Weekly News Review - European Union Security Watch spot

12.04.2021 – 18.04.2021

The E.U.’s forthcoming Strategic Compass on security and defence is an opportunity to enhance the linkages between space and defence since there can be no strategic autonomy on earth without strategic autonomy in space. The E.U. cannot afford to be unprepared to counter the three trends in the realm of space: weaponization, congestion, and disruption. 

The severe security crisis in Europe with the ongoing military and political escalations between Ukraine and Russia in Donbas may be a major challenge but it is also an opportunity for the E.U. to develop its strategic autonomy, deploy its hard power and credibly commit to creating costs in case of military actions from Russia, thus strengthening the security in its neighborhood. Moreover, terrorism is still threatening European security. In fact, numerous terrorist attacks of Islamist and separatist/nationalist nature since 2014 in Europe have renewed concerns about the threat terrorism poses to European countries.

The United States-Germany defence partnership has been reinforced with the latter receiving an additional 500 U.S. soldiers, which, according to the U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, will strengthen Europe’s deterrence and security. 

Faced with China’s growing assertiveness, the European Union should incorporate the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) into its strategic approach to the Indo-Pacific. Quad could serve as an effective docking point for its engagement in the region, allowing the diversification of relationships with like-minded partners. Referring to the democracy challenge the world faces in Myanmar after the military coup, the E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission (HR/VP) Josep Borrell highlighted that the E.U. is supporting Myanmar’s return to democracy, emphasizing that the Union is ready to engage in-depth, in close coordination with like-minded partners to address the crisis caused by the geopolitical competition in the area.

 The E.U. levied sanctions on eight Iranian militia leaders and police officers, including the leader of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, over a deadly protest crackdown in November 2019. Iran’s foreign ministry has stated that it opposes the sanctions and will postpone human rights talks with the E.U., as well as all subsequent cooperation in the policy fields of terrorism, illegal drugs, and refugees. As discussions continue amongst the members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), Iran decided to produce 60%-enriched uranium in retaliation for a suspected Israeli attack on one of its key nuclear sites. The move has raised concerns among France, Germany, and the U.K., who believe Iran has “no credible civilian need for enrichment at this level”.