Europe & EU February 2023-

Written by  //  March 19, 2023  //  Europe & EU  //  No comments

Europe & EU September 2022-January 2023
Official website of the European Union
The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
About the Visegrad Group
Remix news and commentary from Central Europe
The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA)
Politico EU
The Digital Services Act package
The EU as a global actor in the Indo-Pacific

19 March
Montenegro goes to the polls as president seeks re-election
Voters in Montenegro are casting ballots in a presidential election marked by political turmoil and uncertainty over whether the small NATO member state in the Balkans will unblock its bid to join the European Union or instead seek to improve ties with Serbia and Russia.
21 October 2021
The Western Balkans leaving the EU dream behind
Despite the positive noises made at the EU-Western Balkans summit in Slovenia, the EU enlargement process is still in crisis.

18 March
Serbia, Kosovo talks on EU-backed deal to normalise ties run into the night
(Reuters) – A fresh round of talks between Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and EU officials on Saturday on implementing a deal to normalise ties between Belgrade and Pristina ran into the night without any apparent progress.
The two leaders held separate meetings with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell before a three-way session in North Macedonia. …
Kosovo and Serbia agreed in Brussels last month to a Western-backed deal to normalise relations, following nearly 10 years of EU-mediated dialogue during which little progress was made. However, agreement is still needed on an annex on implementing the plan, which will be the focus of Saturday’s discussions.
Despite verbal consent to the agreement, Kurti and Vucic remained firm in their positions without any hint they were willing to compromise on key issues.
Vucic has said Serbia would never accept independence of Kosovo, while Kurti has said he would not agree to a proposed association of Serb municipalities in Kosovo, which would give greater autonomy to Serb majority municipalities.
Thousands protested in Belgrade on Friday against the EU plan which they see as de facto recognition of Kosovo independence.
15 March
Serbia’s far right seizes on Putin’s war to push retaking Kosovo
Belgrade’s ultra-nationalists use Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to boost bid to disrupt talks on recognizing Pristina
(Politico Eu) Politicians on Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić’s right flank have sniffed out an opportunity to tie Russia’s war on Ukraine to their desire to swallow up Kosovo, even as Vučić engages in EU-brokered negotiations to partially normalize relations with Kosovo, the independence of which neither Belgrade nor Moscow recognize.
A victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine is a stepping stone to Serbia regaining Kosovo, according to Miša Vacić, the leader of the highly nationalistic, pro-Kremlin Serbian Right political party.

17 March
Turkey, Hungary to approve Finland’s NATO membership
Sweden, however, has yet to receive support from Ankara and Budapest.
Turkey and Hungary announced Friday that they will sign off on Finland’s NATO membership — removing the biggest barrier to Finland’s joining the alliance but leaving Sweden’s bid languishing.
“We have decided to initiate the ratification process in our parliament,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a press conference in Istanbul alongside his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö.

16 March
As war rages in Ukraine, is Moldova on the brink of conflict?
Russia says the West wants to turn Moldova against Moscow as Ukraine claims the Kremlin wants to control the small landlocked nation

21 February
The EU’s new role in mediating between Armenia and Azerbaijan
The EU has sent civilian observers to Armenia. For the mission to succeed it needs a flexible mandate, diplomatic support and resources
(IPS) The first unarmed civilian observers of a ground-breaking European Union mission have just arrived in Armenia to keep tabs on worsening tensions with Azerbaijan. They will patrol the border to ensure Brussels knows of any flareups immediately, giving it a better chance of intervening fast enough to keep the peace. The mission must tread carefully in an area that also hosts Russian military and border guards. To help it succeed, the EU must provide the mission full funding and as much freedom of manoeuvre as possible.
In theory, this deployment should significantly shorten the time it takes the EU or member states to react if any new fighting flares up at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. The neighbours fought their last war in 2020 over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-populated region that declared independence from Azerbaijan, and since then their long state border has seen several clashes, each bloodier than the last.

