The German chancellor’s legacy with regard to Russia and Ukraine is mixed, if not contradictory. Still, her successor is unlikely to show the same level of interest, commitment, or clout in their relations with Kiev and Moscow.
The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban lays bare Europe’s lack of strategic foresight and dangerous dependence on the United States. The EU must address its shortcomings or risk losing the ability to defend its values and interests.
There will be no respite when European leaders return from a summer break punctuated by floods, cyber attacks, coronavirus, and challenges to the EU’s rule of law. All the more reason for them to explain to citizens what is at stake for Europe’s future.*
Chancellor Merkel’s last official visit to the White House holds a special political significance. President Biden has placed human rights and rule of law at the top of his agenda, just as these values are under attack from within and outside Europe.
The coming months may well see more bitterness and friction in UK-EU relations. These tensions threaten to unravel the fragile 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which has largely kept violence at bay in Northern Ireland.
EU funding mobilized for the Western Balkans’ green transformation could ultimately flow right into the coffers of Russia and China. The European Commission cannot ignore the geopolitical implications of its Green Agenda for the region.
The European Union must ensure the survival of Russian civil society that is now subject to unprecedented repression. It also needs a strategy to respond quickly in case a narrow window of opportunity for democratic change opens in Russia.
A defining feature of Russia’s leadership is the refusal to deal with the country’s Stalinist past. Until the Kremlin stops whitewashing history, a politically stable relationship between Europe and Russia cannot exist.
With the election of a hardliner as Iranian president, eight years of European thinking that Tehran could be a partner will come to an end. It’s time for the EU to address not only the nuclear file but also regional security threats.
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.
The Americans and Europeans have to reconcile their differences in dealing with authoritarian regimes. This is an immense challenge facing these democracies.
At the NATO summit, President Biden will have to deal with Donald Trump’s pernicious legacy. The biggest challenges include Russia and Turkey, both of which have undermined the alliance solidarity.
The completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline deals Russia several cards that weaken Germany, divide Europe, and blackmail Ukraine. If the EU is to engage globally, it must stop serving as Moscow’s playground.
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 is preparing a new deforestation package with international dimensions. After failing to meet its target of halting deforestation by 2020, this time the union must be aggressively ambitious. That means changing business-as-usual strategic and geo-economic behavior.
Brexit Britain is discovering that its influence and ability to tackle global challenges have diminished. As reality sinks in, it could change the way Britain thinks and acts—very possibly for the better.
It took the hijacking of a plane and the kidnapping of a journalist to shake Europe out of its complacency over Belarus. Beyond sanctions, the EU’s response should include supporting Belarusian society and reconsidering Nord Stream 2.
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.
The Conference on the Future of Europe is built on a haphazard compromise between competing visions, institutional rivalries, and the role of citizens. As such, it is unlikely to provide solutions to the many challenges facing the EU.
The EU prides itself on being a bold climate leader with the aim of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But the union is banking on incremental change. The world simply cannot afford such timid action, or indeed hypocrisy.