Weekly News Review - European Union Security Watch spot

04.01.2021 – 10.01.2021

The first round of the North Atlantic Council meetings should focus on the significant role of the U.S. in the transatlantic alliance. For the U.S. it is an opportunity to clarify their foreign policy priorities towards European countries since confidence building between the two sides of the Atlantic is necessary in order to safeguard their mutual interests. At the same time, for the E.U., maintaining a “wait and see” approach is no longer an option regarding its policy towards a Russia that continues to pursue an aggressive foreign policy as to re-establish its place as a global player striving to resurrect its sphere of influence. Accordingly, some strategic lines for action that the E.U. could adopt include: passive containment, active containment and gradual synchronised relaxation.

In the context of EU-Africa relations, designating culture as a critical factor in preserving human rights, the rule of law and peace, is vital, according to the HR/VP, Josep Borrell, in order to support the alliance between the E.U. and African countries. Concerning the COVID-19 vaccine, the E.U. should enable African countries which are willing to produce the vaccine by themselves. Otherwise, China will be ready to reap geopolitical gain via vaccine diplomacy, at the expense of European interests, by providing Chinese-produced vaccines as an alternative to the expensive European-produced ones. At the same time, the close military cooperation between China and Serbia is a typical example of the Chinese attempt to increase influence on Europe, which constitutes a significant challenge for E.U. security.

As regards EU-Turkey relations, the spokesman for Turkey’s ruling party, Ömer Çelik, made harsh statements arguing that whoever in the European Union speaks against Turkey actually seeks to destroy Europe’s future. He added that Turkish leaders recently reiterated the country’s candidacy for membership in the bloc, and relations between the two parts can improve this year, if the E.U. takes steps that show respect to the Turkish Republic. At the same time, Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlut Cavusoglu, advocated that Turkey will continue developing its relationship with the E.U. and “maintain its position in favor of dialogue and diplomacy.” Moreover, he stated that “Turkey will continue working with Spain on some international issues and will intensify its collaboration in platforms such as NATO, the U.N., and the G20.”

The foreign ministers of Germany, France, and Britain, jointly pressed Iran to reverse its decision to start enriching uranium to levels beyond the limits of the 2015 nuclear agreement. In addition, they stated that “this action poses significant proliferation risks, and it is a clear violation of Iran’s obligations under the JCPoA and further undermines the agreement”.