Previous Board Members:
Anna Maria Urbanova
Anna Maria Urbanova
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On 17 March the International Law Students Association hosted yet another in a series of interesting events covering current affairs from a legal perspective. This time we were honoured to have Dr Aaron Matta - a Senior Researcher in the Rule of Law Program at The Hague Institute for Global Justice as our speaker.
Henry Kissinger is famously credited for asking: “Who do I call if I want call Europe?” Structure is indeed still one of the main challenges to EU Foreign Policy, although since Lisbon it is easier to know who to call. Other Key challenges faced by the EU today can according to Dr Matta be divided into three categories: (1) Economic challenges – e.g. Competition from China and Eurozone Crisis; (2) Security Challenges - e.g. Cybercrime, Terrorism, Migrant Crisis, Russia-Ukraine conflict and the decline of Western Values, and (3) Climate and Energy Security challenges.
It is clear that the EU was not prepared for the refugee crisis. This is striking, given that small countries such as Lebanon and Jordan had a better response than the EU as a whole. There is currently disproportional burden on southern member states – such as Italy, Greece and Hungary which creates tensions and a divide in the EU. EU’s approach to the crisis has been largely security centred – through FRONTEX, EASO and EUROPOL combined with offering neighbouring countries money (such as EU-Turkey deal) to keep the crisis outside of Europe. The solution must be human not merely technical. We should not become Fortress Europa but focus on tackling root causes of the crisis by facilitating peace and reconstruction of the region.
Organized crime is an ‘import’ predominantly from failed states – such as Libya. EU approach is that of ‘Good Cop/Bad Cop’ – a combination of Education and Punishment.
As far as cyber-governance is concerned, the EU is still ill-equipped at the moment. The key issue is finding a balance between security and privacy. Any policy has to comply with Human Rights. A strong and working Private / Public partnership is desirable.
Recommendations of Hague Institute for Global Justice for EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy
Russian Energy Challenge
Status quo is as follows: EU is the most important investor to Russia while Russia is the 3rd biggest trade partner to EU. There is therefore a great economic interdependency, which does not benefit from the on-going political conflict. The greatest dependency of EU in relation to Russia is in energy. EU’s energy dependency on other states (mostly Russia) is 50%. Russia uses this energy dependency as political weapon to divide MS of the EU, which with Gazprom’s monopoly and increasing consumption becomes more and more serious.
In case of Gas, the main problem is that pipeline creates physical connection and a long time commitment. It is important therefore to diversify its import, but in case of Trans-Caspian plan for example, Russia responded by seeking change in the status of the Caspian Sea. Another significant issue is EU companies which go with Russia instead of EU. Some of them are big enough to negotiate with Gazprom on equal term.
New EU-Russia Treaty negotiations failed three times already. In 2006 they were blocked by Poland, in 2008 they ceased because of Russian military intervention in Georgia and 2014 because of intervention in Ukraine.
Russia and EU are two completely different geo-political animals, different in methods they employ. The energy problem is to large extent political, the solution has to be political too.
As far as the solution is concerned, Dr Matta suggests a threefold approach:
Written by Rastislav Betko, Year 4 Student of International and European Law Program at The Hague University of Applied Sciences.