Weekly News Review - European Union Security Watch spot

29.03.2021 – 04.04.2021

Faced with vaccine shortage due to production issues, more E.U. countries are turning to the Russian vaccine (Sputnik V), thus raising concerns about how Russia could use its vaccine leverage to further undermine the E.U. solidarity regarding a common policy on Russia. 

China is ramping up the pressure on European decision-makers, academics, and companies, signalling China’s willingness to use economic coercion in direct response to European policy choices and foreshadowing how China will soon be able to exert higher pressure on the E.U.

The Italian Minister of European Affairs Vincenzo Amendola and his French counterpart Clément Beaune announced their willingness to sign a bilateral treaty between Rome and Paris. According to analysts, this initiative constitutes an opportunity for the European Union as a whole. After a report highlighting the potential involvement of Frontex in “pushback operations” in the Aegean came to the light, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs (LIBE) decided to examine the activities of Frontex, by setting up the EP Frontex Scrutiny Working Group (FSWG).

The E.U’s second attempt to reconcile the Georgian government and opposition and restore the process of democratic governance has failed, leaving the country stuck in a political crisis that concerns the E.U. significantly due to its close cooperation with Georgia through its neighbourhood policy.

Elevated tensions were observed in the eastern Donbas region and the Crimean Peninsula, near Ukraine’s borders. A Russian spokesman reported that any deployment of NATO troops to Ukraine would lead to further escalation in the conflict and U.S. president Joe Biden affirmed the United States’ staunch support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, during an official phone call with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The necessity to find a political solution to the crisis originating from the ten years of conflict in Syria is highlighted by E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission (HR/VP) Josep Borrell in his blog. HR/VP also emphasizes that international support and financial aid are required for the necessary political transition and stabilization of the country. For this reason, the E.U. will continue to engage with civil society and cooperate with all international actors involved in the Syria conflict. 

Discussions are scheduled to be held regarding the 2015 nuclear deal and a possible return of the United States to the JCPoA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). According to an E.U. statement, the principal aim is to ensure the complete and effective implementation of the agreement by all sides.