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Briefs

Raising awareness of both existing and emerging foreign and security policy challenges facing the European Union, EUISS Briefs provide key information in a concise, focused format.

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    14August 2020
    Policy experts and decision-makers can improve their ability to think about the future in a number of ways, including by admitting that future developments may invalidate current assumptions and actions. This Brief shows how applying the discipline of strategic foresight to the field of security and foreign policy would promote a greater awareness of changes occurring in the present and enhance the ability to take wiser decisions.
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    06August 2020
    China’s and Russia’s shared antagonism against the West fuels cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels. In its normative dimension, this cooperation is driven by the overarching aim of defining and re-interpreting existing international norms in a way that reflects the two countries’ shared principles, worldviews and threat perceptions. This Brief examines the intricacies of the Sino-Russian normative relationship and the key challenges it poses to the EU.
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    31July 2020
    Concerns about the ero­sion of the ‘taboo’ on chemical weapons use have deepened in recent years, in particular following the chemical weapons attacks that have taken place in the Syrian conflict. The sanctions regime against the proliferation and use of chemical weapons which the EU adopted in October 2018 constitutes the Union’s first coercive instrument against chemical weapons, and is an attempt by the EU to support the multilateral chemical disarmament regime after efforts to frame a response via the United Nations Security Council failed.
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    09July 2020
    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.
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    07July 2020
    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.
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    30June 2020
    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.
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    11June 2020
    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.
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    27May 2020
    In recent years Japan has sought to rekindle diplomatic, political and economic ties with Eastern Europe. This Brief examines how Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 may have motivated this charm offensive, prompted by Tokyo’s fears that such aggression could potentially be replicated in the Far East, as well as by concerns about transfers of military technology from Eastern Europe to China and the weakening of the global non-proliferation regime. It shows how Japan’s foreign policy goals in the eastern neighbourhood overlap with those of the EU, and highlights the potential for strengthening synergies between them.
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    20May 2020
    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.
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    14May 2020
    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?

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