The future of multilateralism and strategic partnerships (Elena Lazarou)

The current European Commission has set the defence and reform of multilateralism as one of its key priorities. In this ideas paper from the EU Parliament’s Research Service, Elena Lazarou tackles the question of how to achieve the EU’s objective in an environment where coronavirus has exacerbated the struggle to uphold multilateralism in a climate of growing nationalism, protectionism and rising great power competition.

Read more

The weaponisation of the US financial system (Jacque Delors Centre)

Author: Edward Knudsen | Jacque Delors Centre | 4 June 2020 In order to fulfil its ambition to become a credible geopolitical player and to defend its interests and values abroad, it is critical for the EU to be able to withstand extraterritorial sanctions Edward Knudsen argues that European economic autonomy depends on displacing the US from the central role in international finance and recommends a strategy for strengthening the euro as an international currency.

Read more

Europe’s ‘pushback’ on China: recommendations for EU-China relations (Institut Montaigne)

Many EU member states are either internally divided between security circles and economic stakeholders, or fall in one of the following two categories: those having commercial interests in the Chinese market (largely, Northern Europe), and those expecting investment from China (Southern Europe, if not a partly disillusioned Central and Eastern Europe). The growing economic power of China, and Europe’s awkward situation in the US-China trade war, puts enormous pressure on the EU to find a

Read more
Central Europe map

Voices of Central and Eastern Europe: Perceptions of democracy & governance in 10 EU countries (Globsec)

A survey of Central and Eastern European countries exposes the shallow roots of liberal democracy, with significant numbers indicating that they would trade off democratic freedoms for greater security, welfare, and preservation of traditional values. Authors: Dominika Hajdu and Katarina Klingová | Globsec | Published 23 June 2020 Only in 5 of 10 countries surveyed would more than 50% of the respondents choose liberal democracy over an autocratic leader. Globsec’s survey of 10 Central and

Read more

Serbian democracy: a case of state capture? (BCSP)

The Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP) has produced a disturbing report on what it describes as the “deliberate political undertaking in which political actors use the consequences (both real and imagined) of the previous government as justification for the complete capture of the state’s institutions” in Serbia. At a time when the EU is struggling to live up to its core political values, the Serbian government’s commitment to the rule of law and separation

Read more

Lessons from a global crisis: coronavirus, the international order and the future of the EU (Pol Morillas)

By Pol Morillas | The coronavirus crisis may turn out to be a bump in the road for recent international dynamics. After a period of hibernation in the major global economies, perhaps life will return to normal, the storm weathered thanks to stimulus plans, and the world will once again be flat and hyperconnected. Alternatively, coronavirus may be a turning point in the era of globalisation.

Read more

Strategic rivalry between United States and China: causes, trajectories, and implications (SWP)

An insightful paper that seeks a strategy for Europe ‘to escape the bipolar logic that demands it choose between the American and Chinese economic/technological spheres’. The recommendations for Europe should resonate equally in Australia – a country already caught up in the global competition for influence, and likely to be subject to ‘increased pressure from Washington on its allies to take a clear position on the sharpening US-China conflict and clearly side with the United States’.

Read more

DGAP: Deterrence and defense in times of COVID-19 – Europe’s political choices

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Europe is headed for a recession that will dwarf the economic downturn after the 2008 financial crisis. The impact on national defense sectors could be devastating. But as crisis and responses are still in the early stage, governments can still take measures to mitigate the effect on defense. To safeguard political and defense priorities, EU and NATO States need to act jointly and decisively. DGAP Policy Brief No. 9. Published

Read more

Geostrategic shifts in a time of contagion

The COVID-19 crisis will affect the global geostrategic situation in a number of ways: some obvious and some still obscure.

Post COVID-19 economic conditions within nation states and across the globalised world will have shifted; governments will be juggling with the options of austerity policies, tax increases and welfare demands. Liberal and democratic values are likely to have suffered, along with confidence in democratic political leadership. And internationally, competition between political and economic systems might just be heating up.

