On April 7, 2021, the European Union and Turkey held a meeting in Ankara at the highest level. The Turkish side was headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the EU by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel and the President of the Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen. At the end of the meeting at the Presidential Palace, the leaders moved to a living room where Erdoğan and Michel sat in two chairs flanked by the Turkish and EU flags, while Von der Leyen was left standing. After some hesitation, she sat on a side sofa, just like the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu, who took seat on a sofa on the opposite side. According to the chief of Protocol of Mr. Michel, Dominique Marro, it was thanks to Michel’s intervention that Von der Leyen was not seated on a side chair during the luncheon and was not excluded from the official photo of the meeting.
The global challenges posed by climate change to our current and future societies and the necessary energy transition that arises, are imperatively reflected in all political, strategic and scientific programs in progress, in particular from the beginning of the 21st century and specifically in Europe. The EU aims to achieve global leadership in the field of new environmental policies, with deep decarbonisation and climate neutrality, with the widespread use of renewable energies, setting very precise goals and objectives for its Member States (EU could become a standard-setter for energy transition). The impact of the energy transition model in Europe and in the World over the next few decades will lead to several advances in the fields of technology and science. This new cycle will focus on the fields of digital transformation and Artificial Intelligence (AI), the identification of innovative energy models, new efficient industrial components, communication processes, mapping of electrical networks and data management, and a whole use of resources and skills that can (hopefully) give to the society, people and the planet, a more balanced and sustainable alternative.
Russian military bases north of Arctic Circle and along a 20,000-kilometer coastline are of ever increasing importance, defending, controlling and denying the Northern Sea Route which is not just a “Polar Silk Road” but also a vital lane of communication to the Russian Pacific Fleet at Vladivostok. Significant investment in these strategic assets is exemplified by the bringing back into service and upgrading of facilities abandoned a quarter of a century ago on the collapse of the Soviet Union. They come within the Unified Strategic Command based in Arkhangelsk. The bases data below is derived from a number of public sources.
Arkitka is the first of a new class of Russian nuclear icebreakers. She’s designed to smash through Arctic ice up to 3 metres thick or more. But her long-delayed maiden voyage followed on a series of failed trials – and was marred by an inability to find thick enough ice to demonstrate her full potential, and equipment failures.
Since 2008, the European Union (EU) has been involved in Arctic issues
, for various reasons, environmental, scientific and strategic. The current EU policy on the Arctic is focused on the 2016 joint communication “An integrated European Union policy on the Arctic”. Emphasizing the geopolitics of the region, an update of EU Arctic policy was announced in the fall of 2019.
In November 2015 the EuroDéfense network and EDTA signed a partnership agreement. The complementary goals and interests of EuroDéfense and EDTA led to a logical relationship where information exchange and mutual support may help both associations in their endeavours.
Due to the corona crisis that also affected Europe from March 2021, activities were limited and often focused on a national level or absent. Hence, cooperation was limited in 2020.