ays EU High Representative Josep Borell in an interview with the AFP. He thinks the crisis created by the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan might create the necessary base of support.
In Thursday’s extraordinary meeting of the Committees on Foreign Affairs and Development, together with the Parliamentary delegation for relations with Afghanistan, MEPs called for the EU to rescue Afghan citizens who worked for the union or worked to improve shared values in Afghanistan.
On the night of 15 August, the Taliban entered the presidential palace in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul after Western countries withdrew their military presence and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, leaving Afghans in despair. With the Taliban taking over Kabul and seizing control over virtually all of the country, Western powers have been evacuating their citizens and staff from Afghanistan. The only countries willing to remain in Afghanistan are non-Western nations, such as Russia and China. What does this mean practically for the European Union (EU) and its member states? And where does the EU stand? Those are the questions that have been arising in the last couple of days, but before answering them, let’s first understand why Western forces were engaged in Afghanistan.
Since 1 June 2021, more than 1,000 migrants have attempted to cross the border from Belarus to Lithuania. Lithuanian prime minister Ingrida Simonyte claimed that, over the past month and a half, more migrants have tried to cross the state borders than in the last four years combined. The Lithuanian State Border Guard Service has declared a state of emergency and has started to build a fence on the almost 700km long border.
You may not have noticed, but the EU and its foreign policy have received rather a lot of attention lately. Why? Well, mainly because it doesn’t really have a foreign policy. Instead, it has twenty-seven different foreign policies that all need to be coordinated. Exactly that has been pretty problematic lately, leading some to argue for reform.
On Sunday, a Belarusian military jet forced a Ryanair plane to perform an emergency landing in Minsk, even though the plane was en route to Lithuania from Greece. The reason for the seven-hour long detour turned out to be the arrest of Belarusian opposition journalist Roman Protasevich, who was on board the plane. In what has been an unusually quick response, EU leaders have strongly condemned the action and arrest of Prostasevich and his partner, and planned further sanctions for President Lukashenko’s circle.
The recent investment treaty between the EU and CHINA (CAI) has been put in a sort of “fridge” – that was just decided by the European Parliament. How and why have we arrived at that dead-end street? One cannotavoid seeing a revival of a Shakespearean drama in five acts.
Another week, another Russian diplomatic scandal. On Sunday, the Czech Republic expelled 18 Russian diplomats and embassy staff as a result of suspected Russian involvement in a 2014 explosion at an ammunition storage depot in Vrbětice that left two workers dead.
This past week, reports have amassed on Russia increasing its deployment of troops near the Ukrainian border. It is estimated that this constitutes the largest deployment since Russia’s annexation of Crimea, with heavy equipment and artillery being towed from as far as Siberia. According to Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov, the build up is nothing more than an exercise but military experts say the troop movements paint a different picture.
In response to the treatment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny since his return to Russia, EU foreign ministers decided on Monday to impose a new set of sanctions on individuals in the country. The heads of state and government will likely agree in their next European Council meeting, and when they do, at least four more individuals will be hit by asset freezes and entry bans to the EU.