Weekly News Review - European Union Security Watch spot

17.05.2021 – 30.05.2021

The European Council condemned the forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk, after its interception and diversion by a Belarusian fighter jet on a claim of a bomb threat, calling on the Council to adopt the necessary measures to ban overflight of E.U. airspace by Belarusian airlines and prevent their access to E.U. airports, and on all E.U.-based carriers to avoid overflight of Belarus. 

The European Parliament passed a resolution adopting the 2019-2020 Commission Reports on Turkey (2019/2176(INI)) and urging the E.U. Commission to formally halt accession talks with Turkey unless Ankara changes its “hostile” policies. According to European Parliament Members, Turkey has grown increasingly distant from the bloc’s values and standards. Consequently, relations have reached a low point.

Switzerland has abandoned efforts to reach an Institutional Framework Agreement with the E.U. Switzerland’s Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis stated that his country would not accept the Union’s demands for equal rights for its workers, as it would increase social security costs.

France, Germany, and Spain committed to developing the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) platform, Europe’s most significant defence program, with the new fighter jet expected to replace France’s Rafales and German and Spanish Eurofighters by 2040. Furthermore, they decided to divide the workload among NATO allies. 

Several E.U. countries seek to prolong E.U. support for cross-border natural gas projects, a stance at odds with the European Commission’s plan to end such funding, which could, among else, revive the Eastern Mediterranean (EastMed) pipeline project.

The E.U. welcomed the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and stressed the need for humanitarian access in the area. At the same time, it condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas and acknowledged Israel’s right to self-defence, emphasizing the need to respect proportionality and international humanitarian law.

The European Council approved conclusions on the E.U. Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, in which it set out its intentions to reinforce its strategic focus, presence, and actions in the Indo-Pacific to contribute to the stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development of the region.

The European Parliament has suspended any consideration as well as any discussion on the ratification of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), until Beijing lifts sanctions against E.U. politicians, deepening a schism in Sino-European relations and rejecting E.U. firms’ greater access to China. During the 27th E.U.-Japan Summit, an E.U.-Japan Green Alliance was launched, promoting coordinated efforts on both sides to accelerate climate and environmental action.