Despite the direction offered by the EU Global Strategy, there is as yet no common approach to how member state governments understand threats to the EU’s security. Under the new Strategic Compass initiative – designed to provide enhanced politico-strategic direction for EU security and defence – member state governments and institutions will conduct their own threat analysis as a first step in a 2-year process. This Brief examines how a clearer understanding of such threats can help the EU to achieve its level of ambition in this area.
This Brief analyses the current dynamics underpinning the Belarusian-Russian relationship and its possible future trajectory in the light of new factors which limit Belarus’s room for foreign policy manoeuvre. It highlights how, under increasing pressure from Russia and faced with domestic challenges, President Lukashenka may be hard-pressed to maintain the delicate balancing act that he has performed up to now to ensure his regime’s survival.
Beijing’s new activism in the Middle East reflects the evolution of Chinese foreign policy thinking, in line with the country’s rise as an economic superpower. Economic goals rather than ideological considerations have become key criteria in China’s selection of partners in the region, especially those which can provide the energy resources necessary to fuel China’s continued dynamic growth. Although as yet China is not overtly seeking to displace the US as the dominant power in the region, its penetration of the Middle East inevitably has far-reaching foreign policy and security implications.
The global crisis caused by the Covid-19 outbreak has had particularly disruptive consequences for conflict-affected countries around the world. Armed groups have capitalised on the crisis, while the global distraction caused by the pandemic has made it difficult to seize opportunities for peace. This Brief analyses key repercussions in conflict-affected countries in general, and in five countries in particular: Colombia, Libya, Sudan, Ukraine and Yemen.
China has sought to demonstrate that its authoritarian political system has been more efficient at dealing with the coronavirus crisis than Western liberal democratic systems. This Brief examines the validity of this hypothesis, and concludes that predispositional factors – notably the demographic and age profile of a country – as well as whether a state had been previously exposed to a pandemic or not, were more important in shaping the authorities’ response than the political system in place.
China is rapidly consolidating its expertise in building smart/safe cities, with the Covid-19 crisis significantly accelerating this trend. The crisis has also seen China step up its activism in the global promotion, donation and export of some of its smart city technologies with dual-use capabilities. What risks does this pose for Europe?