foreign policy

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    The Ukraine crisis has highlighted the limitations of Germany’s ‘more active’ foreign policy approach

The Ukraine crisis has highlighted the limitations of Germany’s ‘more active’ foreign policy approach

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced earlier this year that Germany would be pursuing a more active approach to foreign policy issues. Julia Himmrich writes that while this was an important break from the country’s reluctance to become involved in foreign conflicts since the end of the Second World War, the on-going Ukraine crisis has revealed the difficulties in […]

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In democracies an effective media and opposition are both needed to sanction leaders’ foreign policy missteps

Common wisdom in international affairs is that when democratically elected leaders and governments make threats towards other states, these are credible; voters will punish leaders who do not follow through on their words. New research by Philip B. K. Potter and Matthew A. Baum argues however, that not all democracies are equal in the credibility of their threats of military […]

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There is a good case to be made for Cyprus pressing ahead with full recognition of Kosovo’s independence

Cyprus is one of the five EU member states that refuse to recognise the independence of Kosovo from Serbia. James Ker-Lindsay writes that a recent meeting between the Cypriot Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Kosovo suggests that the country’s stance may be softening over the issue. He notes that although this may seem surprising given […]

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German ‘tit for tat’ diplomacy could help alter Russia’s position on Syria

The G20 summit, which began on Thursday in Saint Petersburg, has been dominated by the issue of Syria. One of the key dynamics in the Syrian crisis is the refusal of Russia to endorse any military intervention in the country. Wolfgang Seibel writes on the position of Germany, which has traditionally attempted to bridge the diplomatic gap between Russia and […]

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The reluctance of German politicians to take a strong line on defence policy poses a security risk for Europe.

Defence policy has generally played a much smaller role in German election campaigns than it has in other countries. As Tom Dyson writes, this is largely because German politicians view the issue as a ‘vote loser’, with little potential to improve a party’s electoral success. Nevertheless, he argues that this approach is highly misguided in the context of modern security […]

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The EU’s designation of Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist group is a critical step toward preventing its illicit activities in Europe.

Last month the EU added Hezbollah’s military wing to its ‘blacklist’ of terrorist organisations. Matthew Levitt gives an overview of the developments that have led to the EU’s decision, and assesses its likely impact on Hezbollah’s operations. He argues that in addition to giving EU member states the legal basis to investigate Hezbollah’s actions, the decision also sends a clear […]

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Sweden has effectively used bilateral co-operation with the US and other European states as an alternative to NATO membership.

Sweden is one of only a handful of EU countries which are not members of NATO. Jan Joel Andersson provides an overview of Swedish defence policy and assesses the potential for Sweden to use the EU as an alternative to NATO membership. He argues that the myth of the country’s policy of ‘armed neutrality’ during the Cold War is still […]

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Using volunteer forces, rather than conscripts or private contractors, is the most legitimate method for organising a military.

There are generally three different methods for providing a military force in a war situation: using volunteers, private contractors, or conscripts. James Pattison assesses each of these options in terms of their moral legitimacy. Using a ‘moderate instrumentalist approach’ he argues that both private contractors and conscription raise moral issues which could undermine the legitimacy of a military operation. Although […]

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The Eurozone crisis is severely limiting the EU’s foreign policy capacity.

Spyros Economides argues that the eurocrisis has resulted in a more ‘introverted’ Europe. Existential fears about the future of the EU have increased member states’ divisions over foreign policy issues, and there is a perpetual ‘tug-of-war’ between EU states with global and regional ambitions. He writes that the EU has a very long way to go to build a European […]

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An American perspective on the EU: The United States should work to ensure European stability

Last month the advice from a senior US official that Britain should stay in the EU received widespread media attention. Katrina Kelly offers an analysis of the EU from an American perspective, suggesting that the future relationship between the US and EU  will be central for the economic vitality of both. Eurosceptiscm is gaining attention and support in the UK, and […]

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The key priority for Mali is ensuring that African forces are ready to take over when French troops leave the country.

