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EU foreign policy

With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 and its subsequent implementation, the European Union has gradually assembled the constituent elements of a sui generis 'foreign policy', bringing together various competencies, instruments and resources that were hitherto spread across different institutions and bodies. Although the process is still on-going and progress is, in parts, uneven, certain traits of a more coherent common approach to foreign policy-making are now evident. In the Balkans, the Horn of Africa (both offshore and onshore), the Sahel, or the Middle East, joint and combined forms of external action - including diplomacy, enlargement, CSDP and development activities - are now producing more effective and lasting results.

Analysing the specific actors, instruments, policies, and strategies at the disposal of the Union and assessing their scope and outreach is also a way to illustrate what the EU does in the world - something which is not always known or appreciated by those who directly benefit from its external action, or indeed by European citizens at large. Monitoring performance, in turn, also contributes to improving it, in a constructive manner and on the basis of factual evidence.

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    28February 2014

    In the wake of the 7th EU-Brazil summit held on 24 February, this Alert examines the EU-Brazil partnership at a critical juncture. Brazil’s future as an emerging power seems currently threatened by flagging economic performance and massive countrywide protests, leading the country to partially withdraw from its proactive foreign policy posture, while the EU’s own domestic concerns are overshadowed by troublesome events in its wider neighbourhood.

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    21February 2014

    In light of the negotiations set to begin on a Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Cuba, this alert – the first of its kind dealing with a country in Latin America – advocates the adoption of a new strategy towards the isolated island nation and highlights how, this time, there are good reasons to be hopeful of success.

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    17January 2014

    This alert explores the EU’s security engagement in Somalia. It highlights the fact that, despite its sizeable financial contribution to the force, the EU does not have leverage on AMISOM’s operational command or its troop architecture. EU tools are not currently being used to their full potential in the country and their eventual effectiveness is ultimately dependent on other partners’ efforts.

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    17January 2014

    With the next EU-Russia Summit fast approaching, this brief assesses the cooperative, yet competitive, nature of the relationship between Brussels and Moscow. With the ongoing spats over the countries in the EU’s eastern neighbourhood – and the absence of grands projets – how is it possible to deepen relations further?

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    13December 2013

    This alert examines the milestone elections that took place in northern Kosovo earlier this month. With Kosovo’s Serbs now politically engaged, what are the next steps in order to keep both the country – and the region – on the path to EU integration?

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    06December 2013

    This alert assesses the state of play of politics in the Union’s eastern neighbourhood in the aftermath of the Vilnius Summit. How should the EU proceed with Ukraine following its dramatic refusal to initial an Association Agreement? And how can it ensure the other Eastern Partnership countries stay on track in the face of both domestic and foreign pressure?

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    29November 2013

    Against the background of ongoing discussion about the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty’s solidarity clause and member states’ responsibilities in terms of mutual assistance, this brief provides an overview of the EU’s mechanisms for dealing with disasters.

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    21November 2013

    Die gekürzte Ausgabe des Yearbook of European Security (YES) auf Deutsch beinhaltet grundlegende Fakten, Grafiken, Chroniken und Karten mit Blick auf die externe Sicherheit der EU. Sie gibt einen umfassenden Überblick über die sicherheitspolitischen Aktivitäten der EU in den Jahren 2011 und 2012.

  • 21November 2013

    La version abrégée du Yearbook of European Security (YES) en français propose des faits, chiffres, chronologies, documents et cartes essentiels à la compréhension de la politique de sécurité de l’Union européenne au cours des années 2011 et 2012.

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    08November 2013

    This Brief examines the question of EU funding for peace operations. It highlights the fact that, despite being a major financial contributor to a large number of peace operations, under current conditions the EU does not wield political influence commensurate with its financial engagement.

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