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European Deterrence Initiative: the transatlantic security guarantee

09-07-2018

The illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014 marked a crucial moment for European, transatlantic and international security. Acting like a wake-up call, this event redefined strategic and security considerations in individual EU Member States, in the United States and in international organisations such as the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Russia's increasingly assertive military posture is unsettling for its European neighbours. Four years ago ...

The illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014 marked a crucial moment for European, transatlantic and international security. Acting like a wake-up call, this event redefined strategic and security considerations in individual EU Member States, in the United States and in international organisations such as the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Russia's increasingly assertive military posture is unsettling for its European neighbours. Four years ago, in June 2014, US President Obama announced what was to become a key security guarantee from America to Europe. The European Reassurance Initiative, as it was called during the first half of its existence, is a military programme supporting the activities of the US military and its allies in Europe. In 2017, it was renamed the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) to reflect the shift in the international security environment characterised by a prioritisation of deterrence. Activities under the EDI include training of forces, multinational military exercises and development of military equipment and capabilities. They all take place under the umbrella of Operation Atlantic Resolve (OAR) whose core mission is to enhance deterrence. Despite recent turmoil in transatlantic relations, the budget for building up defences in central and eastern Europe through the EDI has seen major increases; even under the Trump administration. The EDI has deepened security and defence cooperation between the US and the main beneficiaries of OAR, namely Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. The US European Command, which coordinates all EDI and OAR activities, is working to forge enhanced interoperability between different countries' military forces through joint training, staff exchanges and exercises. The Command's leadership also recognises the cyber domain as a pressing area where integration is needed, although the EDI budget for 2019 makes no mention of it. The recent proliferation of EU defence initiatives and the revamp of EU-NATO relations should also contribute to EDI's core mission: to establish a strong deterrence posture able to meet today's security challenges.

The EU's Russia policy: Five guiding principles

08-02-2018

While EU-Russia relations had long been difficult, in 2014 they took an abrupt turn for the worse, after Russia illegally annexed Crimea and fomented separatist insurgencies in eastern Ukraine. To date, little progress has been made towards ending the Ukraine conflict. In addition, new sources of tension have emerged, for example: Russia's military backing for the Assad regime in Syria, and alleged Russian interference in EU politics. In the short term, an easing of tensions seems unlikely. In March ...

While EU-Russia relations had long been difficult, in 2014 they took an abrupt turn for the worse, after Russia illegally annexed Crimea and fomented separatist insurgencies in eastern Ukraine. To date, little progress has been made towards ending the Ukraine conflict. In addition, new sources of tension have emerged, for example: Russia's military backing for the Assad regime in Syria, and alleged Russian interference in EU politics. In the short term, an easing of tensions seems unlikely. In March 2016, EU foreign ministers and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, agreed on five guiding principles for EU-Russia relations: full implementation of the Minsk agreements; closer ties with Russia's former Soviet neighbours; strengthening EU resilience to Russian threats; selective engagement with Russia on certain issues such as counter-terrorism; and support for people-to-people contacts. Implementing each of these principles faces major difficulties. The EU is unlikely to lift sanctions against Russia while implementation of the Minsk agreements remains stalled; the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood remains a zone of confrontation; EU security is threatened by dependence on Russian energy imports and the destabilising effects of aggressive propaganda; EU-Russia cooperation on international issues has become a victim of tensions between the two sides; repressive Russian legislation obstructs EU support for Russian civil society; diplomatic tensions are mirrored by mutual suspicion between ordinary EU citizens and Russians. This is an updated edition of a briefing from October 2016.

Human rights in Ukraine and the EU response, including relevant activities of the European Parliament

07-02-2018

The present study provides an overview of how the European Union and the European Parliament (EP) contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights in Ukraine. The analysis adopts an institutional approach, separately addressing the role of the various EP bodies involved, such as the plenary itself and the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI). The actions of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee (PAC), a parliamentary body created by the Association Agreement, as well as those ...

The present study provides an overview of how the European Union and the European Parliament (EP) contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights in Ukraine. The analysis adopts an institutional approach, separately addressing the role of the various EP bodies involved, such as the plenary itself and the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI). The actions of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee (PAC), a parliamentary body created by the Association Agreement, as well as those of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the PAC are included in this analysis. The territories controlled by the Ukrainian government and those that are temporarily occupied, namely Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine, are addressed separately in the study. In terms of thematic focus, the EP’s activities aimed at human rights promotion have been dominated by the issue of the Crimean Tatars, the Ukrainian political prisoners illegally held in Russia, and the human rights situation in eastern Ukraine. The most significant conclusion is that the more entrenched the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity becomes, the wider the spectrum of human rights issues extends, in protection of which the EP is able to step to the fore and take action. A summary of the contents of relevant EP actions can be found in the Annex to the study, together with a graphical visualisation of key data.

Външен автор

András RÁCZ, Narine GHAZARYAN, Sergiy GERASYMCHUK.

Sanctions over Ukraine: Impact on Russia

17-01-2018

In early 2014, Russia violated international law by annexing Crimea and allegedly fomenting separatist uprisings in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. The European Union, the United States and several other Western countries responded with diplomatic measures in March 2014, followed by asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individuals and entities. In July 2014, sanctions targeting the Russian energy, defence and financial sectors were adopted. These sanctions have not swayed Russian public ...

In early 2014, Russia violated international law by annexing Crimea and allegedly fomenting separatist uprisings in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. The European Union, the United States and several other Western countries responded with diplomatic measures in March 2014, followed by asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individuals and entities. In July 2014, sanctions targeting the Russian energy, defence and financial sectors were adopted. These sanctions have not swayed Russian public opinion, which continues to staunchly back the Kremlin's actions in Ukraine. Despite Western efforts to isolate Russia, the country is playing an increasingly prominent role on the global stage. On the other hand, sectoral sanctions have proved painful, aggravating an economic downturn triggered by falling oil prices, from which the country has only just begun to recover. Sanctions have affected the Russian economy in various ways. The main short-term impact comes from restrictions on Western lending and investment in Russia. Oil and gas production remains unaffected for the time being, but in the long term energy exports are likely to suffer. Meanwhile, Russian counter-sanctions are benefiting the country's agricultural sector, but consumers are losing out in terms of choice and price. Quantitative estimates of the impact are difficult, but most observers agree that sanctions are costing Russia billions of euros a year and holding back a return to higher rates of economic growth. This is an updated edition of a briefing from March 2016, PE 579.084.

Facing Russia’s Strategic Challenge: Security Developments from the Baltic to the Black Sea

17-11-2017

The EU and NATO are facing an increasingly uncertain and complex situation on their eastern and south-eastern borders. In what the EU has traditionally conceived as its ‘shared neighbourhood’ with Russia and NATO its ‘eastern flank’, Moscow is exhibiting a growingly assertive military posture. The context of the Baltic and the Black Sea regions differs, but Russia’s actions in both seem to be part of the same strategy aiming to transform the European security order and its sustaining principles. ...

The EU and NATO are facing an increasingly uncertain and complex situation on their eastern and south-eastern borders. In what the EU has traditionally conceived as its ‘shared neighbourhood’ with Russia and NATO its ‘eastern flank’, Moscow is exhibiting a growingly assertive military posture. The context of the Baltic and the Black Sea regions differs, but Russia’s actions in both seem to be part of the same strategy aiming to transform the European security order and its sustaining principles. The Kremlin seems to follow similar policies and tactics, mainly through the militarisation of the Kaliningrad Oblast and Crimea as the centrepiece of its strategy of power projection vis-à-vis NATO and the EU. An all-out war remains an unlikely scenario, but frictions or accidents leading to an unwanted and uncontrolled escalation cannot be completely ruled out. Tensions and military developments take place in both the Baltic and Black seas, but are not only about them. Russia is testing the Euro-Atlantic response and resilience at large. To assess how far it might be willing to go, it is necessary to evaluate how Russia perceives the West and its actions, taking into account the deep and entrenched clash of perceptions between Brussels and Moscow, and the worldview of the latter.

Външен автор

Nicolás De Pedro, Research Fellow, CIDOB, Spain; Panagiota Manoli, Research Fellow, ELIAMEP, Greece; Sergey Sukhankin, Associate Expert, ICPS, Ukraine; Theodoros Tsakiris, Research Fellow, ELIAMEP, Greece

Ukraine and the EU [What Think Tanks are thinking]

25-07-2017

Relations between the European Union and Ukraine have been improving since the Maidan protests ousted President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, leading to the election of pro-Western Petro Poroshenko as head of state. At their meeting on 12-13 July, EU and Ukrainian leaders welcomed the completion of the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and the recent entry into force of visa liberalisation for Ukrainian citizens. However, Ukraine's security situation remains precarious following Russia's ...

Relations between the European Union and Ukraine have been improving since the Maidan protests ousted President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, leading to the election of pro-Western Petro Poroshenko as head of state. At their meeting on 12-13 July, EU and Ukrainian leaders welcomed the completion of the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and the recent entry into force of visa liberalisation for Ukrainian citizens. However, Ukraine's security situation remains precarious following Russia's annexation of Crimea and the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, in which Russia's role is unclear. The EU is also urging Ukraine to fight corruption with more determination. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports published by major international think tanks on the situation in Ukraine and its relations with the EU.

EU-Belarus relations: Delicate ties under strain

25-04-2017

Belarus – a hesitant participant in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) and traditionally one of Russia's closest allies – has long tested the limits of the EU's policy projection. The main sticking point in EU-Belarus relations has been and still remains Minsk's reluctance to commit to democracy, as well as to political and civil rights. In the light of 'positive political developments' in relations between the European Union and Belarus – owing not least to the Belarusian authorities' release of six ...

Belarus – a hesitant participant in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) and traditionally one of Russia's closest allies – has long tested the limits of the EU's policy projection. The main sticking point in EU-Belarus relations has been and still remains Minsk's reluctance to commit to democracy, as well as to political and civil rights. In the light of 'positive political developments' in relations between the European Union and Belarus – owing not least to the Belarusian authorities' release of six political prisoners in August 2015 – the Council lifted some restrictive measures on Belarus in February 2016, while extending others for a further year. The Ukraine crisis – during which Minsk hosted important ceasefire talks – appeared to spark a rethink in both Minsk and Brussels. Growing frictions with Moscow and the continued economic recession in Russia have put pressure on the social contract between Belarus's leadership and its citizens, increasing the incentives for Belarus to mend ties with the West, including the EU. However, Minsk's crackdown on recent protest waves have sparked criticism from the EU and rekindled concern over long-standing president Alexander Lukashenko's poor human rights record.

Предстоящи събития

10-12-2019
EU institutional dynamics: Ten years after the Lisbon Treaty
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