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18 décembre 2015 5 18 /12 /décembre /2015 17:50
The EU neighbours 1995-2015: shades of grey

 

This Chaillot Paper charts the changes that have taken place in the countries and regions adjacent to the EU over the past two decades, and analyses how the upheavals of recent years have altered the EU’s relationship with and approach to its eastern and southern neighbours.  

Coming at a time when the new EU leadership has launched what amounts to a complete ‘reboot’ of the European Neighbourhood Policy as well as a wider review of the EU’s foreign and security policy priorities, it shows that the Union still as an important role to play in these regions, albeit a less exclusive and possibly less ‘magnetic’ one than assumed a decade ago.

 

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1 novembre 2015 7 01 /11 /novembre /2015 12:50
Hybrid operations: lessons from the past

 

28 October 2015 Jan Joel Andersson Brief - No33 - EU ISS

 

The security situation in and around Europe has changed dramatically over the past two years. The conflict in Ukraine and the success of the Islamic State (IS) in the Middle East and North Africa have put territorial defence and homeland security back on the agenda in Europe.

Hybrid threats and operations against the EU and its partners are real and urgently need to be addressed. After some 20 years of focusing on overseas crisis management activities, the EU and its member states are now facing the challenge of building capabilities to protect and defend security at home. During the European Council summit in June 2015, the EU Heads of States and Governments acknowledged the importance of hybrid threats, and now both the EEAS and the EDA are engaged in assessing their implications for capability development in Europe. 

 

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30 octobre 2015 5 30 /10 /octobre /2015 17:50
Hybrid: what’s in a name?

Security analysts and practitioners have a tendency to coin new terms which capture the challenge(s) they are facing or the mandate(s) they are supposed to embrace. Terms such as ‘low-intensity conflicts’, ‘failed’ or ‘fragile’ states, ‘asymmetrical’ threats or even, for that matter, ‘comprehensive approach’ are all relevant examples. ‘Hybrid threats’ is, potentially, another case in point.

The concept of ‘hybrid threats’ is not new, nor is the idea that it conveys completely original – namely, the combination of conventional and unconventional methods of warfare so as to confuse an adversary. Russia’s hostile actions in Ukraine and the violence perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in several areas neighbouring Europe – and within Europe itself – are oft-cited examples of these hybrid threats. It could, however, also be argued that Western countries have resorted to these methods themselves, albeit without calling them ‘hybrid’, and that warfare itself has never been ‘pure’. But what is certain is that the European Union now considers itself a potential target of such threats and feels ill-prepared to respond.

 

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20 septembre 2015 7 20 /09 /septembre /2015 11:50
EU home affairs diplomacy: why, what, where – and how

 

Home affairs matters such as border control, crime-fighting and counter-terrorism are all increasingly subject to international rule-setting and cooperation. The European Union is facing up to this challenge, under pressure of events but also thanks to a high degree of coordination between home affairs officials and diplomats. With its near abroad now host to mass movements of migrants, radical Islamist groups and transnational organised crime networks, the Union is investing in making the relationship between internal and external security processes more substantive. But enhanced coordination can only work if Europeans adopt the right geographical focus, toolkit and strategy.

This Chaillot Paper explores the genesis of ‘home affairs diplomacy’ and how it has taken shape, and highlights the challenges as well as the opportunities that bringing together different policy communities (at both national and EU level) generates for a more confident and more ‘strategic’ European approach to an outside world that has become more connected and more complex than ever before.

 

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20 septembre 2015 7 20 /09 /septembre /2015 11:50
Putting numbers on capabilities: defence inflation vs. cost escalation

 

Imagine a world without weapons: no battle tanks, no combat helicopters, no nuclear submarines – a world at peace, presumably. This world might soon come true if we believe what US aerospace businessman Norman R. Augustine famously predicted in 1983, namely that “in the year 2054, the entire [US] defence budget will purchase just one aircraft”.

Very little has changed since then: costs for defence equipment are still skyrocketing while, in parallel, our defence budgets have largely slid into a downward spiral. The world, however, has hardly become more peaceful – especially in Europe’s neighbourhood. As a result, a better understanding by policymakers of the relation between (cripplingly) expensive capabilities and complex security challenges appears to be much in need.

 

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19 septembre 2015 6 19 /09 /septembre /2015 11:50
Asylum flows to the EU: blip or norm? (Jul 2015) - EUISS

 

The numbers of irregular arrivals at the EU’s outer border and mass asylum claims are growing. In May 2015, the EU-28, Switzerland and Norway received the highest number of asylum applications on record: 74,000 in a single month.

This headline figure may yet prove to be somewhat inflated: Afghans and Kosovans in particular tend to claim asylum on arrival at the EU’s border, only to then abscond and claim again at their target destination. Nevertheless, the pressures – particularly on the EU’s southern and south-eastern border-states – are real.

 

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18 septembre 2015 5 18 /09 /septembre /2015 16:40
Ukraine’s other war

 

Ukraine is fighting two wars simultaneously. The most obvious is the hybrid conflict in the east, fuelled and sustained by Russia. But while the ‘hot phase’ in this arena is over, at least for now, Ukraine is also engaged in a war against itself.

It is locked in a struggle against its own dysfunctionality and endemic levels of corruption which will affect millions, from low-level policemen and fire inspectors to oligarchs and leading politicians. And while Ukraine can cope with the existence of an almost frozen conflict in the Donbas, there is no possibility of accepting the status quo with regard to the latter war.

 

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1 février 2015 7 01 /02 /février /2015 12:50
State-sponsored hackers: hybrid armies?

 

30 January 2015 Patryk Pawlak, Gergana Petkova Alert - No5 - EU ISS

 

Cyber-attacks are rarely disconnected from political realities. CyberBerkut – a pro-Russian group of ‘patriot’ hackers – has, for example, hacked German government websites in retaliation for the political support offered to Kiev by Berlin. The Syrian Electronic Army – a hacker collective thought to be linked to Syrian President Bassar al-Assad – regularly targets Western media outlets, most recently Le Monde.

Due to this blurring of the virtual and physical worlds, governments, which are familiar with stateless actors such as al-Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), may now have to learn to deal with equally hostile, amorphous and often state-sponsored ‘hacktors’.

 

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31 janvier 2015 6 31 /01 /janvier /2015 12:40
Hybrid tactics: neither new nor only Russian

 

30 January 2015 Nicu Popescu Alert - No4 - EU ISS

 

Since the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, the spectre of ‘hybrid’ tactics (or threats) is haunting both European and American security debates. This seems to suggest that this is a new, highly effective form of warfare which poses complex challenges to the EU, NATO, and their neighbours.

However, hybrid tactics are neither new, nor exclusively (or primarily) Russian invention. They are as old as war itself, and Western states have often used elements of it quite effectively, at least on a tactical level.

 

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21 novembre 2014 5 21 /11 /novembre /2014 17:35
Afghanistan: charting a new path

 

 

Following a protracted dispute over election results, a national unity government headed by President Ashraf Ghani was sworn in in Kabul last September. This has injected some badly-needed momentum into Afghan politics after months of electoral deadlock and over a decade of Karzai rule increasingly marked by antagonism between the president and the West.

This new phase represents an opportunity also for the EU and its member states to tailor their respective approaches and commitments to a changing political and security environment that promises greater activism on the part of Afghanistan’s neighbours in the months and years to come.

 

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