Following Ukrainian President Zelensky’s announcement of the creation of a new International Legion of Territorial Defense, essentially inviting foreigners to join the fight against Russia and promising them arms upon arrival, reactions have been mixed. Whereas some saw his plea as a desperate call for help and urged troops and civilians to respond to the call, others expressed greater concerns that this could lead to a renewed flood of foreign fighters.
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Diplomacy has retreated as the smouldering Ukraine crisis took a decisive turn this week. On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched “special military operations” with the objective of “demilitarising Ukraine” but not “occupying” it. Just days prior to this, Russia had upped the ante by recognising the sovereignty of Peoples’ Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, two of Ukraine’s eastern-most provinces and deploying Russian peace-keeping forces in these territories.
Welcome to Pivot to Asia, our new monthly newsletter on key issues and trends in Asia. Today, we turn the spotlight on the France's Ministerial Forum for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and on its implications for the Eu’s policy towards Asia and China.
France reinforces its Space Strategy to compete in the new arena, with a focus on EU cooperation.
The 5th and most recent European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit took place in Abidjan on 29-30 November 2017. Its focus was on investing in youth and managing migration/mobility. The 6th EU-AU Summit, due to take place in fall 2020, was postponed due to the global health crisis: it will finally take place 17-18 February 2022 in Brussels, under the French presidency of the Council of the EU and Senegalese chairmanship of the African Union (AU).
It is often said that Africa is not a country, but when it comes to Europe-Africa relations, we should always bear in mind that Europe is not either. The European Union (EU) is pursuing a fresh and ambitious strategy for the continent, while nearly all Member States carry out their own Africa policy autonomously.
Ever since, in March 2020, the European Union (EU) issued its proposed African strategy with the release of the Joint Communication Towards a new Comprehensive strategy with Africa, reference has been made to the 6th European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit, which was to be held in Brussels in the fall of the same year, as a topical moment for the redefinition of the partnership between the two continents.
The 6th EU-AU Summit, scheduled for the 17-18 February 2022 in Brussels, takes place at a rather extraordinary moment in the evolution of relations between Europe and Africa. Leaders from across both regions would do well in recognising the significance of this period, and should aim to provide a more robust sense of strategic direction for the partnership, particularly from a peace and security perspective.
The EU-AU Summit takes place this year as Africa looks ahead to Egypt’s hosting of the twenty-seventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in November 2022. Already being billed as the ‘Africa COP’, the region is hoping to secure meaningful progress on its climate and resilient development agenda.
In normal times, the lead up to a major sporting event such as the Beijing Winter Olympics is accompanied by a flurry of bad news stories, which then give way to a global focus on the sports and performances as the event gets underway, before attention turns to the next major sporting attraction. These are not normal times, though. First, the Beijing Games are taking place during a global pandemic; second, the backdrop to these Games is a decline in the number of states willing to host them and the deterioration of Sino-US relations.