Austrian soldiers on a European Union Force mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. (© picture alliance/AP Photo/Kemal Softica)

  European defence policy

  11 Debates

Sweden and Finland are still waiting for Turkey to approve their accession to Nato. An incident last Friday has put the dispute back in the spotlight: during a demonstration outside the city hall in Stockholm, activists hung a puppet of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Swedish government has apologised.

Finland and Sweden submitted their Nato membership applications in May and in the meantime 28 of the 30 Nato member states have ratified them. Turkey has so far refused to give its approval, citing concerns about Sweden in particular on the grounds that the country allegedly supports terrorist organisations. Hungary, too, has yet to ratify the applications. How can the issue be resolved?

Shortly after the meeting between the US and Russia in Geneva, high-ranking representatives of Russia and Nato met on Wednesday for the first time in two years. But there was no sign of a breakthrough on the issues of Ukraine and Nato's eastward expansion: Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke of "significant differences". What position will Europe take here?

The EU must "learn the language of power", EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen demanded after her election. As High Representative for EU Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell has presented the Strategic Compass, a blueprint for the EU's military defence and security strategy. EU foreign ministers will discuss the draft in the coming weeks. The press already points to lines of conflict.

There was a lot of anger in Paris when Australia let a planned submarine deal collapse two weeks ago. Now Macron has reason to smile once more. Despite high government debt, Greece is purchasing three French frigates as part of a 'strategic partnership'. Greece's press is ambivalent about the deal.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has delivered her second annual State of the Union address, preparing the public for a new era of intensified international competition and promoting among other things a European defence union. For some observers the speech shone with optimism. Others lament that ultimately the EU Commission's hands are always tied.

Nato began its mission in Afghanistan 20 years ago. Today, most experts consider the strategy of building a democratic state on the basis of military support to have failed. More than 3,500 troops belonging to Nato and its allies lost their lives in Afghanistan. While some commentators point to lessons to be learned from the fiasco, others say the self-criticism has gone too far.

Britain is realigning its foreign and defence policy after Brexit. Prime Minister Johnson presented the new strategy, called Global Britain, in the House of Commons on Tuesday. It places increased emphasis on nuclear weapons in response to new threats and aims to expand the country's influence in the Indo-Pacific region, which it says has become the world's "geopolitical and economic centre of gravity".

Paris and Berlin are at odds over Europe's future security policy. Both expect that even under Joe Biden the US will be less active internationally than in the past. But while French President Emmanuel Macron wants to invest in a sovereign Europe that can defend itself without the help of Nato and the United States, Germany's Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has said it would be an illusion to believe the continent could go it alone in security policy.

In a keynote speech on the nuclear weapons doctrine, French President Emmanuel Macron emphasised the importance of nuclear deterrence. He called on the European partners to engage in a strategic dialogue and to participate in French military exercises. Commentators disagree on whether Paris can replace Washington as Europe's security guarantee.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both recently promoted the idea of creating a European army. Commentators examine why the two leaders are keen on the initiative and hope that they will pursue it with resolve.