Russian actions in Ukraine in 2014 have prompted an urgent reassessment of the defense posture of many European nations. The Nordic states in particular are grappling with a 2-decade legacy of defense drawdowns and repositioning for expeditionary warfare. The challenge for these nations is how to resurrect a credible military deterrent in the face of continuing Russian assertiveness. One attractive option is closer defense cooperation between the Nordic states, but moves in this direction are slow and faltering. Continue reading →
The Balkan peninsula as defined by the Soča-Krka-Sava border in the north. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: The Western Balkans. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Anthee Carassava
Greece intelligence on ‘heightened state of vigilance’ in search for suspected Islamist militants
Greek surveillance alert comes amid concern that Islamist State fighters might hit back for U.S. airstrike
Greece’s National Intelligence Service said Tuesday that it was at “a heightened state of vigilance” for suspected militants, keeping close tabs on radical Muslims, and had detected at least six foreign fighters with the terrorist group Islamic State transiting through the country in recent months.
The surveillance operation comes amid concern that the militant group, formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, will retaliate for increased U.S airstrikes in Iraq and possible strikes in Syria.
(Reuters) – Germany’s national security council declined two-thirds of applications for arms export licenses at its most recent sitting three weeks ago, German news weekly Spiegel said on Saturday.
The ministry had prevented a license to export to Saudi Arabia 500 million euros worth of sight devices for armored personnel carrier guns from even being discussed in the council, it said.
Spiegel said the sights were made by a unit of Airbus. A spokesman for Airbus said: “We have no information about any government decision. We hope however for a swift and positive decision.”
Such a move by the economy ministry could place Berlin on a direct collision course with Airbus Group after its chief executive Tom Enders warned of increased job cuts and factory closures over arms export curbs in an interview with Reuters on Friday. Continue reading →
Regression to the mean: unveiling a bust of Hungary’s one-time ruler Miklos Horthy, 2013. (Laszlo Balogh / Courtesy Reuters)
Europeans love to celebrate anniversaries, especially those commemorating a terrible past overcome. This year will offer many such moments, marking as it will 100 years since the outbreak of World War I, 75 years since the beginning of World War II, and, most uplifting of all, a quarter century since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Such milestones are bound to make everyone feel good about European unity.
But another important anniversary is less likely to be celebrated, precisely because it would put a damper on those good feelings. Ten years ago, eight eastern European states joined the European Union, followed by Bulgaria and Romania three years later. Europe seemed to have overcome not just Cold War divisions but also deeper historical differences. The EU had brought East and West together, consolidating the fragile democracies that had emerged from the fall of communism. Continue reading →
The European border security agency Frontex is calling on industry to present its border surveillance solutions to key stakeholders and EU member state authorities at two workshops to be held in Poland and Finland this year
Illustration photo (123rf)
One of the key objectives of Frontex is to keep member states informed about new technological developments in the field of border control. In this regard, Frontex seeks to put more emphasis on organizing with the help of member states and practical demonstrations of new technologies.
The Research and Development Unit of Frontex will organize, on Apr. 10 in Warsaw, Poland, a workshop on the challenges and opportunities for border surveillance sensors and platforms. Key stakeholders and representatives of EU member states’ authorities involved in border control will attend. Frontex is inviting all relevant industry to present its latest technological developments in border security surveillance, especially from the perspective of cost-efficiency.The surveillance of external borders is one of the essential components of border control in the EU. Border surveillance activities take place in wide border areas and present a variety of challenges such as detection and tracking of small boats; systems integration; the trade-off between effectiveness and cost; and the surveillance capabilities of border patrol vessels. Continue reading →
Climate change has until now only received limited attention from national governments, EU policymakers and analysts in the framework of international security. A European Parliament report entitled “The Role of the CSDP in case of climate driven crises and natural disasters” was adopted on 23 October 2012. This is a timely moment to provide some clarification and insight on how climate change can impact international security and to describe the position of the international community, especially the European Union (EU).The present Security Review focuses on the definition of a new challenge for international and regional cooperation, military and civilian, in order to target the main problems and thus, to find adequate political, strategic and institutional responses. The impact of climate change is not a problem the international community has to tackle in the future but today.
Formally introduced by the Lisbon Treaty in January 2009, the mutual assistance and solidarity clauses now enshrined as Article 42(7) of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), have, until now, only received limited attention from national governments, EU policymakers and analysts. As these clauses are currently under discussion at the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defence, this is a timely moment to provide some clarifications and insight on clauses that arguably challenge Member States’ sovereignty claims and that could potentially constitute a basis for the further development of the Union’s defence cooperation. The present Security Review focuses on the origins, scope, interpretation and technical aspects of the mutual assistance and solidarity clauses and argues that EU and national policymakers should promptly establish operational mechanisms that would give credibility to these clauses, before their symbolic dimension and concrete potential lose their appeal.
The first day of the “Neighbours of the EU’s Neighbours” conference, hosted by the Department of EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies at the College of Europe in Bruges, focused on rising geopolitical dimensions and challenges in regions adjacent to the European neighbourhood, mainly in the Sahara and Horn of Africa, as well as Western and Central Asia.
The notion of “neighbours of the neighbours” was introduced by the European Commission in 2006 in a Communication on strengthening the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) stating: “We must also look beyond the Union’s immediate neighbourhood, to work with the ‘neighbours of our neighbours’.” In light of recent changes in the Middle East and the growing instability in the Sahel, one of the key questions addressed on 15 November 2012 was how the EU can create bridges between the different policy frameworks and models of co-operation, in order to elaborate new comprehensive strategies that would facilitate the stabilisation and development of the broader neighbourhood.