Weekly WBE Monitor #3

By Dina Arakji

This Week’s Hotspots

Boris Johnson’s new initiative. During a joint press conference to conclude the UK’s official visit to Turkey, Boris Johnson expressed UK’s determination to help Turkey join the EU even though his country decided to leave. Afterwards, the British foreign minister expressed Turkey’s important role in world affair and reassured the Kingdom’s support to it after the failed coup.

… also in Britain, the prime minister, Theresa May has announced that the UK will invoke Article 50 before the end of March 2017. May has channelled her commitment to making Britain “a sovereign and independent country” in “The Sunday Times” front-page article.

On another hand, Europe’s Security disconnection with NATO continues. The dominant topic at the two-day Bratislava EU meeting was defence and security. Arnaud Danjean, a French lawmaker at the European Parliament, expressed the NATO’s interests does not coincide with European’s contemporary security challenges and needs. Furthermore, Brussels revealed that it has been funding R&D defence-related projects for a while.

Wait, Is ISIS hitting Europe Again? Gilles de Kerchove, EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, warned members of Civil Liberties’ EU parliamentary committee that Europe might confront an ISIS-managed chemical attack.

Oh! A hidden camp in the Arctic you say. The top-secret US Icewarm project’s waste will soon surface to the world due to global warming. The project, which dated back to the Cold War and located under Greenland, used the frozen tunnels of Camp Century to test the possibility of launching a nuclear missile at the Soviet Union .

…and Spain shuns socialism. Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish leader of the Socialist Party, has announced his resignation. The decision came after he lost the vote for the political party platform vision he had. This step by the party could pave the way for his rival Mariano Rajoy for another term as the Prime Minister position for another term. The country has suffered from an executive vacuum since last December.

Wait, another refugee dilemma. On Sunday, Hungary held a referendum regarding the European Union refugee resettlement plan. The results showed ultimate rejection the EU proposal with 92%. However, the voters’ turnout did not reach the 50% threshold to make the results legally binding, according to the Hungarian Law .

Selected Pieces

A Russian stop in Paris. EU member states have maintained a minimal superficial cooperation with Russian after its conflict with Ukraine. However, France is the only country that adopted a pragmatic and friendlier approach. During the NATO summit in Warsaw, Hollande said that “for France, Russia isn’t an adversary, isn’t a threat.”

Putin is scheduled to visit Paris in October. Both scepticism and close observations dominate the event. What to expect? Nothing related to sanctions, according to Fyodor Lukyanov, the editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs magazine, nor the promotion of his political agenda while meeting Hollande.

There is no looking back for May. On Sunday, October 1, Theresa May delivered the opening speech at the Conservative Party conference where she briefly outlined the country’s strategy to exit the EU. The prime minister took a tougher stand on Brexit pointing out the negotiated deal will include cooperation on law enforcement, counter-terrorism and British companies’ maximum freedom to operate in the single market. However, she clarified that “we are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration again. And we are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

French Counter-Terrorism’s counter effect. Since the announcement of the state of emergency, France has witnessed a tremendous increase in terrorism litigations. The piled up folders with few specialised judges are causing a crisis. An increase in judges, with a concentration on terrorism, ought to happen to alleviate the country’s judicial stalemate.

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