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Europe Natural resources and energy

Energy Transition in the European Union: Great Challenges and Opportunities

Transition towards low carbon energy systems remains to be a challenge for the European Union. Europe is faced with economic, social and environmental costs of having fragmented national energy markets despite the ambitious “European Green Deal” agenda of Von der Leyen’s Commission, which positions the EU as a leader in global climate action through comprehensive decarbonization policies. A net reduction target of minimum 55% from the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions was  agreed on Wednesday 21st of April by European co-legislators under the framework for European Climate Law. Nonetheless, curbing GHG emissions necessitates regional concerted action for transition from fossil fuel economies to renewable energy based systems in order to face the transboundary effects of climate change. 

Europe Politics

The Domino Effect of Normalizing Violence Against Women: Why Turkey’s Withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention Has Become the Norm Rather Than the Exception

Turkey’s decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention has been highly criticized by the European Union and human rights advocates. However, Turkey is not the first and most likely not the last country to opt out of the Convention on preventing and combating gender-based violence. Whereas much of the focus has been on Erdogan’s political motivations behind the decision, the issue of violence against women in Central and Eastern Europe in relation to the Istanbul Convention remains in the shadows and requires further attention.

Eurasia Europe Politics

Were Sanctions by the EU the Right Move?

On 2nd March 2021, the EU announced sanctions on four Russian citizens for human rights violations. The continuing saga of Navalny’s imprisonment and the treatment of protestors by the Russian government has forced the international community to respond but are sanctions the right response? 

Europe Security

The Turkish intervention in Nagorno-Karabakh may favour EU interests

As mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Russia has sought to maintain influence in Azerbaijan and Armenia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In pursuing a strategy based on balancing competing Armenian-Azerbaijani interests over the disputed territory, Moscow is able to wield leverage in the South Caucasus without antagonising either Baku or Yerevan. However, the Turkish intervention on the issue in 2020 in full support of Azerbaijan tilted the power-balance of the conflict and cemented Ankara as a new security actor in the region.

Europe Security

NATO and the EU: What Does Brexit Mean for The UK’s Position in European Security?

The UK’s withdrawal from the EU last year calls into question the security implications that the split will have. The UK has continued to support NATO as the primary security provider on the continent and has acted at the forefront to reform the organisation to better address the changing security environment in Europe. On the other hand, the EU forges on with its efforts to form an autonomous strategic partnership to ensure European security through collective efforts. Without resistance from London, this policy is likely to go ahead creating uncertainty for the future of NATO in Europe and UK’s place in the security of the continent.

Europe Politics

Poland: Heading Towards ‘Polexit’?

Conflicts between the Polish government and the EU have raised concerns over their future relationship. Poland, once a shining example of post-communist recovery, has damaged its international reputation through controversial reforms and political battles with the EU, most recently attempting to block the EU budget. But are we heading towards ‘Polexit’?

Europe Security

Absence of an EU-Turkey strategic partnership undermines regional security

The European Council summit in December 2020 presented an opportunity for Brussels to formalise a strategic partnership with Turkey to manage the crises in the Eastern Mediterranean, Syria and Libya. Instead, it exposed divergence between France and Germany over how the EU should confront Ankara’s assertive foreign policy. Whilst French President Macron is in favour of putting strong pressure on Turkey’s President Erdogan, German Chancellor Merkel believes that it is vital to remain open to dialogue. This lack of strategic clarity puts regional security at risk given the importance of Turkish cooperation with Brussels over handling common issues in irregular migration and local conflict.

Europe Security

A Strategic Autonomy for Europe?

Back in late September, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, gave a speech stating the importance for the EU to move towards a strategic autonomy for Europe. This increasing cooperation is not supported by all and appears to depend on Biden’s future foreign policy for Europe.

Economics International

The Uncertain Future of the EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement

In June 2020, the EU and the Mercosur trade bloc, which consists of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, concluded negotiations over the Political Dialogue and Cooperation part of their Association Agreement, after the free trade section was completed in June 2019. With a number of EU member states and civil society organisations voicing concerns about the environmental impact of the deal, its ratification is becoming more unlikely in the short-term.

Covid-19 Europe

Sweden Might Avoid a Second Wave, But at What Cost?

Sweden has taken a notably lax approach to dealing with Coronavirus, avoiding lockdowns and trying to act as if all were normal. However, this apparent indifference to the worldwide pandemic has born costs to Sweden’s international reputation, and the economic benefits appear somewhat smaller than hoped.