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EDlogodownloadThe COVID-19 pandemic, which has rocked the world, could prove to be one of those major upheavals capable of changing the face of the planet. Time alone will tell. At the very least, the pandemic raises issues with regard to the principles of solidarity, human dignity, freedom, democracy, rule of law and peace that are the founding values of the European Union.

The measures suggested here are designed to attenuate the impact of economic recession, while at the same time optimising defence and security capacities without encroaching on individual Member State's sovereignty.

nickwattsIMG 20170907 0924504Europe's political landscape is in a state of profound flux, one that presents real challenges to those continental nations who see their interests best served by a combination of effective, geopolitically balanced European institutions and a robust transatlantic alliance. This is true for countries like Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands, countries notably effective in maintaining a sound balance between these two strategic principals.

The continent faces a plethora of disruptive and divisive dynamics. It is a focal point of Great Power aggression. Russia is using military force to revise European borders, and both Moscow and Beijing are using economic, cyber, and social media to sow discord within and across nations – and to pillage their economic assets. Populist movements, many fueled by Moscow, are undercutting commitment to both the European Union and NATO. On top of all this, economic fragility looms like a dark storm cloud over Europe.

In the future the EU political and economic power will decrease, but also the trans-Atlantic relation can deteriorate. This will affect the role of NATO. In the EU France and Germany will become more influential, if not preponderant, drivers of decisions within that institution. That too will leave the EU more vulnerable to bouts of anti-Americanism and to those who pursue EU "strategic autonomy" to weaken the role of NATO.

EDlogodownloadSITREP

All-year Arctic sea ice has been reaching measured minimum levels over the last 20 years. Russia has established and reopened military bases on land, and invested heavily in icebreakers/ice capable ships. Other nations have not made any significant response until very recently. The Northern Sea Route has been open for longer, and greater tonnages have been shipped to and from Asia as a consequence (saving around 10 days sailing time) International organisations exist but there is a juxtaposition of national and international waters. Analysis suggests the presence of substantial deposits of hydrocarbons and minerals under the Arctic Ocean, much currently unreachable. For purposes of reportage, events in 2019 are sub divided into military; commercial and environmental/miscellaneous headings.on the following pages.

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