EU Foreign Affairs & Security

A Turning Point: How the EU’s Response Could Change Geopolitics in Eastern Europe

As is well reported on by now, Belarusian authorities ordered a Ryanair flight traveling from Athens to Vilnius to make an emergency landing in Minsk just a few days ago. The flight was accompanied by a MiG-29. Their aim was to arrest dissident journalist Raman Pratasevich, which they brazenly did, and trotted him out to do a coerced speech where he was clearly shaken and physically assaulted. What was even more bizarre was the fact that the Belarusian government blamed Hamas for putting a bomb on the grounded Ryanair flight. Of course, Hamas denied any responsibility. […]

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The Curious Case of Moldova and Its Implications for the Black Sea Region

Back in November, the pro-EU candidate Maia Sandu won the Moldovan race for Prime Minister against pro-Russian incumbent Igor Dodon by a margin of 57.75% of the vote to 42.25%. While not a major event even in European politics, this election could be a bigger sign of a major shift in Moldova from a traditionally stalwart Russian ally to a country with budding EU aspirations, or even possibly reuniting with their Romanian siblings to the West. […]

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Disinformation: One of the Greatest Threats to European Democracies

The automation of the production and circulation of disinformation has never before been so easy and cheap. We now have automated social bots that can rapidly disseminate a post containing disinformation on average more than fifty times a day. However, their role is not limited solely to that; they are also used to rapidly generate ad revenue by directing traffic. We have only recently started to awaken to the consequences of this technology for our societies and democracies. […]

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The Tigray Conflict and the EU Development Funds

Last November, in the Ethiopian region of the Tigray, an ethnic-based political crisis broke out and quickly transformed into a military conflict. The war escalated and several thousands of civilians were killed and many more became displaced. The fighting is likely to significantly impact the unstable political situation present in the Horn of Africa: Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Sudan, as well several ethnic-based conflicts in the region. What could be the role of the EU in such a fragile context? […]

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At the Intersection of Climate Change and International Security

Terrorist attacks and weapons of mass destruction: these are just a few of the threats that come to mind when considering international security. As the United Nations warns of a new climate crisis each week, climate change is deemed as the security threat most pertinent. By threatening resource scarcity and growing global unrest with conflict potential, the climate crisis is consistently growing larger in scale and clearer in outline. […]

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To QMV or Not to QMV? Paths Towards a More Efficient EU Foreign Policy-Making

Many may have missed the news that South Dakota single-handedly stopped the former President Donald Trump from criticising China’s human rights abuses, despite the rest of the country supporting the idea. […]

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Breathing Life Into the Colombian Peace Process? The EU’s Strengths and Weaknesses as a Peacebuilder

The EU is an important promoter of peace in Colombia and has successfully taken on a role as a strong supporter of the implementation of the Peace Agreement. This article highlights the EU’s contributions to the Colombian Peace Process, but it also identifies three problems in the EU’s approach to peacebuilding in the region. […]

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What Trumpism Misses About America’s Transatlantic Comparative Advantage

In the midst of election season in America, the outcome of the election is one of the core issues for European capitals and how it will affect the Transatlantic partnership going forward. Most assume that relations would quickly improve if Joe Biden were to be elected; however, it would still not change many of the challenges that both sides of the Atlantic have to deal with. […]

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The Political Unrest in Mali and the European Union

In June 2020 the Malian population protested against their President, and irregularities in the elections. Two months later, on 18 August 2020 a coup d’état orchestrated by the military led to the arrest and resignation of the president. The political crisis will likely turn into a regional security issue. […]

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Brexit, betrayal and Ireland

For those witnessing the United Kingdom’s spectacular descent into ignominy over the last four years since voting to leave the European Union, Tuesday September 8, 2020 is a date that will not soon be forgotten. On that afternoon, Brandon Lewis (Northern Ireland Secretary of State), speaking from the House of Commons’ despatch box, announced the government’s intention to break international law in pursuit of its Brexit policy. […]

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The devil is in the detail — Can the European army come to life?

The European Union (EU) is versed in the recurring debates regarding the scope of European defence, among them being the creation of a European Army. With the lack of a proper framework, the concept of a united army remains fragile and uncertain. […]

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Terrorism Prevention in the EU

Terrorism is a threat that pervades every value of democratic society, a threat that illuminates the cracks in our security and freedoms in the EU. It is a threat that recognizes no borders and targets anyone regardless of where they call home. […]

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The Foreign Policy Dimension of the Rule of Law Conditionality

A conditionality mechanism in the European Union (EU) budget tied to the rule of law creates important consequences for the EU’s future in several regards. Specifically, one effect that should not be underestimated lies within the field of foreign policy, where the EU depends heavily on its external credibility to exert influence. […]

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Connecting all the dots to create a security ecosystem. Are we witnessing a new approach to European security?

