Supporter or Bystander

What Is the EU’s Role at the ICC?

April 10, 2021

By : Lavinia Parsi

The ICC’s investigation into the situation in Palestine is a landmark moment. In the midst of it all, the inconsistent position of some Member States and their unwavering support to Israel is undermining the credibility of EU commitments to justice.


Insidiously 'neutral'

Why we need an EU Foreign Policy that is both feminist and intersectional

March 8, 2021

By : Shanti Walde

Foreign policies are often assumed to be ‘neutral’ policy spaces, unbound by discriminatory biases such as gender, race, class, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or age. This assumption is wrong and highly problematic…

David Lienemann

Will Biden’s Iran policy be the end of the European nightmare?

On Biden, Iran, and the EU

March 4, 2021

By : Jan Lepeu

Biden’s election has been felt like a relief among (almost) all European chancelleries. The Trump administration has put transatlantic relations under a level of strain unseen since 2003. Among the core disagreements has been the US decision to leave the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA), and to unilaterally reimpose sanctions on Iran. US secondary sanctions meant that Trump not only reversed the normalization of Iranian relations with the US, but also actively prevented European economic actors from trading with Iran. In consequence, the Iranian regime has accused the European Union (EU) of not respecting its side of the agreement and ultimately relaunched nuclear activities contrary to its obligation

Our ID

2021 Watchlist

Happy new year to you and yours from all of us at Sine Qua Non. As January unravels and crises compound, we have asked the members of our Research Committee to answer three questions about what to expect this year: Who to watch, where to watch, and what to watch out for. At the end of the year, we will come back to our predictions and assess how they held up. Happy reading!

January 31, 2021
By : Sine Qua Non Research Committee
Europe as a rights culture lol

Navigating chaos, new tools and missed opportunities: Year 1 of the ‘Geopolitical Commission’

A year in to the 'Geopolitical Commission', how, if ever, did the EU turn crises into opportunities?

January 26, 2021

By : Viola Scordia & Antoine Michon

January 2021 is considered globally as the first anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic which has reshaped the daily life of countless people, notably in Europe. But for European citizens, it is also the time to take a look back on the first year of the ‘Geopolitical Commission’, one of the programmatic cornerstones announced by Ursula von der Leyen upon taking up the presidency of the European Commission (EC). This appellation supposedly translated into two main objectives: reinforcing the relevance of the Union as an international actor, and reshaping the global order through strengthened multilateralism. Now a year in, where do we stand?

Tim Felce

French gunboat diplomacy: taking the lead, or leading astray?

On France and EastMed

October 06, 2020

By : Julian Vierlinger

France is spearheading European hard power in the Mediterranean Sea, following its pledge to turn the Union into a “sovereign” global player who provides its own security, and does not shy away from hard power. While the move is arguably timely, France must be careful not to alienate the rest of the continent…

From a payer to a player

Time to reframe Europe’s understanding of Israel and Palestine

August 21, 2020

By : Antoine Michon

After months of expectations, July 1 came and went without any dramatic decision pertaining to the future of Israelis and Palestinians. The rest of July and half of August also passed, and still nothing in sight. Quickly, the public debate in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) shifted back to the coronavirus pandemic and the second wave of infections hitting the region. In Israel, while the threat of a new election is looming, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also facing increasing contestation, with thousands of Israelis protesting an array issues such as corruption, mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic, the subsequent economic crisis, police brutality, and last but not least the projects of annexation. Yet, PM Netanyahu seems to have succeeded to temporarily divert public attention with the recent announcement of a normalization deal with the United Arab Emirates, postponing the initial annexation timeline…

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Is the EU’s humanitarian and financial assistance all what refugees need to survive COVID-19 in Lebanon?

On the COVID-19 pandemic and the already-existing refugee crisis in Lebanon

July 7, 2020

By : Josiane Matar

As Lebanon enters its second wave of the pandemic with 1855 cases of confirmed contaminations, the country grapples with a set of challenges as it faces its worst economic crisis in decades while hosting the highest number of refugees per capita…


Unmasked Potential? Crisis, Cooperation, and European Foreign Policy Independence

Cooperation in times of crisis

June 2, 2020

By : Julian Vierlinger

The outbreak of COVID-19 has added fuel to the prevalent criticism of the European Union’s ability for streamlined and organised responses to crisis situations. While the criticism is certainly warranted, Brussels’ recent activation of the “INSTEX” trade mechanism as a means to deliver aid to Iran has unmasked the potential of an independent EU policy towards Tehran…


A Geopolitical Commission - What lies behind it?

A brief look into the next steps for the geopolitical EU Commission

February 6, 2020

By : Viola Scordia & Antoine Michon

The future of the European Union’s Commission will be geopolitical, as promoted by President Ursula Von der Leyen herself. The ‘geopolitical’ designation is outlined in the political guidelines of her agenda for a Europe that strives for more, as well as in the mission letters to her fellow Commissioners. Paramount to this is the heightened accent put on foreign policy considerations which arises clearly from the strengthened role of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP). As such, a stronger Union in the World remains one amongst eight political priorities -each overviewed by one Vice President. However, the number of steps announced by President Von der Leyen clearly points to increased international presence as the key overarching objective…


Lebanon’s Autumn of Unity

A Country Reborn, A State on the Brink

November 20, 2019

By : Julian Vierlinger

It has now been a month that the failure of the Lebanese government to handle a range of severe bushfires has ignited the Lebanese population’s rage against its notoriously corrupt political class. The lion’s share of the establishment has effectively been ruling the country ever since the end of the civil war, where warlords became parliamentarians and reconstructed the Lebanese state on the lines of inter-sectarian bargaining and intra sectarian nepotism. The protests were as swift as they were efficient: under the slogan “All of them means all of them”, the population flooded the streets, demanding an overhaul of the system, commencing with the replacement of government, parliament and high public functionaries. The ruling classes’ reaction was swift, too: in a typical strategy for the country, the political establishment attempted to co-opt the demonstrations by joining the protestors, to delegitimise the protest by claiming it to be a ploy of foreign interventionism, or to firstly spark sectarian tensions in order to secondly claim its position as the sole guarantee for sectarian peace in the country…


“The Spirits that We Called, Now our Commands Ignore.”

Turkey’s incursion into Syria, the EU’s condemnation thereof, and the expectable weaponisation of a short sighted deal.

October 27, 2019
By : Julian Vierlinger

By now one could safely say that there has been a fair amount of precedent for actions in complete absence of precedent when it comes to foreign policy decisions of the White House. The US abandonment of an important strategic ally in the fight against violent Jihadism — the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces — is yet another instantiation of this logic. With the outcome of both the current ambitions of impeachment and next year’s presidential election more than unclear, it seems to be high time to abandon the long standing European reliance on American firepower to protect Europe from MENA unrest, and to replace it with a European policy that takes matters into its own hands. In order to do so, however, the Union has to stop compromising its bargaining power for the sake of short-term solutions to problems that need long-term strategies. The EU’s 2016 agreement with Turkey, widely reported as the “refugee deal”, is a prime example of such a course of action…


Advocating for a coherent
European foreign policy in
the MENA region

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