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NATO at 70 [What Think Tanks are thinking]

12-04-2019

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) celebrates its 70th anniversary in April 2019, proud of its survival, durability and strong role in ensuring peace, notably during the Cold War. However, analysts and politicians stress that the military alliance must work hard to keep pace with a changing environment and the new challenges of the 21st century, both geo-strategic and technological. Another major test is the uncertain commitment to NATO of Donald Trump, the current President of the United ...

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) celebrates its 70th anniversary in April 2019, proud of its survival, durability and strong role in ensuring peace, notably during the Cold War. However, analysts and politicians stress that the military alliance must work hard to keep pace with a changing environment and the new challenges of the 21st century, both geo-strategic and technological. Another major test is the uncertain commitment to NATO of Donald Trump, the current President of the United States. This note offers links to commentaries and studies on NATO and European defence by major international think tanks. Earlier papers on European defence, focused on a planned US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are Thinking', published in February 2019.

Presidential elections in Ukraine [What Think Tanks are thinking]

15-03-2019

Ukraine will hold presidential elections on 31 March, five years after the Maidan protests resulted in the impeachment of pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovich, setting the country on a course to deepen ties with the West. Russia reacted by launching a hybrid war against Ukraine, which resulted in the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula in March 2014, and in military aggression in eastern Ukraine. The outcome of the ballot is uncertain, but the new leader is expected to continue the efforts ...

Ukraine will hold presidential elections on 31 March, five years after the Maidan protests resulted in the impeachment of pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovich, setting the country on a course to deepen ties with the West. Russia reacted by launching a hybrid war against Ukraine, which resulted in the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula in March 2014, and in military aggression in eastern Ukraine. The outcome of the ballot is uncertain, but the new leader is expected to continue the efforts of incumbent President Petro Poroshenko to deepen relations with the European Union and NATO, and continue the country's reform process, including anti-corruption measures. A record 44 candidates are contesting the election, with actor and political novice Volodymyr Zelenskiy holding the lead in opinion polls, followed by Poroshenko and former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko. If no candidate secures an absolute majority in the first round, the top two contenders will face each other in a run-off on 21 April. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on the situation in Ukraine.

The INF Treaty and European defence [What Think Tanks are thinking]

22-02-2019

The United States has announced its withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, sparking fears of a fresh nuclear arms race between Russia, the United States and China. The collapse of the 1987 agreement, which bans land-based missiles with a range of between 500 kilometres and 5 500 kilometres, has further exacerbated existing concerns about European security caused by the uncertain commitment of US President Donald Trump to the NATO military alliance. President Trump’s approach ...

The United States has announced its withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, sparking fears of a fresh nuclear arms race between Russia, the United States and China. The collapse of the 1987 agreement, which bans land-based missiles with a range of between 500 kilometres and 5 500 kilometres, has further exacerbated existing concerns about European security caused by the uncertain commitment of US President Donald Trump to the NATO military alliance. President Trump’s approach to security, coupled with Russia’s assertive behaviour, have prompted the European Union to put forward initiatives to increase its military capabilities. President Trump started a six-month process of withdring from the Treaty in February 2019, blaming the decision on Russian violations. Hopes are not high that an agreement can be negotiated during this period. Furthermore, during the 2019 Munich Security Conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on China to join the INF Treaty, but China has argued that this would place unfair limits on its military, and refused. This note offers links to commentaries and studies on the collapse of the INF Treaty, and on European defence. Earlier papers on defence can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’, published in July 2018.

EU preparedness against CBRN weapons

29-01-2019

The European Union faces an increasingly challenging security environment, with a climate of international instability and a level of tension not seen since the end of the Cold War. Repeated chemical attacks by both State and non-state actors in the context of the Syrian conflict, the Novichok attack in Salisbury and the disruption of two ricine terror plots in Germany and in France in 2018 came all as stark reminders that the threat remains real and that Member States could be affected. In this ...

The European Union faces an increasingly challenging security environment, with a climate of international instability and a level of tension not seen since the end of the Cold War. Repeated chemical attacks by both State and non-state actors in the context of the Syrian conflict, the Novichok attack in Salisbury and the disruption of two ricine terror plots in Germany and in France in 2018 came all as stark reminders that the threat remains real and that Member States could be affected. In this context, the European Union (EU) continues to strengthen its capacities in the field of CBRN preparedness and response. The use of EU mechanisms and Member States’ military assets is one of the possibilities for strengthening prevention capacities that must be explored more thoroughly.

Awtur estern

Elisande NEXON, Senior Research Fellow, and Claude WACHTEL, Independent Consultant, Associate Senior Research Fellow, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS), France

EU Defence: The White Book implementation process

12-12-2018

The question of a defence White Book at European level has been under discussion for some time. Many voices, particularly in the European Parliament, are pushing for such an initiative, while others consider that it is not only unnecessary, but could even dangerously divide Europeans. Concretely, the question cannot be tackled separately from that of defence planning and processes which underpin the development of military capabilities, as White Books are often the starting point for these. Within ...

The question of a defence White Book at European level has been under discussion for some time. Many voices, particularly in the European Parliament, are pushing for such an initiative, while others consider that it is not only unnecessary, but could even dangerously divide Europeans. Concretely, the question cannot be tackled separately from that of defence planning and processes which underpin the development of military capabilities, as White Books are often the starting point for these. Within the European Union, however, there is not just one, but three types defence planning: the national planning of each of the Member States; planning within the framework of NATO (the NATO Defence Planning Process) and, finally, the European Union’s planning, which has developed in stages since the Helsinki summit of 1999 and comprises many elements. Its best-known component - but by no means not the only one - is the capability development plan established by the European Defence Agency. How do all these different planning systems coexist? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Answering these preliminary questions is essential in mapping the path to a White Book. This is what this study sets out to do.

