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Over the summer and autumn of 2021, in what is increasingly viewed as a hybrid warfare tactic aimed at destabilising Europe, Aliaksandr Lukashenka's Belarussian regime has instrumentalised migrants, manipulating the organisation of flights from the Middle East to Minsk and deliberately orchestrating migrants' onward travel to the EU-Belarus border. With weather conditions endangering migrants' lives, the situation has also led to serious humanitarian consequences. This activity – which many argue ...

Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is often compared with the EU. Both organisations brought together former adversaries and successfully resolved tensions through cooperation, helping to bring peace and prosperity to their regions. However, the EU and ASEAN operate in very different ways. ASEAN is a strictly intergovernmental organisation in which decisions are based on consensus. While this approach has made it difficult for south-east Asian countries to achieve ...

Kyrgyzstan is the most democratic but also the least stable of the former Soviet Central Asian republics. The most recent upheaval resulted in the cancellation of the October 2020 parliamentary elections. New elections scheduled for November 2021 are likely to consolidate the position of Sadyr Japarov, the country's new president. A controversial new constitution raises concerns over the future of Kyrgyz democracy.

Human rights sanctions are nothing new, but the death in 2009 of Russian whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky in detention resulted in calls for more vigorous action to counter continuing abuses in many countries. Adopted by the US in 2016, the Global Magnitsky Act was the first of a new generation of human rights sanctions programmes, which, in contrast to traditional sanctions targeted at individual countries, can be flexibly applied to perpetrators from all over the world, regardless of their geographical ...

Global warming and growing interest in the Arctic's economic potential are bringing changes for the region's 4 million people. The EU's 2016 Arctic policy, prioritising sustainability, economic development and international cooperation, is being revised to reflect these developments. The Foreign Affairs Committee report, on the October I session agenda, notes some of the environmental and security concerns, including the risk of geopolitical tensions.

On 17-19 September, Russia will hold elections at local, regional and national level, most importantly to the State Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly. Four hundred and fifty deputies will be elected for a five-year term. Ever since 2003, the State Duma has been dominated by the pro-Putin United Russia party, which currently holds a three-quarters supermajority. With the ruling party clearly in charge, the parliament serves as little more than a rubber stamp for Kremlin and government ...

Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea marked the beginning of a new and difficult phase in bilateral relations. The latter are based on the five principles agreed by EU foreign ministers in 2016, in addition to the joint communication of June 2021. During the September plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to debate EU–Russia political relations and vote a draft recommendation to the Council, the Commission and the High Representative. While acknowledging that the EU approach has contained ...

The OSCE's origins go back to 1975, when the countries in the two opposing blocs in the Cold War signed the Helsinki Final Act, enshrining principles such as territorial integrity and respect for human rights. The act was followed by a series of follow-up meetings to monitor implementation, in a process known as the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE). Following the adoption of the 1990 Paris Charter envisaging a new post-Cold War European order, in 1995 the CSCE was put on a ...

The 2018 Velvet Revolution installed Nikol Pashinyan as prime minister of Armenia. By 2020, Pashinyan's reform drive, already running out of momentum, hit two major obstacles: the coronavirus pandemic and, above all, a brief but disastrous war with Azerbaijan. Despite the trauma of defeat, in June 2021 voters gave Pashinyan a second chance, in elections seen as a positive sign for the country's future.

The EU's dependence on Russian gas imports shows no signs of lessening. Although the Green Deal envisages a carbon-neutral Europe by 2050, natural gas remains a key part of the energy mix as coal is phased out and renewable energy is not yet ready to fully take up the slack. EU domestic gas production is fast declining, and there is not enough gas at affordable prices from alternative suppliers to replace Russian production. Launched in 2015, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline connects Russia and Germany ...