“There are no expectations of any progress,” Ellinas said. And earlier this month the Turkish Foreign Minister warned that if ExxonMobil returns to drill in Cyprus’ EEZ, Turkey will do the same. In that case we confront a very serious challenge not only as Greece but as European Union as a whole”. On the other hand, of course, there is no much time for the countries to lose. Greece is one of the pioneers in such initiatives. “Greece in theory but also in practice seems to be initiating or to be promoting initiatives which serve the purpose of a turn to greener forms of energy and a green economy,” Filis said. “Evidently for Turkey rapprochement does not mean abandonment of its untenable claims,” Ellinas said. Others are making limited and hesitant steps. According to Ellinas, this year’s abnormal floods and wildfires are also likely to be discussed at the summit, including measures being taken to address the problem, including EU’s help. Turning to migration flows in the East Mediterranean region, Filis said the consequences of the recent developments in Afghanistan mainly have to do with migration. With regards to energy in the East Med not much is happening other that US major ExxonMobil’s intention to return to Cyprus end of the year to drill an appraisal well at Glaucus in Block 10. He noted that both Greece and Cyprus may brief the meeting about Turkey’s most recent aggressive statements. They don’t have the luxury of delaying decisions. If they don’t make up their minds and if projects don’t start materializing then in five years from now it will be late,” he added. Ellinas noted that despite the fact that in Cyprus the cost of emission allowances is now hurting, and will hurt even more when the European Union’s Fit-for-55 package is adopted, it is only taking small steps to increase renewable energy. So, time is not on our side,” Constantinos Filis, director of research at Institute of International Relations, told New Europe by phone on September 17. The current hike in gas and electricity prices is likely to force change. “Indeed, there is a concern that human flows particularly from Afghanistan may multiply in the coming months. “In the latest, this week, in response to Greece’s plans to carry out maritime surveys in an area between Crete and Kasos, Turkey warned Greece that parts of this area belong to the Turkish continental shelf, as declared to the UN in March 2020, referring Greece again to the Turkey-Libya maritime memorandum,” Ellinas said. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades may brief the meeting about initiatives being taken to address climate change, involving use of experts to define new policies, but there is now an urgent need to move further into heeding Europe’s lead and implementing ambitious targets, Ellinas said. In a glimmer of some kind of advance the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will be seeing both Cypriot leaders in New York during the UN General Assembly but no date or agenda have been announced. “East Med is going to be affected in a hard way by the climate change which we now call climate crisis. “However, President Anastasiades may brief the meeting about the successful summit with Egypt first week of September where among other issues both sides agreed to study export of gas from Aphrodite by pipeline to Egypt. “But nothing much has really happened since July when Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots announced the opening of Varosha and reconfirmed their positions for a two-state solution in Cyprus,” he said. In July, Turkish Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusoglu threatened to return back to offshore surveys and drilling in Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) if there was no fair distribution of revenues, Ellinas said. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Time is not on our side: EUMed 9 leaders discuss climate crisis

By Kostis Geropoulos
Energy & Russian Affairs Editor, New Europe

Visit of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, to Greece

EUmed 9 leaders meet in Athens, Greece, September 17, 2021. “However, once the EU fully adopts its new climate change package, the East Med countries will follow suit. But, he argued, “It is probable if we see hundreds of thousands of Afghanis, more than the already 300,000 to 500,000 which are in Turkey, so if we see new flows of Afghanis on Turkish soil, (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan will channel them to Greece. Charles Ellinas, senior fellow, Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council, told New Europe on September 17 the East Med countries have huge potential for green energy, and particularly solar. This is not the case for now,” he said. “We have to work hard and we have to realize that if we don’t do it in an effective way what we see now during the year is going to become a phenomenon that is going to take place more and more often,” he added. Having said that, the new government in Israel appears to be more determined to pursue a deeper environmental agenda, having announced an 85% decarbonization plan by 2050,” he said. “This means that the desire for hydrocarbons is not as much as it used to be in the previous years including Greece and maybe, only maybe this can serve as a catalyst not necessarily positive developments but at least in avoiding escalation of crises between states for the shake of securing hydrocarbons. He does not have time and the political luxury to sit down and negotiate with the Europeans whom he does not trust anyway. “But only Greece has so far made far-reaching commitments. But equally, the EU needs to pay attention to the legitimate problems the countries of the region have with the impact of energy transition on their economies, their populations and the cost of energy and seek pragmatic solutions,” he said. EUROPEAN UNION, 2021/EC – AUDIOVISUAL SERVICE/DATI BENDO

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ATHENS – The EUMed 9 summit begun in Athens today (September 17), focusing on stability in the eastern Mediterranean as well as efforts to tackle climate change and migration flows in the region. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen may reconfirm at the meeting EU’s strong support for a unified Cyprus and that the EU will not accept a two-state solution, Ellinas argued. Even though this is an inter-governmental accord, both sides agreed to progress it,” Ellinas said. It is putting its hopes in the import of liquified natural gas (LNG), which now appears to be delayed, he said. follow on twitter @energyinider Turning to the Cyprus problem, Anastasiades plans to brief the other participants about recent developments regarding the Cyprus problem, Ellinas said.

RA BOE/WIKIPEDIA

Plans to accelerate the ecological transition of airports

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Italian energy giant ENI and Aeroporti di Roma (ADR) signed on September 14 a strategic agreement to promote decarbonization initiatives in the aviation sector and accelerate the ecological transition of airports. This is further confirmation of our desire to make Fiumicino and Ciampino two of the most sustainable airports in the world. The agreement includes the development of decarbonization and digitalisation projects to boost the transition of ADR-managed airports to smart hubs. ENI has been producing Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) biofuel in its Venice and Gela bio-refineries since 2014 via its proprietary Ecofoning™ technology; it can also produce sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) from waste and plant-based raw materials using the same technology, ENI said in a press release. ADR, the leading Italian airport hub and best airport in Europe for the past there years, has been carbon neutral since 2013 and has committed to eliminating all its emissions by 2030. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>ENI and Aeroporti di Roma ink deal to develop biofuels for aviation

By New Europe Online/KG

The Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in Rome. According to ENI, the company’s new “net zero carbon by 2050” strategy will enable it to provide a range of fully decarbonized products, combining environmental and financial sustainability. Our strong focus on sustainability, which has been recognised at a global level, has always been a driver of our development and is now very firmly integrated into our business,” he added. A notable feature of the agreement will see the introduction of sustainable fuels for aviation (SAF) and for ground handling (HVO) over the coming months. A joint programme for the development of sustainable mobility and distribution services to end customers will also be established, as well as energy integration projects in line with the most advanced transition and digitalisation models. The target has been endorsed by ACA 4+ accreditation and reinforced with the recent issue of a €500m sustainability-linked bond that directly links the cost of debt to the sustainability results achieved – a world first for an airport. “When leading Italian companies work together they can create and implement ambitious projects of the scale needed to ensure a genuine environmental transition and secure the revival of a strategically important sector for Italy such as aviation,” Aeroporti di Roma CEO Marco Troncone said. “We are ready to make our technology and low-carbon products available to the sector to help it make a recovery based on sustainability and innovation,” he said. “We are deeply committed to ensuring carriers have access to biofuels in the coming months, ahead of expectations. Key drivers in its path towards decarbonization include: the recent merger of the renewable and retail businesses, the development of biorefineries and biomethane production, and the sale of low-carbon energy carriers and mobility services at service stations. This will lead to lower CO2 emissions compared to fossil fuels. ENI Energy Evolution Chief Operating Officer Giuseppe Ricci noted that hic company began its business transformation in 2014, taking an active and leading role in promoting the circular economy, the development of innovative technologies and sustainable mobility, all based on a synergistic blend of solutions that minimise environmental impact and boost efficiencies.

“But we call for that same leadership on setting out how China will get there. It is the authority on the science of climate change. “We saw floods in Belgium and Germany. And change is already happening. And we will make sure that higher climate ambition comes with more social ambition. The Commission President noted that major economies – from the US to Japan – have set ambitions for climate neutrality in 2050 or shortly after. “We deliver on our commitment. More electric vehicles than diesel cars were registered in Germany in the first half of this year. We will now propose an additional 4 billion euro for climate finance until 2027. Poland is now the EU’s largest exporter of car batteries and electric buses. “When it comes to climate change and the nature crisis, Europe can do a lot. Climate change is man-made. So clearly something is on the move,” the EU Commission President said. Team Europe contributes 25 billion dollars per year. But we can fix it. “The report leaves no doubt. “These need now to be backed up by concrete plans in time for Glasgow. We’re sure. But the goal is simple. This must be a fair green transition. But Europe cannot do it alone,” she said, stressing that the COP26 in Glasgow will be a moment of truth for the global community. Because current commitments for 2030 will not keep global warming to 1.5°C within reach. In Mexico and in Paris, the major economies committed to provide $100 billion s a year until 2025 to the least developed and most vulnerable countries. But while every country has a responsibility, major economies do have a special duty to the least developed and most vulnerable countries. My message today is that Europe is ready to do more. Turning to the European Green Deal, she noted that the EU Commission last year set a target of at least 55% emission reduction by 2030 and since then the bloc has turned its climate goals into legal obligations. EUROPEAN UNION, 2021/EC – AUDIOVISUAL SERVICE/CHRISTOPHE LICOPPE

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While every country has a responsibility, major economies do have a special duty to the least developed and most vulnerable countries to tackle climate change, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. “We are the first major economy to present comprehensive legislation in order to get it done. Every country has a responsibility!” she said. Climate finance is essential for them – both for mitigation and adaptation,” she said. But others still leave a gaping hole towards reaching the global target. Closing that gap will increase the chance of success at Glasgow. As I heard it said recently:  It’s warming. You have seen the complexity of the detail. I am proud to announce today that the EU will double its external funding for biodiversity, in particular for the most vulnerable countries. We will clean the energy we use. In her state of the union address (SOTEU) in the European Parliament on September 15, von der Leyen said the events of the summer only served to explain why the bloc needs to step up efforts to reduce emissions. This is why we proposed a new Social Climate Fund to tackle the energy poverty that already 34 million Europeans suffer from,” von der Leyen said, noting that she counts on both Parliament and Member States to keep the package and to keep the ambition together. The goals that China’s President Xi Jinping has set for his country are encouraging, von der Leyen said. It’s us. And wildfires burning from the Greek islands to the hills in France. It is time to deliver. But since it is man-made, we can do something about it. And if we don’t believe our own eyes, we only have to follow the science,” she said, reminding that the UN recently published the IPCC report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We will put a price on pollution. We will have smarter cars and cleaner airplanes. But we expect the United States and our partners to step up too,” she said, adding, “Closing the climate finance gap together – the US and the EU – would be a strong signal for global climate leadership. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>EU and US can close the climate finance gap together, says von der Leyen

By New Europe Online/KG

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers her state of the union address in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, September 15, 2021. The world would be relieved if they showed they could peak emissions by mid-decade – and move away from coal at home and abroad. And it will support others. It’s bad. Or take the New European Bauhaus that led to an explosion of creativity of architects, designers, engineers across our Union.

 
  Energy storage is an end-to-end technology in Rosatom’s portfolio of new businesses, which makes it possible to create high-tech products which are in demand in the new technological paradigm in compliance with the energy transition concept, Risatom said, adding that Russian-made lithium-ion batteries should be used, in particular, in electric vehicles, power grids, uninterruptible power supply systems and energy consumption balancing systems. “Building a large-scale facility for production of energy storage units is an important milestone for accomplishment of our strategy aimed at development of new non-nuclear businesses, but also for fulfillment of the Government’s electric transport development Concept with an outlook till 2030,” TVEL Fuel Company President Natalia Nikipelova said, adding that the plant’s production is supposed to be consumed mainly by domestic car manufacturers, therefore the enterprise will make a significant contribution to implementation of the state policy of import substitution. Kaliningrad Region Governor Anton Alikhanov noted that implementation of this project can drive the socio-economic development of remote areas of his region. The plant for the production of lithium-ion cells and energy storage systems, the so called “Russian gigafactory”, will be launched at the Baltic NPP site already in 2026. The full production capacity of the plant will be at least 3 GWh annually, which is the total energy volume of the produced batteries, Rosatom said. RENERA Director General Emin Askerov said the signals his company receives from the Russian market indicate that the production volumes we planned a year ago may be insufficient. According to Rosatom, Enertech International Inc., a South Korean manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries and RENERA’s 49% subsidiary since 2021, will be the technological partner of the project. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Rosatom to build Kaliningrad plant for lithium-ion cells and storage production

By New Europe Online/KG

ROSATOM.RU

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Russia’s state atomic corporation Rosatom announced on September 15, RENERA, a subsidiary of its TVEL Fuel Company, and the Kaliningrad Region government have signed an agreement on accomplishment of an investment project, aimed at building of a plant for production of lithium-ion cells and energy storage systems in Russia’s Western exclave region. “To fulfill the current plans for electric transport development, we are considering a possible growth of the plant’s production capacity up to 12 GWh,” he said. Construction of the manufacturing facility will contribute to development of this industrial site. Its expertise and developments will enable manufacturing of products meeting high international standards. “The preliminary need for personnel at the new plant is estimated at two thousand people, which means the prospect of an essential increase in the population of our eastern municipalities, housing construction and new infrastructure,” the governor said.

Once implemented, the project will develop Uzbekistan’s wind potential, help reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 160,000 tons of CO2 equivalent, and generate an additional 350 mn kWh of electricity. According to the Uzbek Energy Ministry, clean and renewable energy from this new 100 MW Wind farm is expected to feed Uzbekistan’s grid in less than 2 years. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Uzbekistan announces financial proposals for 100MW wind farm in Karakalpakstan

By New Europe Online/KG

epa05563683 A photograph made available on 30 September 2016 showing a wind turbine at the site of the highest wind park in Europe at the Griessee, near the Nufenenpass in the Swiss south Alpes, Valais, Switzerland, on 23 September 2016. ACWA Power has become the winning bidder with a tariff proposal of 2.5695 US cents per kilowatt-hour. Uzbekistan is working closely with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to open the country’s energy sector to private investment and attract foreign capital in an efficient and transparent manner, as well as to reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere and develop a joint decarbonization program. The plants are part of a wider programme by Uzbekistan to develop 3 GW of wind by 2030 and this target is expected to be increased in the next review of the long term development plan. We are proud to cooperate with the EBRD, and other international partners as we join the international community of wind power generators,” he added. “This project is key component of our ambitious, wider energy strategy to develop environmentally friendly renewable sources of energy to meet growing electricity demand. The four wind turbines of this wind park were developed by the company SwissWinds GmbH and are inaugurated on, 30 September 2016.   EPA/OLIVIER MAIRE

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Uzbekistan’s Energy Ministry announced on September 16 the financial proposals of the investors/bidders in their contest to become the independent power producer to develop the 100MW wind farm in Karakalpakstan region. Voltalia bid with 3.279 cents per kWh and Masdar with 2.6550 cents per kWh. ACWA Power of Saudi Arabia, Masdar of the UAE and Voltalia of France submitted their technical, commercial and financial proposals as their bids to become the developer of the wind farm. “Uzbekistan is making huge strides towards producing and providing ‘green energy’ for its economy, decreasing the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and reducing overall CO2 emissions,” Uzbekistan’s Deputy Energy Minister Sherzod Khodjaev said.