The future geostrategic situation could turn on whether China or the US bounces back best from the current predicament. The coronavirus could prove to be a test of the resilience and viability of the political and economic systems of the two key states, and reposition their strategic competition.

Read more

EU Parliament Think Tank: The Economy and the Coronavirus

This paper provides a summary of the recent Standard & Poor’s (S&P) economic forecast for the euro area (assessing the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak); some recent analyses of the macroeconomic effects of the coronavirus; and some policy recommendations made in the public domain to mitigate these negative effects. The S&P summary On Thursday, 26 March, the credit-rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) published an economic forecast for the euro area and the UK, assessing

Read more

Frank Hofmann: Coronavirus and the ego trap -individual countries trying to go it alone is totally counterproductive

In a Deutsche Welle opinion piece published 23 March 2020, Frank Hofmann calls for recognition by European and international leaders that multilateral crises cannot be resolved unilaterally; for political leaders to realise that they have an obligation to reverse the relapse into unilateral answers to the coronavirus crisis; and for resistance to the pursuit of policies of discrediting the work of international institutions by nationalists and populists throughout the world. He notes that there was

Read more

Clingendael: The relevance of the Maritime Silk Road for the Netherlands

Chinese investments in European seaports – part of the Maritime Silk Road (MSR) component of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – have increased rapidly in recent years – triggering a debate in Europe on the significance of, and how to deal with, growing Chinese influence in European ports. This report discusses two main questions: What is the relevance of Chinese involvement in European ports for China’s political influence in the European Union? What are the long-term implications for the Netherlands of the Maritime Silk Road, in particular in regard to Chinese involvement in European ports?

Read more

Institut Montaigne: Space – will Europe awaken?

Institut Montaigne continues its study of risks and opportunities for Europe in relation to space affairs. This February 2020 policy paper takes stock of recent trends and issues in the space sector. It analyses Europe’s current position in New Space, highlighting the potential and limits of the space policy pursued by the European Union in recent years and makes five public policy proposals aimed at making Europe a real space power.

Read more

SIEPS: Compatible Interests? The EU and China’s Belt and Road Initiative

China’s economic development and global impact are tilting the economic, political and military balances that have shaped the world since the end of the cold war. One step in China’s global outlook is the comprehensive infrastructure project Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), opening a clear set of crossroads for the EU. Has the EU payed enough attention to the geopolitics? Should the EU focus more on European interests, and not only on norms and values?

Read more

Friends of Europe: Transatlantic defence cooperation in the Trump era

An element of strategic divergence means the US and Europe are currently “not quite watching the same movie on the two sides of the Atlantic”, but there is hope that transatlantic defence industrial cooperation can function better if trade-offs are accepted and we have a shared view of the value of working together as allies says the author of Friends of Europe’s latest report on peace, security and defence.

Read more

Is the United States of America a normal country?

Remarks at the Munich Security Conference by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper are full of unconscious irony.

If ‘the United States’ was substituted for every reference to ‘China’ in each address not much of their coherence would be lost. Can the two premier US leaders of foreign and strategic policy genuinely be so naïve about the current impact of America’s policies on the world order, multilateralism, alliances, and international security?

Read more

Thuringia and European democracy after Merkel

In German politics, a strong party taboo was broken when Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU) joined with the centrist Free Democrat Party (FDP) leader in Thuringia, Thomas Kemmerich, to form a government with the support of the right wing Alternative for Germany (AfD).

The breaking of the taboo might reflect the passing of the generation of Angela Merkel, shaped by the complex social, political and economic legacy of the Nazi past, a divided Germany, post-Soviet national reunification and the emergence of the European Union.

In this article MIke looks at the historical context that gave rise to the “cordon sanitaire” around the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), and the potential signficance of its demise (and Merkel’s retirement) for the European project and geopolitics more broadly. .

Read more