This Week’s Hotspots
Open source intelligence is essential for situational awareness prior any good policy recommendation. Each week, our Intelligence Officer Dina Arakji compiles the most important news and analyses about the themes that matter for the European Union. The Weekly WBE Monitor matches the focus areas of our research projects, and helps our readers keep track of their actuality.
Intelligence cooperation: Integrating the Security Market
Brussels proposed to establish a unified EU certification procedure for aviation security for screening equipment as a step to achieve the effective Security Union. This move aims to improve information sharing between states, a problem the EU has been facing through the pattern of terrorist attacks (The Atlantic, 5 August). The authorities will be able to “prevent threats before they materialise, and strengthen the security of European citizens and the resilience of European society as a whole,” According to the EU Commissioner Avrampoulos (European Commission, 7 September).
On the other hand, the certification will serve to strengthen the unity European market economy, competitiveness of the security industry, and increase employment. The internal market has been fragmented due to national specific certification controlled by domestic requirements (Bloomberg, 7 September).
Migration crisis: accomodating Turkey
Christos Stylianides, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, have signed an agreement with Turkey to fund a program with €348 m. The program under the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) aims to provide debit cards where the money will be automatically deposited to support one million refugees in Turkey. The initiative is expected to be more efficient as it will enable refugees to buy their particular needs (European Commission, 8 September).
This step helped to re-stabilize the EU-Turkish soared relationship from the summer. The program will start next month under which the World Food Program will oversee it in collaboration with the Turkish Red Crescent (The Wall Street Journal, 8 September).
Migration crisis: What about Greece?
Another €115 m was offered to Greece to improve shelters, camps, and humanitarian situation before winter. The emergency support funds will be channeled through International Organizations like the UN, and internationally recognized NGOs.
The fund, however, does not intend to replace the national emergency response actions but complement them within the legal framework of the EU Council Regulation 2016/369 and the Treaty on Functioning of the European Union’s Article 122(1) (NewEurope, 10 September).
EU Counter-Terrorism: Romanian President meets the Chancellor
The Romanian president, Klaus Iohannis, in a meeting with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sept. 9, suggested the creation of a specialized agency for combating terrorism. He explained that the step would strengthen the European Union security and sense of safety (Business Review, 9 September).
Conflict Resolution in the MENA region: A Breakthrough Ceasefire
EU officials have endorsed the cease-fire reached in Syria between US and Russia. Frederica Mogherini welcomed the deal and stated, “The agreement… is very welcome. All parties to the conflict, other than groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United Nations Security Council, must now ensure its effective implementation” (Russia Today, 10 September). The deal is intended to last one week through which it aims to decrease violence level, and open the door for humanitarian aid to besieged areas such as Aleppo.
The agreement is considered a breakthrough following the failed attempts in February of this year and a stepping stone to a potential peace settlement. On the other hand, critics have been skeptical about its ability to strengthen the Assad regime.
EU-Russia relationship revisited
After the UK’s vote to remain outside the EU, worrisome news surfaced on the impact of Brexit on the EU-Russian relationship. In an interview with Russia Direct, Florent Parmentier, assistant director of Sciences Po’s School of Public Affairs, contested negative assumptions of deteriorating ties between both entities (Russia Direct, 9 September). According to him, for the next couple of years, the EU will be inward-looking and pay less attention on its Eastern European neighbors.
On the other hand, the economic relationship between both parties will remain healthy as Europe is Russia’s the biggest oil and gas importer, says Parmentier. He suggests initiating an “EU-Russia reconciliation” to improve the cooperation and stop focusing on Vladimir Putin only when analysing Russian policy.
Did we miss something important? Drop Dina a line at email@example.com.