Weekly News Review - European Union Security Watch spot

05.04.2021 – 11.04.2021

Although there is evidence suggesting major movements of Russian armed units toward Ukraine’s borders and into Crimea, Russia seems unlikely to risk an attempt to seize more Ukrainian territory for the time being. Instead, as suggested by certain analysts, Moscow’s desired endgame may be the deployment of a Russian “peacekeeping” force inside Ukraine. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee and senior military advisor to the Secretary-General, visited Ukraine on 6-7 April. He met with the President of Ukraine, Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel-General Ruslan Khomchak, and after attending briefings on the NATO – Ukraine partnership, he reaffirmed NATO’s full support of Ukraine’s efforts to maintain its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Turkey’s military activities have been holding back NATO operations related to the Libyan crisis. Growing fears are raised between at least three members of the North Atlantic Alliance about the actions of the Turkish leadership – France, Italy, and Greece – all major actors in the Mediterranean Sea.  According to analysts, Turkey’s relations with the European Union have been aggravated in recent years, due to the continuous provocative behavior shown and the constant arbitrary action taken by Turkey. It is deemed necessary for the negotiations to continue on both sides. However, Turkey’s decision to pull out of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence has raised concerns and criticism on behalf of the E.U., as regards human rights violations. The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen stressed that human rights respect constitutes a non-negotiable issue, and therefore, it is at the bloc’s discretion to consider whether Turkey’s return to democratic standards is within reach.

As regards the E.U.’s policy towards its partner and developing countries, an issue worth considering is whether the collusive relations of these states with crime can produce positive liberal outcomes. 

Georgia has found itself in a political deadlock due to the domestic political crisis and the armed confrontations in the region. Recent developments should be an inducement for the E.U. to engage more, develop a new strategic vision for its relations with the countries in the South Caucasus and pursue a long-term role in the area, since Georgia is the only country in the area with clear E.U. and NATO ambitions.

A Joint Commission meeting took place in Vienna, with the remaining participants  of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA). As an outcome, two working groups were formed, one responsible for listing the sanctions imposed by the U.S. since 2018, and another to determine the measures that need to be taken by Iran, in order to return to full compliance with the accord.

Given the 16th India-European Union Summit meeting that will take place in Porto on 8th of May, E.U. and India have a chance to increase their mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation regarding their trade relations, the increasing strategic importance of the Indo-Pacific region, multilateralism, and their policy stance towards China’s aggression.