18 February
EU ‘can move mountains’ to supply ammunition to Kyiv, says von der Leyen
(Reuters) – European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday she was confident the EU’s joint interest in getting more ammunition to Ukraine will trump individual national interests when it comes to common European defence procurement programmes.
The bloc is urgently exploring ways for its member countries to team up to buy munitions to help Ukraine, following warnings from Kyiv that its forces – which are firing up to 10,000 artillery shells daily – need more supplies quickly.
If the EU commands defence procurement, Russia will cheer (paywall)
(Telegraph UK) Just as Ukraine faces its most perilous moment since the Russian invasion a year ago, the EU risks ruining Western unity by shutting others out of its centralised arms procurement policy
The EU plan would involve large loans from the European Central Bank (ECB). The hope is to incentivise arms manufacturers to step up production and replenish equipment sent to Ukraine. With a bonanza in the offing, the most protectionist member states, such as France, Italy and Spain, are pressing for an armaments programme that benefits their industries. Brussels hopes to capitalise on the Ukrainian war to centralise its control of arms procurement, just as the Covid pandemic enabled it to centralise that of vaccines.
The British fear that it would also sabotage Nato’s long-standing attempt to standardise its equipment. Any rationalisation of procurement should be based on the quality of the kit, not whether it was a product of the EU.
Underlying the dispute is a strong suspicion that the top priority of officials in Brussels is not to improve Nato’s military capabilities, still less to save Ukraine from the impending Russian onslaught. Rather, the EU is exploiting the war to do what it does best: extend its own power.
When the Russians marched on Kyiv a year ago, the Ukrainian nation state covered itself with glory, while the “post-national” EU gestured from the sidelines.
The international organisation that has made a decisive contribution to the resurgence of Ukraine is not the EU but Nato, an alliance of nation states.
It is hard to see how giving the EU a dominant role in defence procurement can do anything other than delay the delivery of tanks, artillery, planes, missiles, ammunition and other war materiel to the battle front.

16-17 February
What is happening in Moldova, Ukraine’s tiny European neighbor with a pro-Russian movement?
President Maia Sandu on Monday accused Russia of plotting a coup to overthrow her pro-European Union government using “foreign saboteurs.”
Sandu said authorities had confirmed allegations first voiced by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last week, who warned his intelligence agencies have uncovered “a detailed Russian plan to undermine the political situation in Moldova.”
(CNBC) The landlocked country, one of Europe’s poorest, has suffered months of political and economic upheaval amid the war, including within its separatist, pro-Russian breakaway state of Transnistria.
Moldovan MPs approve pro-western PM amid tensions over Russia
Dorin Recean takes office facing inflation at 30% and warnings of Russian plan for country’s ‘destruction’
Why we should be paying attention to Moldova (audio)
(The World) The country of Moldova is small, poor and landlocked. But there’s a lot of international attention on the country right now. Moldova borders Ukraine. It used to be firmly in the Soviet bloc, but now leans toward the European Union and the West. Russia wants the country back in its orbit, partly to help conduct its war in Ukraine. Host Marco Werman speaks with Cristian Gherasim, a journalist based in Romania who is also an analyst of Eastern and Central Europe about the tussle Moldova finds itself in and what countries it can rely on to defend it from Russia.

9 February
Ukraine’s Zelenskyy makes emotional appeal for EU membership
(AP) — President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked his Western allies Thursday for more weapons and said “a Ukraine that is winning” its war with Russia should become a member of the European Union, arguing the bloc won’t be complete without it.
At the close of a 16-hour summit that ended Friday when Zelenskyy was already gone, the EU leaders pledged they would do all it takes to back Ukraine but offered no firm timetable for EU membership talks to begin as Zelenskyy had hoped.
The commitments came after an emotional day at EU headquarters where Zelenskyy wrapped up a rare, two-day trip outside Ukraine to seek new weaponry from the West to repel the invasion that Moscow has been waging for nearly a year. As he spoke, a new offensive by Russia in eastern Ukraine was under way.
Zelenskyy, who also visited the U.K. and France, received rapturous applause and cheers from the European Parliament and a summit of the 27 EU leaders, insisting in his speech that the fight with Russia was one for the freedom of all of Europe.

Greece and other EU countries rush to help Turkey after quake
Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics.
(GZERO) What’s been the European reaction to the catastrophe in Turkey?
Well, it has been overwhelming, you see in all of the European countries mobilizing whatever resources they have in order to rush to the disaster area and try to help. Most notably, of course, Greece was very early, also with military resources in view of the tension between the two countries. Armenia is also there. Everyone is there. And I think the European Union Swedish presidency will organize a donor conference in order to get additional money within the next few weeks. It’s a catastrophe for all of Europe. Everyone wants to help.

