Weekly News Review - European Union Security Watch spot

28.12.2020 – 03.01.2021

Responding to the multiple disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the E.U. seeks to use its forthcoming multi-year budget and recovery plan to modernise its economy, boost environmental and digitalisation reforms, as well as strengthen its resilience. Portugal aims to make the most of its Presidency of the Council of the European Union, by focusing on current security issues, such as the Union’s resilience in crises, environmental security and social justice, while strengthening its international standing. This week the E.U. demonstrated its solidarity by mobilising the Civil Protection Mechanism, offering assistance to the earthquake-stricken Croatia by the European Union and its Member States.

The E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission (HR/VP) Josep Borrell reiterated the necessity for the European Union to try and keep mass media misinformation and manipulation in check, so as to preserve social cohesion and democracy in the E.U. Member States. 

Regarding U.S. sanctions against Turkey, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoglu advocated that the S-400s missiles will not be integrated into NATO systems and thus do not pose a threat to the alliance or its equipment. He also stressed once again that imposing sanctions towards Turkey is a both political and legal mistake, threatening the sovereign rights of the country. The Turkish military took over the rotating leadership of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) on Friday January the 1st, with Turkey stating that the latest models of Turkish armed vehicles, anti-tank missiles and howitzers have been deployed to the force.

After seven years of negotiations, E.U. and China agreed in principle on a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) that will improve the balance in their trade relationship by giving European companies unprecedented access to a number of key sectors of the Chinese market, thus increasing the Union’s influence on China, whose behaviour combines elements of both a partner and a systemic rival. The latter has become more evident in recent months, as China has entered into a new phase of its assertive and proactive practice of diplomacy. This practice, known as “Wolf Warrior Diplomacy”, is characterised by harsh and aggressive responses by Chinese diplomats against international criticisms regarding Beijing’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis. It reflects a demonstration of resilience against strong diplomatic confrontations. 

Finally, significant opportunities for cooperation have emerged between the European Union and India in the financial sector, which appears to provide the basis for further cooperation on other issues including security as well as safeguarding their common interests in fostering a rules based international order.