PD News headlines looked back on the diplomatic fails and breakthroughs of 2016 thus far. 

In an effort to better Greece's international image, the country's Department of Foreign Affairs has stated it will strengthen ties with the Greek diaspora to fend off the stigma of 'Grexit' to a more appropriate 'Greform' (Greek reform), following the effects of its economic crisis.

The President Suñol Box at the Camp Nou had some very special guests today in the form of the regional, state, European and Latin American MPs that are in Barcelona to monitor Sunday’s elections to the Catalan Parliament. FC Barcelona has formed part of the Council for Public Diplomacy in Catalonia (DIPLOCAT), [...] to inform the outside world about Catalonia and at same time raise its profile internationally.

China’s overall economic and strategic interests now seem to go hand in hand with a willingness to engage with Europe culturally.This move beyond economics and normal diplomacy towards ‘a meeting of minds and souls’ is taking place at a time when China itself has entered a new phase of internal growth, one which has made the question of culture and soft power a core strategic priority for the country’s future growth and prosperity.

“The E.U. has helped. Latvians want to fit in,” said a Latvian gay rights activist who helped organize this year’s parade.The tug-of-war over gay rights has taken on special significance after a recent string of U.S. court decisions upholding gay marriage. Caitlyn Jenner’s very public transition from her old life as Bruce, meanwhile, has thrown a spotlight on transgender issues and acceptance.

This year we celebrate the 40th anniversary of EU-China diplomatic relations, with joint events and initiatives in education, research, youth and culture - both in China and in the EU. A central part of EU-China relations are personal contacts. That is why the EU-China high level people-to-people dialogue, launched in 2012, is so important. It brings people together, allowing us to discuss common challenges and to deepen mutual understanding and friendship, while fully respecting our differences.

Britain’s foreign aid budget must be used to “discourage mass migration”, the Defence Secretary has said. Michael Fallon said that foreign aid spending “should be used” to help prevent conflicts breaking out in African countries in order to prevent refugees fleeing to Europe. He said that it would stop the UK military having to “fish people out of the Mediterranean” when they try to escape from their home countries.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), armed with non-factual information and an anti-Russian agenda, might potentially add fuel to the fire and make the already unsteady relations between Europe and Russia even worse.

During a plenary session in Strasburg on Wednesday, MEPs came up with a tough resolution, calling the EU to re-consider its relations with Russia in the context of the Ukrainian crisis.