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Qatar: Rising tension in the Gulf

09-06-2017

On 5 June 2017, several Arab nations, including Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), simultaneously announced that they were severing ties with Qatar, a fellow member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Accusing Qatar of supporting and financing 'terrorism and extremism' in the region, the above countries announced that they would halt all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, expel its diplomats and ask Qatari citizens to leave their territory within 14 days. Oil prices ...

On 5 June 2017, several Arab nations, including Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), simultaneously announced that they were severing ties with Qatar, a fellow member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Accusing Qatar of supporting and financing 'terrorism and extremism' in the region, the above countries announced that they would halt all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, expel its diplomats and ask Qatari citizens to leave their territory within 14 days. Oil prices rose initially as markets responded nervously to the worst crisis to involve the GCC since its creation in 1981, but then dropped again. Any escalation in the crisis would likely lead to more sustained increases in oil and gas prices.

Georgia: European engagement in an unstable environment

20-02-2017

Georgia is one of the European Union's advanced partners in the Eastern Partnership region. Following the Rose Revolution of 2003, the Georgian government implemented radical reforms to promote democratisation, step up the fight against corruption and liberalise the economy. However, the government's top-down approach, the 2008 war with Russia and the global economic crisis of 2009 propelled the opposition coalition, Georgian Dream, to electoral victory in 2012 and once again in 2016. The fact that ...

Georgia is one of the European Union's advanced partners in the Eastern Partnership region. Following the Rose Revolution of 2003, the Georgian government implemented radical reforms to promote democratisation, step up the fight against corruption and liberalise the economy. However, the government's top-down approach, the 2008 war with Russia and the global economic crisis of 2009 propelled the opposition coalition, Georgian Dream, to electoral victory in 2012 and once again in 2016. The fact that, once ousted from power, the ruling party – United National Movement – did not disband but went into opposition is exceptional in the context of the Eastern Partnership countries and a sign of democratic consolidation. Since 2012, Georgian Dream has largely adhered to its policy of seeking closer links with the EU and carrying out reforms, albeit at a slower pace. Nevertheless, the government has been criticised for politicising the judiciary, especially when dealing with the opposition. Since the war between them in 2008, Georgia and Russia have had few contacts with each other at international level; nevertheless, the situation has improved in economic terms, not least because of the Georgian Dream coalition's pragmatic orientation towards Russia. However, the latter still supports the two separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and there is no improvement in this regard. In 2014, Georgia and the EU signed an association agreement, and Georgians are expected to soon be able to travel visa-free to the EU.

Russia’s National Security Strategy and Military Doctrine and their Implications for the EU

01-02-2017

The European Union sees its relationship with Russia as a ‘key strategic challenge’. Its members are alarmed by Russia’s violations of international commitments and increased military activity in Europe. Russian recently updated basic strategic documents are full of indications about Moscow’s world vision and security concerns. They indirectly point to a tension between Russia’s internal (economic, demographic, societal) weaknesses and its claim to be recognized as one of the ‘centers of influence ...

The European Union sees its relationship with Russia as a ‘key strategic challenge’. Its members are alarmed by Russia’s violations of international commitments and increased military activity in Europe. Russian recently updated basic strategic documents are full of indications about Moscow’s world vision and security concerns. They indirectly point to a tension between Russia’s internal (economic, demographic, societal) weaknesses and its claim to be recognized as one of the ‘centers of influence’ in the emerging multipolar world order. The West, including the EU, is clearly perceived as the major challenger to both Russia’s great power ambition and security. At the same time, various indicators suggest that Moscow is probably not fully confident that it will obtain a gratifying role in the emerging new international landscape. All this has led Russia to rely massively on its restored military capabilities, while pursuing a very active diplomacy, in which the relative importance of the EU has declined in recent years. The EU nonetheless has an important role to play in promoting the second engine of the ‘double-track Russia strategy’ that the West (the EU, NATO, the United States) has been pursuing –– strengthening defenses on the one hand, pursuing dialogue and cooperative engagement on the other hand.

Parlamendiväline autor

Isabelle FACON (Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique - FRS, Paris, France)

Turkey and Syria: A struggle on two fronts

15-01-2016

After an ill-received attempt to mediate between the parties, Ankara took sides against Assad's regime. The Turkish government is increasingly involved in the fight against the self-proclaimed 'Islamic State' – ISIL/Da'esh, but remains firmly opposed to a role for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the post-war arrangement. The conflict has serious implications for Turkey, home to more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees. Against this backdrop, the EU and Turkey are trying to forge a new partnership ...

After an ill-received attempt to mediate between the parties, Ankara took sides against Assad's regime. The Turkish government is increasingly involved in the fight against the self-proclaimed 'Islamic State' – ISIL/Da'esh, but remains firmly opposed to a role for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the post-war arrangement. The conflict has serious implications for Turkey, home to more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees. Against this backdrop, the EU and Turkey are trying to forge a new partnership in response to the migrant crisis.

Cyber diplomacy: Confidence-building measures

28-10-2015

The growing importance of internet-enabled platforms for delivery of government, financial, and public services makes them one of the key priorities for national security. Over recent years, state, state-sponsored and non-state actors (i.e. terrorist organisations, organised crime groups) alike have resorted to intrusive techniques to gain the economic, political or security upper hand over their competitors and adversaries. The evolving landscape of threats, and challenges linked to attribution ...

