La DG ECHO è la Direzione Generale dell’Unione Europea che si occupa di finanziare i programmi di assistenza umanitaria collaborando con ONG, agenzie ONU e altre organizzazioni internazionali e seguendo specifiche procedure di azione previste nei Framework Agreements.
Even as migration pressure at the Greek border is on the rise, the 2013-2017 “migration crisis” is increasingly in the past. Yet, EU countries still struggle to come up with solutions to foster safe, orderly, and regular migration pathways. Europeans continue to look in the rear-view mirror.
The European Union’s Operation EUNAVFOR MED “Sophia” will end this March, to be replaced by a different operation altogether. First much vaunted, then much taunted, Operation Sophia is the perfect symbol of how poisonous the debate around rescuing lives at sea in the Mediterranean has become over the past few years. And it is also a symbol of something larger: the failure of EU Member States to come to an agreement on how to manage migration in a sensible, rational, and evidence-based way.
The Three Seas Initiative (TSI) was established in 2015 as a forum for political and economic dialogue that gathers together 12 EU countries in Central and Eastern Europe (from the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas), with a focus on energy and infrastructure. Cooperation under the Three Seas was intended to be an additional format for regional discussion and coordination covering all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe that are EU members. As such, it was supposed to complement, not replace, other formats, such as cooperation within the Visegrad Group.
When on December 31 2019, Russia and Ukraine reached a tense and difficult five-year gas supply deal, in Brussels they heaved a sigh of relief, with the EU energy Commissioner Maros Sevcovic addressing the agreement as "great news for Europe's energy security”. Indeed, about 16.3% of the European Union's annual natural gas consumption comes from Russia via Ukraine and the agreement should prevent a repeat of the so-called gas wars that previously disrupted supplies and caused real energy problems for several EU member states.
The last decade has seen the eastern Mediterranean region become a hotspot of the global natural gas industry, attracting increasing attention from multiple stakeholders also as a result of its high geopolitical stakes. Notwithstanding this momentum, progress has been bumpy.
Whenever the security of gas supplies is at stake, the shared EU mantra calls for “diversification”. We cry wolf, and the wolf happens to be Russian. The more we cry wolf, however, the more we import volumes of Russian gas. It could just be that when it comes to buying, prices prevail over policies and that in the UE a gas market with transparent prices is finally emerging.
On Wednesday the 5th of February the European Commission proposed a revised methodology for the accession process for candidate and potential candidate countries. This methodology will be applied to Albania and North Macedonia, although for Montenegro and Serbia there has also been foreseen an opt-in in case they want to join.
Boris Johnson has kept his word, and the United Kingdom will finally leave the European Union at the end of January. In little more than six months as Prime Minister, Johnson has succeeded where Theresa May failed: strengthening the conservatives in a national election and carrying the UK out of the EU without further ado. Those who thought that this would close the last chapter of the Brexit saga, however, should reconsider their guess. With the beginning of the transition period, new pages still have to be written.
“We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow”. (Lord Palmerston).