Since the last EURODEFENSE President’s Council, the situation in the Mediterranean Basin has not improved neither politically nor economically. The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the difficulties that the people in the region are facing. The EU continues to pay great attention to the region, but its political influence remains limited, even though it continues to allocate substantial resources to cooperation with its southern neighbors. The situation in Libya seems to be more stable, thanks to the efforts of the UNSG Special Envoy, on the way forward to national elections in December 2021. But the Israeli-Palestinian conflict entered in a new phase of confrontation last May, with Hamas attacking Israel with rockets and the Israelis launching bombardments over Gaza.
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.
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.
The Euromediterranean Conference held in Barcelona on 27/28 November 1995 adopted the so-called “Barcelona Declaration”. It was approved by the then 17 EU Member States (MS) and its 10 Mediterranean partners, including Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Declaration was a landmark in the EU’s policy vis-á.-vis its Southern neighbors, encompassing wide economic, cultural, political and human cooperation.
On 23 September 2020, the European Commission proposed a so-called “New Pact on Migration and Asylum” -document COM (2020) 609 final-. In August 2020, EURODEFENSE-ESPAÑA presented to the Commission a paper on The New Pact, responding to the opportunity offered for interested parties to contribute to this debate. This paper was later distributed within the EURODEFENSE network.
The outlying regions of the Maghreb in the south, within the Sahara Desert, are part of the old commercial routes along the Sahara and constitute economic spaces with shared identities and are distant sides of national territory. Since independence, the region’s states have devoted the economic development and investment in their coastal centres, leaving vast interior regions and borderlands forgotten and marginalized.