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  • Putting numbers on capabilities: defence inflation vs. cost escalation

    This Brief seeks to improve the understanding of the relation between (cripplingly) expensive capabilities and complex security challenges. What are the true effects of cost escalation of weapon systems? And is European defence suffering as a result?

  • China: reshaping the global order?

    Beijing's foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific is based on the firm belief that its economic weight will eventually convert into political and strategic clout. This Alert examines how the creation of regional and global institutions has become a key objective to support this strategy.

  • Asylum flows to the EU: blip or norm?

    In May 2015, the EU-28, Switzerland and Norway received the highest number of asylum applications on record. What is the EU doing to address the matter? And will these refugee pressures remain a permanent feature of world affairs?

  • Adding fuel to the fire? Arming the Kurds

    The decision by EU member states – and others – to supply the Iraqi Kurds with weapons in the face of an onslaught by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seems logical. But what unintended future consequences could this have?

  • Sanctions: moving targets and goalposts

    This Alert makes the point that sanctions regimes are not static: the relative importance of crises for a foreign policy actor can evolve over time, as domestic, regional or global politics change. As a responsive sanctioner, the EU, too, has displayed its ability to hit moving targets in this regard.

  • EU sanctions in context: three types

    This Brief provides an overview of EU sanctions practices. Considering the combined and interactive effects of co-existing sanctions regimes, it also examines the implications of sanctions measures, often closely interlinked with UN practice, for the EU as a multilateral actor.

  • EU sanctions: exit strategies

    The EU stands out as a responsive sanctioning actor. This Alert argues that by signalling its commitment to reward compliance through a phased exit strategy, the Union lends credence to the reversibility of sanctions.

  • Sanctions against Iran: the role of pivotal rising powers

    Rising powers can play a pivotal role in enhancing the multilateral sanctions regime against Iran. But their readiness to support the endeavours of the major sanctioning actors is not a given.

  • India and the EU: what opportunities for defence cooperation?

    Since Modi took office last year, India has embarked on a number of measures to encourage the development of the country’s economy and the streamlining of its indigenous defence capabilities. Is there a role for the EU in this process?

  • Sanctions against North Korea: a tricky dilemma

    The sanctions against North Korea have been costly and technically difficult to implement. And since Pyongyang deems its nuclear programme to be essential for its national security (and therefore non-negotiable), their effectiveness in terms of non-proliferation has been limited.

  • COP21 en route to Paris: the state of play

    With the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) on climate fast approaching, hopes for finally clinching a robust global climate deal are running high. This Alert assesses the current state of play of the negotiations and looks at the remaining key challenges to be tackled in the run-up to summit.

  • Defence: solidarity, trust and threat perception

    Is the mutual solidarity between EU and NATO member states strong enough to collectively defend Europe if worse comes to worst? And what could be done to assure European allies, especially in the east, about the transatlantic alliance’s ironclad guarantee to defend them?

  • The bear and the beaver: Russia and European energy security

    While lowering Europe’s dependence on Russian gas is a long-term endeavour, a recent series of events have introduced new dynamics to the EU-Russia energy relationship. This Brief evaluates the impact of Europe’s efforts, and shows how it has successfully reduced Moscow’s leverage.

  • Moldova’s star: shining or falling?

    Moldova is in the middle of a debate over whether it is the falling star of the Eastern Partnership or if it can still regain some of its shine. Its politics is messy and corruption is high. Yet, its progress over the last few years has been rather impressive. Now the task is to consolidate achievements, while dealing with its failures.

  • Stranded at sea: the Rohingya

    Much like the European Union, several ASEAN countries are now facing a migrant boat crisis. But mindsets and attitudes towards the issue differ markedly. What are the root causes of the plight of the Rohingya? And what obstacles are there to addressing their suffering in a comprehensive manner at a regional level?