EUROPE’S DEFENSE DEBATE IS ALL ABOUT AMERICA

Last year, when French president Emmanuel Macron declared in an interview with the Economist that NATO was “brain dead,” he caused a stir throughout Europe. Official European reactions came quickly, and they were negative across the continent. NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, “any attempt to distance Europe from North America will not only weaken the trans-Atlantic alliance, it is also risking dividing Europe itself. European unity cannot replace trans-Atlantic unity.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that she could not support Macron, and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki went as far as to qualify Macron’s statements as “dangerous.” Rather than hearing the French wake-up call, the rest of Europe rallied around the NATO flag. Instead of advancing the European debate and generating support for greater European defense efforts as Macron probably hoped to do, his statements apparently had the opposite effect. Allies eventually decided to bury the controversy in a reflection-group process, following a German proposal. Macron recently repeated his call for a stronger Europe at the Munich Security Conference, causing less irritated reactions — yet this event should not be seen as representative of the European debate. A large number of Europeans remain skeptical of Macron’s vision of a less dependent Europe.

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Germany should lead the way towards NATO’s New European Pillar

The Alliance should use the reflection process to develop a new European pillar in NATO, in order to re-calibrate the relative weight of European and American commitments to the Alliance, both in terms of resources and decision making.

By Anna Wieslander

The new NATO European Defense Pillar

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In Latest Post-Impeachment Move, Trump Administration Shifts a Loyalist to the State Department

Political appointee Alexander Alden will take over a role in a bureau caught in the middle of Trump’s impeachment and trial.

Alexander Alden, a political appointee under U.S. President Donald Trump, is being moved from the White House to the State Department to manage relations with Europe, including issues related to China and the coronavirus, according to current and former officials familiar with the matter.

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‘Coronavirus Diplomacy’ Won’t Change Serbia’s Path

Author: Aleksandar Vucic

Despite accepting aid from China to fight the coronavirus, the president of Serbia writes that his country is committed to a pro-Western foreign policy.

SINCE THE CORONAVIRUS pandemic was declared, China, Europe, and the United States have provided assistance to many countries around the world as part of their "coronavirus diplomacy." But some of these countries, such as Serbia, have been unfairly questioned over their willingness to request and receive support from a variety of partners.

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Balkan Grit

The Pandemic Has Hit South-Eastern Europe Hard but Opportunities Beckon 
In poor regions like the Balkans, the economic impact of the pandemic will be far-reaching and acutely test social resilience. However, it will also provide opportunities for self-reliance and resourcefulness that could benefit Europe more widely. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) calculate that the economic contraction in the Balkans will range between 3% and 10%. The IMF also forecasts that Balkan economies, which have applied strict lockdowns to contain the pandemic, can start to rebound later this year with a 4.2% uptick in production once social restrictions are relaxed. Several countries are allowing small and medium-sized businesses to reopen in May, while larger public gatherings, including schools, shopping centers, parks, and sports venues will open more gradually if the contagion continues to decrease.

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