The EU remains the Western Balkans’ primary trading partner and investor. But failing to step up engagement and deliver on enlargement promises will come at a high cost and benefit the likes of Russia and China.
With twenty months left until Turkey’s legislative and presidential elections, the political debate will be fierce. The West may choose to sit it out rather than see its relationship with Ankara deteriorate even further.
Despite the fallout over AUKUS, France does not intend to withdraw from the Indo-Pacific. The diplomatic crisis has given President Macron a chance to make his country’s voice heard on a major geostrategic issue.
Belarus is illegally sending migrants to Lithuania and Poland in response to these governments’ outspoken criticism of Lukashenko’s crackdown on the opposition. This cynical strategy is prompting the EU to forge its own short-sighted migration policy.
Berlin’s ability and willingness to lead Europe cannot be taken for granted. Any new coalition will first have to overcome major internal differences on climate, foreign policy, and defense before tackling the EU’s future direction.
Unconvinced by the EU’s stance toward an increasingly assertive China, Australia has sidelined Europe in its approach to the Indo-Pacific. This places Canberra’s trade and diplomatic relations with Europe at risk.
Germany’s next chancellor will have to finally define Berlin’s security and defense interests. That means addressing the future of U.S. nuclear weapons stationed in the country and the desperate need to modernize Germany’s armed forces.
The military alliance forged between the United States, Australia, and the UK at the expense of France will lead to new alignments and could profoundly impact the transatlantic relationship. The United States and its European allies should know what’s at stake.
The chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has left European capitals skeptical about such missions and critical of American leadership. The debacle should lead to frank discussions about NATO’s role and the EU’s defense ambitions.
This German federal election is crucial for Europe’s future. Angela Merkel’s successor has the choice of leading Europe toward more integration and strategic relevance or abetting its gradual, inexorable decline.