Weekly News Review - European Union Security Watch spot

23.11.2020 – 29.11.2020

After the latest rift between Trump’s Administration and the E.U. in the military sphere, the Union should not rest on its laurels due to Biden’s victory, but rather, it should grab the chance to move towards its own strategic autonomy. With Iran’s nuclear deal hanging on by a thread, the E.U. can now finally see an opportunity to return to a common transatlantic approach to curbing the nuclear program in exchange for easing economic sanctions. The U.S. role would continue to be significant at healing Europe’s Brexit wounds and maintain the E.U.-U.K. cooperation.

In the internal realm, the E.U shall capitalize on the advancement in bridging the gap between the North and the South due to the formation of the Union’s budget and recovery fund agreement, in order to effectively deal with inert challenges. In addition, the accurate evaluation of the pandemic consequences will offer the Union a clearer view of the political status of its Member-States. In its effort to build a “Green Deal Diplomacy”, it is also essential for the E.U. to learn from its previous efforts and experiences in climate and energy diplomacy.

As France continues to be targeted as a European hub for terrorism, extremist groups seem to be turning to hybrid weapons such as misinformation and social media, taking advantage of the pandemic to build support networks and undermine confidence in European governments. Thus, with some arguing that there is an inherent lack of preparation in cybersecurity, building cyber-resilience has become an increasingly important strategic issue for states.

The Chinese-Russian tightening based on their common agenda seems to be challenging for the E.U. The Union’s strategy requires the identification of the Sino-Russian axis goals and the orchestration of policy responses to address the axis’ growing influence. At the same time, the Union should study carefully the military lessons stemming from the Nagorno-Karabakh war and not falling into the trap to dismiss it as a minor conflict between weak states. This week, Turkey prevented a German frigate of the E.U. military mission “Irini” from carrying out a full search of a Turkish cargo ship, suspected of transporting weapons to Libya, an incident that further wounded the EU-Turkey relations. The incident took place at the time when the European Parliament agreed on adopting severe sanctions in response to Turkey’s illegal actions.