The EU is changing its internal rules for allocating funds to avoid bankrolling authoritarianism. It should do the same for its external aid.
The EU can engage and show solidarity with protesters against the Lukashenko regime in Belarus by providing its civil society with coaching, technology transfers, and financial resources.
The November 2020 ceasefire agreement halted the war over Nagorny Karabakh, but a sustainable peace agreement remains far from reach. By providing economic support and fostering dialogue and reconciliation, international actors can play a role in this long-term project.
Some European governments have curtailed core democratic freedoms, at times going beyond necessary pandemic precautions. But civil society is holding these restrictions in check.
Turkey’s eroding democracy and assertive foreign policy loom large on the international stage. In 2021, the EU and the United States must protect their interests by containing Turkey’s disruptive behavior while maintaining economic and security ties.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict interrupted Armenia’s reform movement and restricted civil liberties. To prevent the fragile transition from unraveling further, the EU should step up its engagement and democracy support along three priorities.
In spite of its authoritarian practices, Ethiopia has attracted billions in international aid. The November 2020 conflict in the northern Tigray region should prompt a recalibration of the development model, which promotes economic gains without political inclusion.
The EU’s new human rights sanctions regime is a major step forward. Yet the union needs to better establish how the regime connects to the rest of the its foreign policy.
In spite of the return of power politics, the hope for a rules-based international order is not dead. Relaunching multilateralism together with like-minded partners around the world should therefore remain at the center of Europe’s foreign policy.
Climate assemblies can help unlock more effective action against climate change, but improvements are needed in how they are run.
The EU is poised to release new policies to bolster democracy in a digital age. How well these policies fare will depend on how well Europe tackles domestic challenges to democracy.
The coronavirus has accelerated a negative trend toward a more polarized and fragmented world. While movement restrictions have momentarily diminished effective diplomacy, the pandemic could help shape a more agile diplomatic craft.
The European Parliament should be an important source of democratic oversight and accountability as the EU continues to pursue greater security and defense integration.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, European security and defense cooperation reached a new level of ambition. With dark clouds building on many fronts, the EU must safeguard strategic autonomy and ensure democratic quality in defense integration.
While the principal concern about democracy during the coronavirus pandemic has been that European governments will be tempted to hold on to their new executive powers, pressure to restore democracy may now be propelling a predatory and polarized politics.
The EU is a global actor, particularly in the areas of trade, sanctions, and assistance, but its neighboring regions remain the main focus of its external policy.
While France and Germany will factor prominently in the post-Brexit EU, other European countries are forming informal, ad hoc blocs to lobby for their respective interests.
As the United States confronts China more directly, Merkel is exploring deeper cooperation with Xi. Economic upheaval from the coronavirus could reinforce the temptation in Berlin to keep Beijing close.
Civil society organizations throughout Europe are not taking authoritarian encroachment sitting down. Instead, they are finding creative ways to fight back.
The EU’s traditional business model is not fit for a world of power politics. Whether the EU can protect its interests and values in this new situation will depend on stronger and more decisive leadership.