The French military operation in Mali has regained control of much of the country from Islamic militants. Jeff Gilmour provides an overview of the military situation and identifies a number of potential problems which must still be overcome. The crucial issue is likely to be ensuring that the African forces which take over from departing French troops are properly trained […]

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Book Review: A Special Relationship? British Foreign Policy in the Era of American Hegemony

By setting contemporary British foreign policy into its historical context, this book provides fresh insights into why Tony Blair’s government felt it must participate in the Iraq War and questions anew why this decision was flawed. Andrew Holt thinks that although the book contains little new information to add to the rich historiography on twentieth-century Anglo-American relations, it does provide novel […]

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There is virtually no Greek policy towards Turkey outside the framework of the EU

Do Turkey and Greece need the EU to improve their relations? Looking at Athens’ support for the ‘Europeanisation’ of Turkey, Kyriakos Moumoutzis argues that the Turkey/Greece relationship is no longer a bilateral one. He writes that the 1999 Helsinki decision to recognise Turkey as a candidate country, and the rules that the EU has imposed since, have provided the main […]

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Anti-Americanism in Europe has fallen during Obama’s administration, but recent events show that there is still potential for its resurgence.

Anti-American sentiment in Europe has fallen since the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States. Russell A. Berman argues that this trend reflects American disengagement with the continent rather than a genuine change in attitudes among Europeans. Although Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is unlikely to significantly reengage with Europe, anti-Americanism could yet experience a revival if […]

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The European External Action Service is now an effective instrument for policy coordination over 27 countries

The European External Action Service (EEAS) is the new institutional arm of EU diplomacy. It is headed by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP), currently an office held by the Baroness Catherine Ashton. Nick Cherrier takes a close look at decision making in the Foreign Affairs Council from a game theory perspective. He […]

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The phased suspension of the EU’s targeted sanctions against Myanmar is a test case for future sanction regimes

In April 2012, the European Union (EU) suspended its sanctions against Myanmar in response to a series of domestic political reforms that have been enacted since Thein Sein became the new president in March 2011. Marco Bünte and Clara Portela detail the beginning of Myanmar’s reforms, the end of EU sanctions and the lessons for future EU sanction regimes. Myanmar […]

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Five minutes with Salam Kawakibi on the Syrian crisis: “While we can see many political declarations, we cannot see any real action”

The crisis in Syria continues despite the efforts of Europe and the wider international community. In an interview with EUROPP editors Chris Gilson and Julian Kirchherr, as part of our coverage of the European neighbourhood, Salam Kawakibi of the Arab Reform Initiative discusses the roots of the conflict in Syria, its regional implications and the role that Europe might now […]

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Turkey may now be on the road to joining the EU, but it also should question whether membership is still is in the country’s interest.

According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, 47 per cent of Turks view European Union (EU) membership as ‘desirable’. Now, the EU is signalling to Turkey that it is ready to build a new bridge leading towards the country’s accession.Edel Hughes assesses whether this new attempt is truly promising. Last month’s visit by European Union (EU) Commissioner for Enlargement Štefan Füle […]

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Greek politicians have forgotten about Greek foreign policy. And this will not change in the near future.

Greece’s financial crisis dominates its policy agenda. Meanwhile, the country’s foreign policy remains invisible. Melina Skouroliakou explores the status quo of Greek foreign policy, and calls upon political leaders not to forget the country’s relationship with Turkey and to reconsider its Balkan strategy. Foreign policy issues have not been high on the Greek policy agenda lately. Especially since the legislative elections […]

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Brussels blog round up for 14-20 April 2012: 17 million are now unemployed in Europe, France and Germany plan border controls, and can the Internet revive the Greek economy?

Chris Gilson and Julian Kirchherr take a look at the week in Brussels blogging. The EU Centre The European Commission has launched a new program for employment which is supposed to create more than 17 million jobs, reports PressEurop. Europe needs this many jobs because 17 million people are currently unemployed in the EU. Hence, economic growth is the theme for the spring, […]

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