Weekly News Review - European Union Security Watch spot

15.02.2021 – 21.02.2021

According to the E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission (HR/VP) Josep Borrell, there are two horizontal priorities for the E.U. Foreign Policy in 2021. They regard the development of strategic autonomy for the EU and strengthening multilateralism. It is important for the EU to act multilaterally when it can, and to act autonomously when it is necessary. For this reason, new approaches to security are necessary as well as a rational engagement with international organizations so as to materialize common policies on areas of shared interests. 

The Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Council  Charles Michel, underscored  the need to reinforce the unity and trust between the bloc and the U.S., adding that “security and climate go hand in hand”. In order to implement its Climate Diplomacy objectives, the EU might be required to balance between strengthening multilateral cooperation with major powers, including the U.S. and China, on the one hand, and clarifying previously agreed targets so as to pursue priorities and safeguard its strategic position, on the other hand. This will be a challenging exercise for the E.U.

The U.S. President Joe Biden, during the Munich Security Conference, stressed the American commitment to the Atlantic alliance and the need to enhance the transatlantic relationship. At the same venue, French President Emmanuel Macron emphasized his view that by  increasing defense expenditure to 2% of their GDP, European NATO allies would demonstrate their reliability and responsibility towards the Alliance as well as the United States and thus further substantiate the credibility of NATO and its member-states.

In a joint statement, the E3 (France, Germany, and the U.K.) and the U.S. Secretary of State, manifested their shared interest in upholding the nuclear non-proliferation regime and ensuring that Iran can never develop nuclear weapons. Furthermore, they welcomed the prospect of an American and Iranian return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA).

France, Germany, and the Netherlands have already set out their different and not very aligned Indo-Pacific visions. Such a development threatens to challenge the E.U.’s objective for a clear, much needed and credible Indo-Pacific strategy as a global foreign and security policy actor. This is an oxymoron that the EU has to address sooner rather than later. The E.U. Special Representative to the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajčák stressed the E.U’s confidence in Kosovo and Serbia coming to an agreement and enhancing their relations. He also added that dialogue is the only way to go for the two actors if they wish to see their European path to meet its final destination.  

The E.U. can unblock the electoral impasse paralysing Somalia by rejecting the outgoing president’s involvement while also setting out a new inclusive and representative framework towards the holding of free elections. This crisis threatens a peacebuilding commitment that the EU has launched for decades  which needs to be safeguarded through a rational political engagement in the region by the EU.