This Week’s Hotspots
Twin bombs hit Istanbul earlier on Saturday two hours after the end of a football match. This resulted in 38 dead and many injured. The authorities accused the PKK and declared a day of mourning on Sunday.
During a two-day conference on Ukraine, OSCE member states failed to agree on a resolution on Ukraine. Tensions between the United States and Russia led to a stalemate. At the same conference Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and next OSCE chairman, Sebastian Kurz, emphasised the importance of fighting the Islamic jihadist ideology in Europe. “We have over 10,000 people in the OSCE countries that have gone to Iraq and Syria to support Islamic State terrorism,” … “And when they get back into our societies, they pose a massive security risk for us all.” Kurz told reporters.
Further on security matters, the European Commission outlined steps in a new Action Plan to strengthen the Union’s border security. The aim is to combat forged travel documents and to improve their issuance. These measures are expected to improve measures against terrorism as well as to benefit the migration process.
Meanwhile, France’s national assembly has announced the extension of the state of emergency until July 2017.
At a conference of the German conservative party Angela Merkel continued to dismiss attempts to limit the intake of refugees in Germany. Merkel did call for the banning of full faced veils in the country. This call was supported by a large number of her conservative Christian Democrat (CDU) party voters.
In Italy, Minister of Foreign Affairs Paolo Gentiloni has been named the new prime minister, after Renzi resigned after the population rejected his constitutional reform plan.
In Spain a former member of GAL (a militant organisation targeting ETA members in the 80s) was arrested for promoting Islamic State ideology.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde has been put on trial for negligence over a 400 million euro-payment to a French tycoon while she was minister of finance. Lagarde is accused of the misuse of public funds and faces a one year sentence and a 15,000 euro fine if convicted.
Finally, Romania’s social democrats won the parliamentary elections with 46% of the vote while the centre-right Liberals came in second.
Is cooperation possible between NATO and the EU?
Judy Dempsey, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at Carnegie Europe and Editor in chief of ‘Strategic Europe’, asked a few researchers a significant question: Whether they think the EU and NATO can cooperate.
- Cornelius Adebahr, nonresident fellow at the think tank, anticipates an eventual merge.
- Federica Bindi, Senior Fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, answered positively yet questions the EU’s defence intentions.
- Paul Hilde, Associate Professor at the Center for Norwegian and European Security of the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies, said that the EU and NATO should cooperate but are unwilling to do it.
- Pauline Massart, the deputy director for security and geopolitics at Friends of Europe, explained that they already cooperate, but not perfectly.
- Stephen Szabo, the executive director of the Transatlantic Academy, gave a vague answer redefining the aim behind the old question.
- Jan Techau, director of the Richard C. Holbrooke Forum at the American Academy in Berlin, stated that potential collaboration and cooperation between both organisations is unlikely to cause a strategic difference.
From Economics to Politics for the EU
Recently the EU has seen fast paced developments. From the Austrian to the Italian elections, from the emergence of François Fillion in France to Merkel’s decision to run again, these instances have shaken the Union. Financially, the fluctuation of the Euro has given negative signals. The importance of changing economic strategy has been reinforced by the European Commission’s suggestion to increase budgetary spending. A political and economic expansionary approach can help promote pro-European governments in France, The Netherlands and Germany, countries that will face elections the coming year. Under the new economic measures, the ease of pressure on European institutions could make the politics and security of the Union top priorities.