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.
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.
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.
Western governments must be clear that any eventual engagement with the Taliban will have strict conditions, including respect for women’s rights. Speaking to the Taliban leadership should not be equated with legitimizing the new regime.
At the latest NATO summit, allies jointly identified China as a systemic challenge to alliance security. But diverging views on China’s challenge among the partners hinder a consensus on NATO action.
EU sanctions will not change Belarusian leader Lukashenko’s determination to cling to power, but they send an important signal. To avoid isolating ordinary citizens, the EU must combine sanctions with enhanced support for Belarusian civil society.
The EU’s hollow statements expressing “concern” over the latest Israeli-Palestinian conflagration will not deter either party. Unless the Europeans use what little leverage they have, they can forget about having a strategic role in the region.
Globally, EU assistance has been slow to materialize. Supporting countries in dire need of coronavirus vaccines—through both the provision of vaccines and the sharing of patents—would project the union's soft power capacity.
There is no consensus in NATO in favor of Ukraine’s membership. What the most determined Western countries can do is provide intelligence and military support to Ukraine, including weaponry and capability building.
On March 26, the German Constitutional Court ordered the country’s president not to sign off on legislation to ratify the EU’s €750 billion post-coronavirus recovery fund. At stake is Europe’s ability to recover after the pandemic is over.
Brexit is destabilizing Northern Ireland. London’s pursuit of a hard Brexit and the return of border politics could unravel the historic 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended the province’s conflict. It might need the United States to rescue the accord.
It should, but it won’t. The EU’s post-pandemic recovery fund will help the union’s economies get off the ground. But as for integrating Europe’s foreign, security, and digitization policies, the political will and strategic ambition are absent.
Europe will have to juggle environmental concerns, access to resources, and the Arctic’s growing geostrategic role. This will require cooperation with all the major players, including China, if the region is to remain stable and peaceful.
The EU has approved a new global human rights sanctions regime. But will national interests continue to prevent the union from effectively protecting people in places like Belarus, China, and Russia?
The poisoning of Alexei Navalny and his detention in Moscow should spur the EU into finally adopting a tough and united strategy toward the Russia of President Vladimir Putin.
The EU’s new investment deal with China robs the bloc of leverage, contradicts its policy of working closely with the United States on Beijing, and makes a mockery of Europe’s commitment to values.
Incoming U.S. president Joe Biden offers a chance to renew transatlantic ties and forge a common EU-U.S. policy toward China. But for that to happen, the Europeans must agree on how to deal with Beijing.
Hungary and Poland have vetoed the next EU budget in protest of a new rule-of-law conditionality. What instruments and treaties can Europe use to circumvent Budapest and Warsaw’s hostage-taking?
Europe’s leaders cannot expect a free ride from the incoming Biden presidency. It’s time to prepare the ground on security, defense, and strategy if the changing transatlantic relationship is to remain relevant.
Joe Biden or Donald Trump? The winner of the 2020 U.S. election will inherit a deeply polarized society, a democracy under immense strain, and the weakened global standing of the United States.