.

Moldova, a former Soviet republic, has long been the target of Russian disinformation and propaganda aimed at undermining its European integration efforts. The country is set to begin formal talks on joining the EU, with the Moldovan public viewing EU membership as a crucial development plan since independence. Russian propaganda efforts in Moldova have intensified since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, targeting vulnerabilities in the country to hinder its independence and development. The upcoming constitutional referendum and elections in October will have a significant impact on Moldova’s future, with pro-European forces facing off against pro-Russian parties and media.

As the Allies prepare to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day in June 2024, the British Royal Mint unveiled a commemorative coin to honor the soldiers who participated in the operation. The coin features soldiers disembarking from a landing craft, symbolizing the bravery and sacrifices made during the liberation of Europe from the Nazis in June 1944. The coin’s design was recreated in Normandy on Gold Beach, where a sand art installation measuring 35 meters served as a reminder of the allied troops’ courage. The commemorative coin stands as a permanent tribute to the fallen and surviving veterans of D-Day and Operation Overlord.

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