7 February
Europe at Debt’s Door
Hans-Werner Sinn
The European Commission’s ongoing borrowing spree is economically irresponsible and clearly inflationary. By continuing to issue common bonds to finance its expenditures, the Commission is harming European savers and undermining the creditworthiness of national governments.
(Project Syndicate) Hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the European Union needs money. And given that Paolo Gentiloni, the bloc’s economy commissioner, cannot get it directly from the EU’s member states, he wants to borrow it. The purpose does not seem to matter. What matters is that the Commission receives money – lots of it – even if that means amassing a mountain of debt.
In 2020, Gentiloni played a key role in creating NextGenerationEU (NGEU), the emergency program that enabled the EU to borrow over €800 billion ($858 billion) to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last May, he wanted to raise funds to aid Ukraine, and in October he suggested issuing joint debt to help European citizens with their gas bills. Now, amid a wave of common debt issuances, the European Commission plans to compete with US President Joe Biden’s $369 billion Inflation Reduction Act, which includes subsidies for clean-energy projects.

5 February
Called a danger, now Italy’s Giorgia Meloni is EU’s most popular leader (Paywall)
Italy’s first female prime minister has toned down the ferocious rhetoric and is keeping Brussels on side, while letting her charm come to the fore
(The Sunday Times) When Giorgia Meloni became Italy’s first female prime minister last October her harshest opponents presented her as a danger to her country and to Europe. There were warnings that politicians within her Brothers of Italy party were too openly nostalgic for the days of Benito Mussolini, the fascist dictator. Battles with the European Union and the financial markets were anticipated over her economic plans. Critics speculated about how long a leader with little government experience could hold together a three-party coalition that includes two of her biggest rivals on the right. Instead Meloni, 46, has emerged from her unexpectedly smooth first 100 days in office, completed last week, as the most popular leader in the EU.
“You have to forget about Meloni, the opposition leader, who was very aggressive, very populist and very basic,” said Teresa Coratella of the European Council on Foreign Relations in Rome. “If you look at her as prime minister she is very pragmatic, very stable politically and not aggressive. At least in public.”

3 February
EU prepares more Russia sanctions; Kremlin readies offensive
(AP) — The European Union will unveil its 10th package of sanctions against Russia on Feb. 24 to mark the anniversary of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a senior official from the bloc said in Kyiv on Friday, as Ukrainian forces gird for an expected Russian offensive in the coming weeks.
The sanctions will target technology used by Russia’s war machine, among other things, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference.
The sanctions will take aim in particular at components used in the manufacturing of drones, she said, naming Iran as a key supplier of Russia.
Closing loopholes that the Kremlin uses to circumvent sanctions will also be a priority, according to Von der Leyen, who was on her fourth visit to the Ukrainian capital since the war began.

In 2022, the war in Ukraine awakened Europe. Here’s how it must adapt in 2023.
(New Atlanticist) The landscape before the European Union (EU) at the beginning of 2023 is unrecognizable from that of just one year ago. Europe has been faced with a new geopolitical reality in the aftermath of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, and the EU has been compelled to reconsider everything from its military posture and relations with Ukraine to tech and trade challenges and its own institutions. How will the EU continue to bolster its security with conflict raging in its backyard and a changing world order? Can Brussels forge a new path toward better relations with partners in the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and the Western Balkans? Our experts spell out the areas where the EU needs to adapt in 2023.

Dave Keating: Think big with EU treaty reform

Daniel Fried: Sustain momentum on aid to Ukraine and Russia sanctions

Marie Jourdain: Find the ridgeline of EU military support to partners

Ilva Tare: Find a meaningful path forward for EU enlargement

Rachel Rizzo: Integrate and deepen defense efforts—with a leadership role for Germany

Aaron Korewa: Develop a ‘military Schengen’ and forge a stronger Polish-German relationship

Frances Burwell: Push a more active US-EU Trade and Technology Council

Tyson Barker: Advance a heavy digital legislative docket

2 February
Czech Voters Deal a Blow to Populism
The election of Petr Pavel is important to Czechs—and to Americans.
By Tom Nichols
(The Atlantic Daily) Pavel is a newcomer to politics, but he clobbered [populist former prime minister Andrej] Babiš—who by sheer virtue of name recognition and money should have been the favorite—garnering 58 percent of the vote in an election with a record 70 percent turnout. That’s not a squeaker; that’s a repudiation. Babiš, especially when faced with the coronavirus pandemic, was lousy at governing, as populists almost always are. But the Russian onslaught against Ukraine also seemed to break the spell for many Czechs, and this election is likely one more example of Vladimir Putin’s brutality in Ukraine undoing years of the careful propaganda that once bolstered Russia’s position in the world.

Leave a Comment

comm comm comm