The final weeks of 2015 saw remarkable activity at the global level producing concrete results, for a change. The UN climate change conference in Paris (COP 21) ended in mid-December with the adoption of an ambitious Paris Agreement that will guide climate action starting in 2020 and carrying on for many years thereafter. A few days later the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on the way forward in Syria, while an agreement among the Libyan factions was endorsed by the UN Security Council…
Geography and history, modern and older, internal fault lines as well as external interventions, have given rise to a perfect storm in the Eastern Mediterranean. In an arc of fire that stretches from Libya to Syria and can be extrapolated further North, all the way to Russia and Ukraine, a series of conflicts have made this an area of particular instability, for the world as a whole and more immediately for nearby Europe…
An UN-proposed peace deal for Libya was signed late Saturday, 11 July 2015, in Morocco by some of the country’s political factions. The agreement was widely hailed as a move towards stability in the war-torn country. The deal lays the foundation for the establishment of a national unity government and the granting of legislative authority to the Tobruk-based assembly.
On Wednesday, 13 May, the European Commission unveiled its highly anticipated plan to deal with the increasing number of migrants trying to reach the European shores. The long-awaited European Agenda on Migration made waves in the media with its system of immigration quotas and proposal for military action in the Mediterranean. The “immediate action” called for by the Commission establishes a set of measures to deter and dismantle traffickers’ networks, while also distributing the burden of resettling asylum seekers amongst EU member states. More details will continue to be presented on the various proposals, while the package will be discussed by the EU leaders at the upcoming European Council meeting in June
Libya is sick. And on 23 April, the European Council effectively wrote a prescription for ibuprofen. The absolute horror currently taking place in the Mediterranean- individuals packed onto a rickety boats like sardines in a can, trapped behind locked doors, drowning slowly as their last hope for a future escapes along with the last bit of air in their lungs- is symptomatic of the utter hell plaguing the failed state. A hell, bear in mind, that the West had a heavy hand in creating after the UNSC invoked the Responsibility to Protect, paving the way for military intervention and the subsequent ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.
The recent tragedies in the Mediterranean, with the loss in a few days of hundreds of lives of people desperately trying to reach the EU shores, brought starkly to the fore the issue of migration, both of the asylum-seeking and the economic kind. In a typical fashion, EU ministers and heads of government reacted with half-baked measures, trying to respond to the emergency at hand but failing to put forward a comprehensive strategy or vision for addressing the issue and its root causes in the long run.
The project for a single market for electricity and gas in Europe was given green light by European leaders at the EU Summit on 19-20 March. The European Council members also committed to support an active European climate diplomacy in line with the Union’s ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction objective, and to expand infrastructure projects that aim to connect electricity and gas supply between countries.
The first official visit of the European Union High Representative to New York on 8 and 9 March included a statement made at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) regarding cooperation between the EU and the UN. The speech reflected the current European foreign policy priorities: putting Libya “back on track”, fighting terrorism in all its forms and across regions, and saving the lives of migrants crossing the Mediterranean into Europe.