The five years following the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris saw two important changes in jihad- inspired terrorism in France. Between 1995 and 2015, the profile of the terrorists and their modus operandi were quite constant: a huge majority of young, second- generation Muslims, mainly from North Africa, and a smaller group of converts, who set up networks of relatively well-trained friends and brothers, aimed at killing the largest possible number of people by using explosives and automatic weapons.
Let us start with the facts. Over the last years, there were significant gas discoveries off the coasts of Egypt, Israel, and Cyprus. The total reserves in this area comprise around 2100 billion cubic meters, which roughly correspond to four years of the total gas consumption of all European states. Most of these fields are several miles off the coast. So how to establish which state actually owns the resource?
In these very days, the long-awaited European Union-African Union summit was meant to take place in Brussels, before eventually being postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic.
However, the issue of a possible new partnership between Europe and Africa remains more crucial than ever, and not by chance it was on the agenda of the last European Council. "Africa is the European Union's natural partner and neighbour. Together we can build a more prosperous, more peaceful and more sustainable future for all".
“The poisoning of the opposition leader, Mr Alexei Navalny, has shocked all of us. We can expect that this will have an impact on European Union-Russia relations.” This is how the EU Vice-President Josep Borrell addressed the EU Parliament last September. Navalny’s poisoning is yet another episode of the EU-RU relations saga, adding up to tensions stemming from the Belarus protests, conflicts in Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh, clashes over energy and particularly the start of the Nord Stream 2 operations.
Today, 20 years ago, hundreds of thousands of citizens gathered in Belgrade and assaulted the parliament asking for the resignation of the president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, who was accused of electoral fraud. The day after, he recognized the defeat in the presidential elections. Since then, Serbia underwent a democratic transition – a process that was never completed.
In June, the British foreign policy apparatus made an announcement that surprised everyone, and no one, at the same time. The Department for International Development (DFID), which for over twenty years served as the government's primary agent of its global development policy, was to be merged into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe, it was clear that asylum seekers and migrants in an irregular situation would be disproportionately affected. International organisations raised the alarm that migrants’ precarious living conditions, especially in camps, reception centres, and those in detention, amplified the risks of COVID-19 outbreaks.
Irregular sea arrivals to Italy are up this year. By September 13th, Italy had recorded at least 21,011 migrant arrivals at its shores: higher than for the whole 2018 (20,629), and almost twice as high as last year. Wasn’t the COVID-19 pandemic supposed to deter irregular migration, as well as the regular kind? Think again. Along the Central Mediterranean route, two forces appear to have been at work, acting as an incentive for migrants to depart from both Libya and Tunisia. And the pandemic has had an effect, but not the one many expected.
Six months after the COVID-19 pandemic swept through Europe, migration is back on everyone’s agendas. But did it ever go away? As the European Commission prepares to present its new pact on migration and asylum over the next few weeks, this Dossier reflects on what can be learnt so far from the impact of the worst global health crisis in a century on migration flows and policies.
As the presidential election nears in Belarus—marked by strong countrywide opposition to President Alexander Lukashenka and a corresponding crackdown—the United States faces a choice. If the latest bout of repression continues or intensifies up to and after polling day, it will have to decide whether to once more take a tough line against Lukashenka, after a few years of tentative rapprochement, or to turn a blind eye because of geopolitical calculations.
Over the last six years, Belarus’ foreign policy has evolved significantly in response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine in 2014. Compared to Ukraine’s political turmoil and subsequent war in Donbas, neighbouring Belarus seemed like a kingdom of stability. Minsk was quick to adopt a neutral role and put itself forward to host the main venue for negotiation on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The upcoming presidential elections in Belarus are likely to mark a critical (dis)juncture for the country in general and, in particular, for its relations with Russia. The two allies have exhausted the model of bilateral relations that served them well in the past and need to open a new chapter in their relationship. What this chapter might look like and how long and bumpy the road to it is going to be will depend to a large extent on the outcomes of this election.