The Push and Pull of the World’s Most Dangerous Migration Route – What’s Really Behind The Flock of Thousands to Europe These Days?

Migrants arriving on the island of Lampedusa in August 2007. Image: Sara Prestianni/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by Politics in Spires on 22 February, 2015.

The  Mediterranean Sea is today’s most dangerous border between countries not at war with each other. Just last week, 300 persons departing Libya on four rubber dinghies have gone missing at sea, after drifting for days without food and water. News reports in the past six months have regularly commented upon the rising number of persons disembarking on Italy’s coastline – benefiting from its search and rescue operation Mare Nostrum. Despite the increase in new arrivals from 33,000 to 200,000, the life-saving mission has now been discarded. Italian policy makers believe Mare Nostrum is as responsible for overcrowded reception centres as it is for the rising number of persons risking their lives at sea. But is it truly to blame for the surge? Because more than 50 per cent of arrivals are either Syrian or Eritrean, news commentators have provided some other potential explanations. Some point to the protracted conflict in the Middle East, whilst others highlight the strain on neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq in continuing to receive thousands of Syrian refugees. “Poverty in Africa” is mentioned occasionally, and for the better informed, an oppressive military regime and indefinite conscription in Eritrea are to blame. Yet these supposed  ‘causes’ of the latest wave in irregular migration to Europe are speculative at most and have in fact been ongoing for many years now. » More

Between the EU and Russia: Opportunity or Dilemma for Serbia’s OSCE Chairmanship?

Between Europe and Russia. Image: bandvela/Pixabay

This article was originally published by the Security and Human Rights Blog on 22 January, 2015.

On 15 January, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić outlined the priorities of the 2015 Serbian OSCE Chairmanship at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna. Foreign Minister Dačić stressed that the main priority of the Serbian Chair would be to continue supporting a peaceful resolution of the crisis in and around Ukraine. In this context, he expressed support for the work of the Trilateral Contact Group, the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine and their respective roles in helping to implement the Minsk protocols as well as the peace plan for the east of Ukraine. » More

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Post-Big Bang Expansion, is EU Overcorrecting with the Western Balkans?

EU – Kosovo – wall painting outside Peje (Pec), Kosovo. Image: Adam Jones/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by Friends of Europe on 25 November, 2014.

“Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door”

Bob Dylan

The perspective of joining the European family has proven to be the most effective mobilising factor to stabilise and reform the Balkans. It’s replaced the dark scenario of conflicts sparked by efforts to redraw borders along ethnic lines. It has undoubtedly been the EU’s most powerful geopolitical instrument, the latest illustration being the brokered Belgrade-Pristina agreement. Before the process reached the point of no return, however, the enlargement policy has been challenged, accession hopes dangerously watered down and the door slammed shut, for now. » More

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The Bildt-Sikorski-Effect

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorsi. Image: Platforma Obywatelska RP/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by European Geostrategy on 12 October 2014.

The departure of Carl Bildt and Radoslaw Sikorski as foreign ministers of Sweden and Poland respectively is an interesting development for European foreign policy. The timing is awful. At a moment when Europe is faced with crises in the east and the south, Europe can ill afford to lose either its most experienced statesmen or the vision they bring to the table. Both leaders simultaneously believe in the strategic necessity of the EU and they are as comfortable in Washington as they are at home in Warsaw or Stockholm. With Bildt and Sikorski gone, the EU is also lacking any obvious hardliners on Russia. This may satisfy some in the EU but surely Vladimir Putin must be pleased with their replacements. » More

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Prepare Yourself for Security Jam 2014!

2014 Security Jam

The ISN is proud to be a partner of Security Jam 2014, a global online brainstorming session which the Security and Defense Agenda (SDA) will co-host with IBM from 14-16 October 2014. Over the course of 54 hours and across 6 discussion forums, thousands of experts will discuss and then propose concrete solutions to a variety of security-related problems. Subsequent to the online session, the Jam’s top 10 recommendations will then serve as the foundation of a report that will be presented to the new leaders of NATO and the EU, and distributed to thousands of policymakers and decision-makers worldwide.

Since anyone can participate in Security Jam, we welcome you to register for free and share your ideas on key security and defense issues with leading experts. And in order to help you prepare for the discussion, we’ve put together a special dossier collection, which features background materials that relate directly to each of the six Security Jam forums. (You can, by the way, also create your own specifically tailored multimedia collection using the over 80,000 items currently available in the ISN Digital Library. To find out more click here.)

1) The New Global Balance

The first Security Jam forum will feature a broad discussion on the future of the global order and international security. Some of the questions that will be discussed include the following: What does the US pivot towards Asia and declining Western influence mean for emerging powers such as Russia, China, India or Turkey, especially in economic, diplomatic, and security terms? How will the massive discrepancies in worldwide defense spending impact the “new global balance”? Which challenges and new threats should strategic planners take into account and what military and civilian capabilities are required to counter these threats?

2) The EU as a Global Security Broker

The second forum will focus on the role of the European Union as a global security actor and provider. More specifically, the Jamparticipants will discuss a) how the EU can and should enhance its global status and credibility, b) whether EU members states can agree on a common security and foreign policy vision, and c) what lessons should be drawn from previous and current EU efforts to promote security and development.

3) NATO’s Role 2025

As the ISAF mission in Afghanistan continues to wind down, what will the future of transatlantic security cooperation look like? Can and should NATO remain a military-centered alliance? Will other countries join NATO in light of renewed tensions with Russia? How should NATO and the EU cooperate in the future? Answering these questions and others will be the focus of the third Security Jam forum.

4) Cybersecurity and Cyberdefense

The fourth forum will explore future cyber threats and the ways to counter them. Some of the questions that will be discussed include the following: How can governments, international organizations and private companies enhance their technical and strategic cyber defense capabilities? Should NATO and the EU take an offensive approach towards cyber security? How does cyber security affect privacy and data protection? Can international rules in this domain be established and enforced?

5) Case-Study – Ukraine and Russia

Given the troubled relations Western states are currently experiencing with Russia, how should NATO, the OSCE, the European Union and the United States engage with Moscow, specifically in order to avoid further tensions and possible conflict? Could the recent crisis have been foreseen and avoided? How are domestic politics continuing to influence Russia’s behavior? These questions and many more will be up for discussion during the fifth Security Jam forum.

6) Case-Study – Syria

Finally, the sixth Jamforum will focus on the complex internal conflict in Syria and its impact on global security. At a minimum, how should regional and global powers deal with the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)? How can the humanitarian consequences of the conflict be alleviated? What are the spill-over effects for the region? How can European countries prepare for the return of Jihadist foreign fighters? Ect.

In closing, we hope the above materials are of interest and helpful to you and that they will spur you to participate in Security Jam 2014. It is a golden opportunity for you to participate in an important dialogue and have your voice heard.

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