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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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    30April 2020
    In the three decades after the Cold War, the perception of ‘Arctic exceptionalism’, the sense that the Arctic region is immune from broader geopolitical tensions, prevailed. However, this notion is currently being challenged: climate change is accelerating the opening of new maritime trade routes and exploitation of natural resources in the region, while great power competition between the US, Russia and China in the Arctic is intensifying, changing regional power dynamics.
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    21April 2020
    The ongoing conflict in Yemen is complex and multi-layered, with the involvement of rival regional powers adding a geopolitical dimension to the war. As the national framework has disintegrated, local rivalries have intensified, leaving more room for foreign state interference in the country. In this fragmented political landscape, militias and other armed groups have come to play a prominent role in Yemen’s security governance. This Brief analyses the intertwined layers of conflict in Yemen and their implications for war resolution efforts, arguing that reforming the state on the basis of a decentralisation of power is key to rebuilding national institutions and achieving peace.
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    17April 2020
    The complex nature of cyber conflicts makes it difficult to design effective, targeted conflict prevention instruments. Yet existing approaches to prevent conflict in cyberspace have, so far, brought about very little change in state behaviour. How might the EU lead the way in preventing conflicts from escalating or breaking out?
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    31March 2020
    Russia is mounting a remarkable political comeback in sub-Saharan Africa through a ‘low costs, high returns and visibility’ approach. Can a coherent strategy be discerned behind this push? And how is sub-Saharan Africa reacting to Russia’s overtures and what does it mean for the EU?
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    17March 2020
    In the sanctions practice of the EU, human rights motivations feature prominently, reflecting their centrality to the Union’s foreign policy. This Brief discusses plans to create a new EU sanctions regime addressing gross human rights violations. It examines the various challenges surrounding the initiative and its implementation, and argues that the way forward could be to disaggregate the proposed sanctions regimes into two separate strands: one dealing with breaches of international humanitarian law and a second addressing human rights abuses linked to large-scale transnational corruption.
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    11March 2020
    Digital technologies can vastly improve the operational readiness and effectiveness of Europe’s armed forces. As this Brief shows, however, the EU needs to better understand the risks and opportunities involved in the digitalisation of defence and it needs to financially invest in its technological sovereignty.
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    05March 2020
    In the wake of the Artificial Intelligence Strategy unveiled by the US Department of Defense in 2019, this Brief examines the implications of the initiative for Europe and for transatlantic defence cooperation. It argues that Europeans need to develop a strategy for military innovation, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), while the transatlantic partners need to design a common approach to AI governance.
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    28February 2020
    This Brief analyses the peace efforts in Ukraine and argues that it would be in the country’s interest to continue decentralising and strengthening local governance structures, including in the east. But how does Moscow view this?
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    31January 2020
    In the run-up to the 2020 Review Conference of the NPT, this Brief assesses the EU’s record as a non-proliferation actor. In particular it seeks to identify how the EU can rebuild its credibility in this role given the difficulties encountered in obtaining a consensus at the 2015 RevCon. The Brief argues that in order to overcome divisions among a polarised membership, the EU could support the moderate faction promoting the middle ground and develop a modus vivendi with the ‘Ban Treaty’ – the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – with a view to fostering an agenda of gradual progress towards nuclear disarmament.
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    16December 2019
    Maritime security is one of the fundamental strategic interests of the European Union. This Brief focuses on the EU’s ambition to become a maritime security provider in the Indo-Pacific region and explores how might it go about accomplishing this. It shows how a more proactive European involvement in maritime security has the potential to boost ties with Asian countries, promote the Union’s foreign and security objectives in the region and enhance its strategic profile globally.

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