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Recent events have shown that the Sahel region remains highly politically unstable. The military takeover of the Chadian government following President Idriss Déby's sudden death in April 2021 and the repercussions of the August 2020 and May 2021 military coups in Mali are worrying signs of weak democratic governance structures. Burkina Faso's transitional democracy has also been severely destabilised by the activities of extremist groups and internal conflicts. This political fragility and the lack ...

Mali: Yet another coup

Kort overzicht 16-06-2021

On 24 May 2021, the Malian transitional government suffered a coup – the second in nine months – which cast a shadow on the transition process that should lead to a presidential election in early 2022. These developments risk further destabilising the Sahel and challenge the implementation of the new EU strategy in the region.

Myanmar: The return of the junta

Kort overzicht 16-02-2021

On 1 February 2021, the Myanmar armed forces seized power and imprisoned Aung San Suu Kyi, de facto leader of the country since 2016. The coup threatens to derail Myanmar’s progress towards democracy, which began in 2008 after five decades of brutal military rule. Huge protests have broken out in Myanmar, calling for the restoration of the elected civilian government. The EU is considering additional sanctions against the country.

Thailand: from coup to crisis

Kort overzicht 06-11-2020

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with a history of political instability, alternating between military rule and unstable civilian governments. The latest in a long series of military coups was in 2014. In 2019, the junta handed over power to a nominally civilian government led by former army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha. Protestors are now demanding his resignation and constitutional reforms to end the military's control of Thai politics.

The August 2020 coup in Mali has once again demonstrated the instability of the Sahel. The region is affected by climate change and rapid population growth. Rivalries over access to livelihoods exacerbate grievances against states. Struggling to provide basic services throughout their territory and security at their borders, governments are competing with armed groups that have emerged from the failed regimes of Central Africa, North Africa and the Middle East. The instability in this region has ...

Mali: The coup and its consequences

Kort overzicht 04-09-2020

On 18 August 2020, a group of mutinying soldiers from the Malian army arrested President Ibrahim Boubakar Keita and forced him to resign and dissolve the government and National Assembly. Although the putschists promised to organise elections and reinstate the constitutional order, no clear path for transition emerged from the discussions with the West African regional authority, ECOWAS. The coup risks further destabilising the Sahel and challenges the EU strategy in the region.

The European Council video-conference meeting of 19 August 2020 was called by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, due to the increasingly worrying situation in Belarus after the recent national elections. As Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, summarised, the European Council decided to convey three clear messages from the meeting: i) the EU stands with the Belarussian people; ii) the EU will place sanctions on all those responsible for violence, repression ...

Bolivia: A test for democracy

Kort overzicht 16-01-2020

Bolivia's Evo Morales was probably the most successful among the presidents belonging to the left-wing movements that swept across the Latin American region in the early 2000s. However, his insistence on clinging to power in defiance of the Constitution and the will of the majority of Bolivians, including many of his former supporters, ultimately led to his demise and sparked political conflict. Nevertheless, the agreement reached between all parties to call new elections gives hope for the future ...

Future EU-Turkey relations

Briefing 23-10-2018

In June 2018, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected as president of Turkey, this time with extended powers under the revised Turkish Constitution. Over the previous couple of years, his country's relationship with the EU had been challenged by issues such as the ongoing management of the migration crisis and the EU-Turkey Agreement, the attempted military coup in Istanbul and Ankara, and the ensuing purge, which the EU and international organisations criticised for its disproportionate severity. With ...

Media freedom trends 2018: Turkey

Kort overzicht 26-04-2018

Over the last two years, media freedom in Turkey has deteriorated rapidly. Although the EU expressed support for the government in the face of the failed military coup in July 2016, it is now concerned about respect for fundamental values in Turkey.