The growing importance of internet-enabled platforms for delivery of government, financial, and public services makes them one of the key priorities for national security. Over recent years, state, state-sponsored and non-state actors (i.e. terrorist organisations, organised crime groups) alike have resorted to intrusive techniques to gain the economic, political or security upper hand over their competitors and adversaries. The evolving landscape of threats, and challenges linked to attribution of attacks to specific perpetrators, have further increased the risks of misunderstanding and misperception of operations in cyberspace. Against this background, a number of international and regional organisations in Europe, Asia and Latin America have embarked on the process of developing confidence-building measures in cyberspace, with a focus on improving communication and information exchange, transparency and verification, cooperation and restraint measures. While these are welcome, there is growing concern that the nascent global 'cyber stability regime' may be undermined by diverging concepts, methods and measures elaborated within these diverse frameworks. The European Union has embraced the peaceful development of cyberspace as one of its key priorities in the EU Cybersecurity Strategy. It contributes actively to the ongoing debates about norms, provides support to regional confidence-building processes, and pursues the objective of a stable, safe and secure cyberspace by providing funding for capacity building in partner countries.

Cuba, the USA and the EU: Forging Closer Ties, Looking to the Future

30-09-2015

On 1 July 2015, Cuba and the United States of America (USA) re-established formal diplomatic links, the culmination so far of the ground-breaking changes that have taken place in relations between the two countries since December 2014. At the same time, relations between Cuba and the EU are enjoying unprecedented momentum. The change in Cuba-US relations and the strengthening of the EU's links with Cuba represent two processes that are different in nature and scope. Despite the changes in US-Cuba ...

On 1 July 2015, Cuba and the United States of America (USA) re-established formal diplomatic links, the culmination so far of the ground-breaking changes that have taken place in relations between the two countries since December 2014. At the same time, relations between Cuba and the EU are enjoying unprecedented momentum. The change in Cuba-US relations and the strengthening of the EU's links with Cuba represent two processes that are different in nature and scope. Despite the changes in US-Cuba relations, full 'normalisation' remains a distant prospect, mostly due to the US economic embargo against Cuba which is likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future. In contrast, the EU and its Member States – which have full diplomatic, economic and cooperation relations with Cuba – have moved closer than at any time before to the conclusion of a Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) with Cuba. Both the US government and the EU recognise that stronger links with Cuba will not spark any immediate transformation of the country or lead to rapid political changes or democratic opening. In this regard, the policies to promote closer relations with Cuba, including the conclusion of an EU-Cuba PDCA, could be characterised as an investment in the future.

Cuba: Political situation

22-09-2015

Although Raúl Castro has introduced some (mainly economic) reforms, the Communist Party remains in control and the political system seems unlikely to change substantially until he retires in 2018. However, the latest developments may facilitate a gradual transformation in the longer term.

Although Raúl Castro has introduced some (mainly economic) reforms, the Communist Party remains in control and the political system seems unlikely to change substantially until he retires in 2018. However, the latest developments may facilitate a gradual transformation in the longer term.

The Increasing Role of the EU's Culture, Education and Science Diplomacy in Asia

24-06-2015

During the last decades, technological changes and globalisation have altered international relations. Just as the growth of telecommunications and transport technologies has facilitated the rapid dissemination of information and the global movement of people, traditional diplomacy has gradually grown to incorporate new methods, in which people-to-people contacts, networks and non-state actors play an influential role. The EU engages in cultural, education and scientific cooperation activities with ...

During the last decades, technological changes and globalisation have altered international relations. Just as the growth of telecommunications and transport technologies has facilitated the rapid dissemination of information and the global movement of people, traditional diplomacy has gradually grown to incorporate new methods, in which people-to-people contacts, networks and non-state actors play an influential role. The EU engages in cultural, education and scientific cooperation activities with most Asian countries, and particularly with China, India, Japan and South Korea. Yet despite the diverse outreach efforts of the EU Delegations across Asia, and despite the increasing number of Asian students coming to study and research in Europe, knowledge of the EU remains scant in Asia.

Cuba: foreign policy and security aspects

17-04-2015

Having improved economic, trade and military ties with a large number of countries, Cuba is now focusing on the recent breakthrough in its strained relations with the United States. In terms of national security, lack of finances continues to constrain Cuba's armed forces.

Having improved economic, trade and military ties with a large number of countries, Cuba is now focusing on the recent breakthrough in its strained relations with the United States. In terms of national security, lack of finances continues to constrain Cuba's armed forces.

Actions of the African Union against coups d'état

04-03-2015

Created with the objective of promoting democracy and good governance, the African Union has succeeded in creating a robust normative framework and a consistent policy for dealing with coups d’état, which have affected many African countries since their independence. However, the implementation of this policy has not been without difficulties, since there is a need to further improve the efficacy and consistency of the AU’s decisions and hone its normative tools for the handling of more complex cases ...

Created with the objective of promoting democracy and good governance, the African Union has succeeded in creating a robust normative framework and a consistent policy for dealing with coups d’état, which have affected many African countries since their independence. However, the implementation of this policy has not been without difficulties, since there is a need to further improve the efficacy and consistency of the AU’s decisions and hone its normative tools for the handling of more complex cases.

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