Awtur estern

Mr Frédéric MAURO

FYR Macedonia: 2018 country report

27-11-2018

During its November II 2018 plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to debate a resolution on the European Commission’s 2018 enlargement report on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYR Macedonia). The progress report acknowledges significant progress and a political will to advance the EU agenda.

During its November II 2018 plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to debate a resolution on the European Commission’s 2018 enlargement report on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYR Macedonia). The progress report acknowledges significant progress and a political will to advance the EU agenda.

US-Russia relations: Reaching the point of no return?

03-10-2018

In August 2018, Russia's embassy in Washington claimed that US-Russia relations were moving towards irreversible breakdown. Long-standing bilateral tensions have been aggravated in recent years by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, sanctions, and accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections. Initially, Donald Trump's electoral victory raised hopes in Russia that tensions could ease. But while Trump often appears to share Russian wishes to move from confrontation to a more ...

In August 2018, Russia's embassy in Washington claimed that US-Russia relations were moving towards irreversible breakdown. Long-standing bilateral tensions have been aggravated in recent years by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, sanctions, and accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections. Initially, Donald Trump's electoral victory raised hopes in Russia that tensions could ease. But while Trump often appears to share Russian wishes to move from confrontation to a more transactional relationship, a rift has opened up between him and the rest of the US political establishment, which insists that the differences between the two countries are too fundamental to be easily set aside. Growing hostility towards Russia has led to harsher rhetoric and increasingly draconian sanctions. Alongside these more recent developments, US-Russia relations have been complicated for many years by fundamental foreign policy differences. The US sees itself as a global leader and champion of liberal values. For its part, Russia resents what it perceives as US hegemony and unwarranted interference in other countries' internal affairs. Russia is far from being a military equal to the US. Nevertheless, Moscow's nuclear arsenal makes it a potentially formidable adversary. A series of arms-control agreements aims to contain the threat of an arms race or even conflict between the two sides. However, deteriorating relations are making such arrangements look increasingly precarious. Compared to political and security issues, economic ties play only a minor role in US-Russia relations. Bilateral trade and investment have suffered from tensions and are likely to remain limited, not least due to sanctions.

Russia [What Think Tanks are thinking]

21-09-2018

In September, Russia held its largest military exercise since 1981, the height of the Cold War, deploying 300 000 troops and also inviting Chinese forces to participate. The event highlighted Russia’s growing assertiveness in security and foreign policy, following its annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Syria. The policies of President Vladimir Putin, who was re-elected earlier this year, pose a dilemma for the European Union and the United States, with some observers accusing him of ...

In September, Russia held its largest military exercise since 1981, the height of the Cold War, deploying 300 000 troops and also inviting Chinese forces to participate. The event highlighted Russia’s growing assertiveness in security and foreign policy, following its annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Syria. The policies of President Vladimir Putin, who was re-elected earlier this year, pose a dilemma for the European Union and the United States, with some observers accusing him of trying to sabotage Western liberal democracy and others saying that he wants to regain the position of global player that the Soviet Union once occupied. This note offers links to commentaries and studies by major international think tanks, which discuss Russia's policies and how to respond to them. More reports on the topic can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are Thinking', published in March 2018. Some more papers on US-Russian relations are available in another edition from the series published in August 2018.

Countering hybrid threats: EU and the Western Balkans case

06-09-2018

The aim of the workshop, held on 26 February 2018, was to assess and discuss the EU’s approach to hybrid threats in its neighbourhood using the Western Balkans as a case study, in the context of the extensive use of propaganda by Russia and its meddling into several elections and in the aftermath of the 2014 events in Ukraine and the Russian annexation of Crimea. The first speaker, Jean-Jacques Patry, presented the concept of hybrid threat at various levels and the EU approach and measures to tackle ...

The aim of the workshop, held on 26 February 2018, was to assess and discuss the EU’s approach to hybrid threats in its neighbourhood using the Western Balkans as a case study, in the context of the extensive use of propaganda by Russia and its meddling into several elections and in the aftermath of the 2014 events in Ukraine and the Russian annexation of Crimea. The first speaker, Jean-Jacques Patry, presented the concept of hybrid threat at various levels and the EU approach and measures to tackle it, particularly in the Western Balkans. The second speaker, Nicolas Mazzucchi, delivered a presentation on Russia’s declining influence in the Western Balkans (on behalf of Isabelle Facon, who authored the briefing but could not attend the workshop) and added some of his own analysis on energy and cyber issues. The presentations were followed by a debate with members of the Security and Defence Committee of the European Parliament.

Awtur estern

Isabelle FACON, Nicolas MAZZUCCHI, Jean-Jacques PATRY

State of EU-US relations

05-09-2018

Over a year and a half into the presidency of Donald Trump, transatlantic relations continue to adapt to new realities under the 'America First' foreign policy. Its implications have touched several areas, such as climate, defence, sanctions and cooperation within multilateral institutions. EU-US trade relations have deteriorated significantly. However, following a visit by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to the US in July, new bilateral trade talks are being prepared. During its September ...

Over a year and a half into the presidency of Donald Trump, transatlantic relations continue to adapt to new realities under the 'America First' foreign policy. Its implications have touched several areas, such as climate, defence, sanctions and cooperation within multilateral institutions. EU-US trade relations have deteriorated significantly. However, following a visit by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to the US in July, new bilateral trade talks are being prepared. During its September plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to discuss an own-initiative report addressing these issues.

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