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The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

At its meeting on 24-25 June 2021, the European Council will pursue its coordination efforts in response to the coronavirus pandemic, discuss the situation on the various migration routes, return to the strategic debate on relations with Russia, revert to their discussions on Turkey and assess progress in the EU’s economic recovery. In the Euro summit, EU leaders will discuss the economic challenges for the euro area in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis and review progress on the banking union ...

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a tool of power politics, and an element of state diplomacy. The European Union, however, approaches AI primarily from an economic, social, and regulatory angle. This paper discusses the way that AI impacts the European Union’s geopolitical power, and its relationship with other countries. It presents possible scenarios for how AI may change the international balance of power and recommends ways for the EU and its members to respond.

The EU opened accession negotiations with Serbia, a country with a population of 6.7 million, in 2013. Serbia got off to a strong start, but progress has stalled in recent years. Unresolved regional issues, in particular the stalemate of the political dialogue with Pristina, as well as lukewarm progress in rule-of-law reforms, are blocking accession negotiations. Parliamentary elections held in June 2020 have not yet provided the expected momentum, and the risk is that the country will progressively ...

An in-person NATO summit of heads of state or government is scheduled to take place in Brussels on 14 June 2021. Highly anticipated, as part of United States President Joe Biden's first overseas visit, the summit is expected to outline NATO's strategic direction in the decade ahead. The NATO 2030 agenda will be debated, and forward-looking discussions about long-term threats and challenges to Euro-Atlantic security and defence are expected.

Formally, the EU and China have been strategic partners since 2003 – a partnership that was broadened five years ago by the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. However, more recently, EU officials and politicians have been expressing increasing concerns over China’s economic expansionism and human rights violations. The current coronavirus pandemic and developments in Hong Kong have had a marked negative impacted on EU-China relations. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies ...

Following the forced landing of a Ryanair flight by Belarusian authorities on 23 May, Belarus became the central topic on the first day of the special European Council meeting of 24-25 May 2021. EU leaders strongly condemned the 'unprecedented and unacceptable incident', and were united in imposing further sanctions on Belarus. As regards Russia, the European Council reconfirmed the five principles guiding the EU's policy since 2016 and asked the High Representative and the European Commission to ...

Georgia is often considered a frontrunner among Eastern Partnership countries. Despite Russia's continued de facto occupation of one-fifth of the country's territory, until recently Georgia performed relatively well in terms of political stability, pluralism and economic growth. The country is staunchly pro-Western, with aspirations to join both the EU and NATO. Like Ukraine and Moldova, Georgia signed an association agreement with the EU in 2014. The agreement envisages a free trade area, as well ...

The coronavirus pandemic has accentuated the call for global solidarity and increased the need for health care and social support in the Western Balkans. The EU's response has included the 'Team Europe' facility, but also specific initiatives for the Western Balkans. In addition to the EU co-funded Covax facility, the most recent proposal by the European Commission and Austria, announced in April 2021, confirmed the delivery of some 651 000 vaccines to the region, where the EU is competing with other ...

Asia matters to Europe: home to the world's largest population and fastest-growing economies, Asia is a major trade partner of the EU. Recognising this, the EU has promoted the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), established five strategic partnerships – including with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) – and negotiated or concluded free trade agreements with several Asian countries. In September 2018, the EU adopted a joint communication on 'Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks ...