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.
新年快乐! Happy Chinese New Year! Or, to be precise, Happy Lunar New Year! Because the Chinese aren’t the only ones celebrating this turn of the calendar. But is it such a happy new year for […]