The European Union is operating under the Coronavirus Crisis framework, with most of the public discourse focusing on tackling the effects of the recent health crisis. In this context, the European Commission was able to pull a white rabbit from its hat: a 2020-2025 Security Union Strategy. […]

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The Evolving EU Position on Belarus

In light of the spate of protests following a rigged election in Belarus, its citizens have taken to the streets enmasse to protest its outcome. The numbers are estimated to be in the tens of thousands, and they only seem to be getting stronger. Amidst all of the chaos, the EU still does not have a clear position, nor does the US who is still on the sidelines. […]

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Poland, Hungary and the Rule of Law

Give no respect, get no money. This seems to be the new and strongest stance so far adopted by EU institutions in the face of countries violating the rule of law. Yet, is this a true commitment or mere window dressing? It would appear that, in the hierarchy of EU issues, rule-of-law violations have been put aside by the Covid-19 pandemic, the following economic downturn and the impending climate crisis. […]

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The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the Water Diplomacy of the European Union

In 2007 Ethiopia launched the “Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam” [GERD], a $4.5 billion project. Once completed, the project is supposed to be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa and the seventh largest in the world. With construction work almost completed, on 07th July 2020, the water reservoir was scheduled to start. […]

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International Security after the Coronavirus Pandemic: A Case for Multilateralism

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to unearth the fault lines in our global security, and not only in the countries already grappling with preexisting conditions. The security threats between nations are taking center stage as the world struggles to adapt to the new normal, causing mass instability in countries that until now did not appear wrought with fragility. […]

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How the Union-State of Belarus and Russia affects the European Union

The impact of a Union-State between Russia and Belarus may not seem all that significant to Europeans at first glance. However, the secondary and tertiary effects could completely change the security dynamic on the Eastern flank of the EU – all of which are members of NATO. […]

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EU Response to Online Disinformation: Between Strategic Communication and Societal Resilience

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” The 2008 catch phrase of Rahm Emanuel, chief of staff of former U.S. president Barack Obama, is particularly relevant to the mounting phenomenon of online disinformation. […]

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The European Union and Debt Relief for African Countries

During the Covid-19 pandemic, talks and discussions around African debt cancellation, or relief, became current and debated internationally. The crisis impact on African economies could lead to a slow down in growth of 1.8 percent in the best-case scenario, or a contraction of 2.6 percent in the worst case. […]

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Tensions Brewing Over EU’s Eastern Mediterranean Neighbourhood

There is a conflict brewing over the Eastern Mediterranean with a potential to escalate beyond the diplomatic battlefield. The issue at hand involves the Libya – Turkey maritime boundary treaty between the Turkish government and Libya’s UN recognised Government of National Accord, which has officially been referred to the United Nations for approval. […]

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The currency change in the ECOWAS countries and the future of the EU influence

On the 20th of May 2020, the French Council of Ministers adopted a resolution to end the involvement in the West African CFA franc. The decision implied that the Central Bank in Paris renounced any monetary governance on the former colonies in West Africa. […]

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EU-Budget Constraints and the Broken Dream of European Defence Integration

The Covid-19 pandemic has caught everyone’s attention on governments’ and EU institutions’ efforts to contain the spread of the virus and promote economic recovery. But remember that not so old dream (or nightmare?) of a more sovereign Europe on defence matters? […]

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Extremism in the EU: Social Ramifications of COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has erupted a void in both the EU and the US that extremists are clamoring to fill. Conspiracy theorists, white supremacists, anti-vaxxers, and anti-refugee groups alike have become extraordinarily vocal during the pandemic and have used the crisis to push their political agendas while the world is seized with uncertainty and trauma. […]

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The US Should Not Only Support EU Defense Integration It Should Help Shape It

President Trump’s constant grievance with NATO is that America’s European allies do not carry their fair share in terms of defense spending. This, however, has been a long-standing issue in the alliance and previous Presidents have also urged NATO members to up their defense spending, including President Obama and President Bush. […]

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EU, China and Hong Kong: Why it is (not) All About the Money

“The EU expresses its grave concern at the steps taken by China on 28 May, which are not in conformity with its international commitments,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Friday 29 May after chairing a video conference of EU foreign ministers. The EU top diplomat was referring to China’s decision to impose a strict new national security law on Hong Kong. […]

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Post Covid-19: Can EU – Western Balkans Cooperation Prevail Over Chinese Competition?

The pandemic we are currently experiencing has had a strong impact on numerous countries around the world. The twenty-seven EU Member States are no exception. The European Union is currently trying to respond to the internal crisis as a result of COVID-19, mainly by providing instruments to combat the economic recession that has followed in wake of the pandemic. […]

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Time for the EU to Step in Amid Failing U.S. Foreign Policy in Kosovo

“The Western Balkans belong in the EU” – this statement was made by European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during the recent EU-Western Balkans summit held on May 6th. The Zagreb Declaration reaffirms the EU’s “unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans”, highlighting increasing calls for strong solidarity with these nations in regard to the coronavirus pandemic. […]

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The Corona Presidency

A few weeks ago, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas made clear that the highly anticipated German Council Presidency will turn into a “Corona Presidency”. Meaning that, Germany’s carefully planned agenda will be dominated by ambitious new tasks to overcome the pandemic and tackle the socio-economic consequences of the crisis. […]

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