Weekly News Review - European Union Security Watch spot

14.12.2020 – 20.12.2020

This week, the European Commission and the E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission (HR/VP), Josep Borrell presented the new E.U. Cybersecurity Strategy, which will allow the European Union to increase its resilience and show leadership in cyberspace. Essential strategic operations that could help the Union deal with the impact of COVID-19, and strengthen potential security issues, were also presented by Josep Borrell. Following Biden’s election victory, and due to the resilience shown by the other members of the international agreement on the Iranian nuclear program JCPOA, Borrell, as the coordinator of the Joint Committee, plans to act in a unified manner, in order to consolidate a consensus on the return in its full implementation.

The destabilization of vulnerable regions has been recently recognized by the E.U. as one of the significant consequences of climate change. The human dimension of environmental security should be included in E.U. reports, thus demonstrating the progress made in this realm. With space rapidly evolving as the field of political conflict with consequences to European defense and security, the E.U. needs to develop the appropriate means to ensure that it maintains its strategic autonomy in space as a prerequisite for its strategic autonomy on Earth. At the same time, the E.U.’s trade, resource and technology dependence has grown significantly, due to COVID-19, U.S.-China trade disputes and the rolling out of 5G. This reality calls the Union to seek a diversification strategy in order to ensure its security of supply, which may, however, be undermined by questions related to state stability, economic coercion and climate change.

In order for the transatlantic community of states to tackle the current challenges stemming from China’s rise, an aggressive Russia, the resurgence of authoritarianism and the existential threat of climate change, a group of experts proposed action plans calling for a more internationally committed America and a more independent and capable Europe. On the other hand, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated that the U.S. sanctions, as a response to Turkey’s purchase and use of the Russian missile defense system S-400, threaten Turkey’s sovereign rights. In addition, referring to the Eastern Mediterranean issue, the Turkish Minister stated that the E.U. should be rational, promoting solidarity and co-operation with Turkey.

The Indo-Pacific region is definitely one of the highlights of international politics this week. The adoption of a common agenda by the Union, reflecting the close collaboration between Germany and France, is necessary so as to ensure E.U.’s interests in the region and to maintain its security. The Japanese government has called on Germany to send a warship to East Asia, as Tokyo seeks to bolster international support for its vision to establish a free Indo-Pacific region by building offensive alliances against China’s expansionist policies.