 
But Turkey has still remained something of a distant actor in Afghanistan. A file photo showing Turkish soldiers at Kabul’s international airport. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and other foreign diplomats have hailed Qatar for its support throughout the chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan as a testament to its importance. Turkey has been among the countries carefully minding new developments in Afghanistan. It may also aid the Central Asian gas suppliers in diversifying their relationships by opening them further to new export partners. The Islamic State through its local branch ISIS-K also remains a threat as demonstrated by the August 27 attack on Kabul airport that left 170 dead, including 13 American service members. At a time when the Turkish economy remains weak and the political atmosphere remains highly polarized, Erdogan faces serious risks to his two decades of uninterrupted rule in Turkey. For months, the government has fortified its frontier with Iran by constructing a concrete wall outfitted with advanced sensors and patrolled by Turkish soldiers. The most obvious among them being security which remains precarious as a fragile Taliban-led government takes shape. For all the possible rewards Turkey may hope to gain from remaining in Afghanistan, there are just as many risks. Turkey’s policies in Afghanistan can also backfire if the problems are felt closer to home. Whereas Qatar has been the Americans’ middleman with the Taliban, Turkey can offer the same for Europe. Resisted by Russia, and economically outdone by China, Turkey has failed to make deep inroads with the largely Turkic-speaking ex-Soviet republics, where cultural ties run deep. After initially promising to resist any foreign presence on Afghan soil, the Taliban shifted tone and said it would welcome Turkish assistance, minus any soldiers. Given Brussels’ eagerness to avoid a repeat of 2015, Ankara is in a prime position to leverage any relationship with a new Afghan government to curb refugee outflows in exchange for some concessions. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>What are Turkey’s ambitions in Afghanistan after the US’ withdrawal? Turkey has advantages that are also separate from any offered by Qatar. and the U.S. Today, Erdogan is eager to paint a picture of a renewed Turkish-American partnership, and Afghanistan is considered a stepping stone towards better relations with Washington. Turkey may also see a presence in Afghanistan as a possibility to realize a long-held goal of expanding its influence into Central Asia. Qatar is Turkey’s most important ally in the Middle East. Already, the European Union has been anxious about any possibility that a wave of desperate Afghans will flee the Taliban for safety in the bloc. Like many Western countries that are interested in engaging with a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, the key to Turkey’s achievement of its mission may lie with Qatar. Infrastructure projects are underway to make the most of the now shared border between the two. By Nicholas Morgan
A New York-based freelance journalist focusing on Russia and Eurasia. Support from allies in Qatar and the West will be the most critical elements to Turkish strategy as will developments that hinge on the Taliban’s ability to establish control over a still restive Afghanistan. This has been a liability for him as the Turkish opposition has adopted aggressive rhetoric on migration, including promises to ignore any international deals they believe Erdoğan to have struck with the West on the topic if they come to power. that called on it to house additional Afghan refugees with Erdogan himself stating that Turkey would not be “Europe’s migrant warehouse”. If Turkey remains insistent on remaining in Afghanistan, these challenges will guide it in a cautious and calibrated direction. The threat to the Taliban from resistance fighters in the mountainous Panjshir province appears to be limited, but it can still create headaches for the radical militant group. This observation mirrors statements from other concerned observers like Russia, but it masks what is in fact a more sophisticated thought process towards Afghanistan in Turkish foreign policy. Since at least May, Turkey has spoken about maintaining a role in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal was completed. EU leaders, mindful of their utter failure to effectively manage the millions of Syrian and Iraqi refugees that crossed its borders in 2015, have turned to Turkey for assistance with Afghanistan. Years of tension exposed the sensitivity of the Turkish economy to fluctuations in its relationship with the US and left it has found itself in a much more isolated position across its neighborhood. These investments are pictured as a way to possibly transform Turkey into a transit route for the flow of Central Asian gas to European markets and reduce Turkish reliance on Russian or Iranian energy imports. Turkey’s proposal was greeted with interest by the US and together they worked on the terms of any cooperation after Erdogan conditioned it on continued American logistical, diplomatic, and financial support. For Erdoğan in particular, the risks are acute and it will likely keep his ambitions in check lest they come back to haunt him at home. Since then, reports indicate that Turkey could rely on private security agencies to manage the airport and Turkish technical teams are on the ground working to bring Kabul’s airport back into operation. Under Khan, Afghanistan was the second country to recognize the nascent Turkish state after the Soviet Union, and he was keen to emulate Ataturk’s programs in his own country. For all of the EU’s concerns about refugees, Ankara is also afraid of an increase in Afghans crossing over its borders. Turkish support kept it afloat when neighbors led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates initiated a four-year blockade in 2017 and the two have signed numerous cooperation agreements over the years. For the last decade, Turkey under Erdogan has shifted away from a close alliance with the US, owing to disagreements over Syria, Turkish aggression against its fellow NATO allies in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, and American sanctions over Ankara’s purchase of the S-400 missile system from Russia. In an interview with the Financial Times, Qatar’s foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said that it was coordinating its efforts with Turkey to reopen Kabul’s airport. Since the September 11th attacks on the US in 2001, Turkey has maintained a military presence alongside NATO albeit in a non-combat role. The form it would take was through assuming control of security at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, a role the Turkish military has played for years. The Taliban were never enthusiastic about a continued Turkish role in Afghanistan, viewing it with suspicion as a veiled means to maintain some American presence past the withdrawal. Since openly backing Azerbaijan in its victory in Nagorno-Karabakh last year, Turkey’s position, relative to Central Asia, has strengthened considerably. If Turkey can contribute to any stability in Afghanistan, the region may hearten to future overtures that help Ankara further its grand strategy in the east. Since 2013, the small Gulf kingdom has kept an open channel with the Taliban through its political mission in Doha and Qatari support has been essential to several American administrations who looked for a negotiated end to the war. Turkey has also played an important role in negotiations between the United States, the previous Afghan government and the Taliban though it remained a secondary location compared to Qatar where the final agreement to withdraw was ultimately brokered. Some of these protests have been blocked by the Taliban, while others were dispersed with gunfire shot into the air. Protests are also continuing against the Taliban from women and other groups wary of taking the militants at their word that they have moderated away from their brutal rule from the 1990s. To be certain, Turkey has a long history of relations with Afghanistan. Turkey’s present interest in Afghanistan has been primarily understood as a means to repair strained relations with Washington. During the 1920s, Afghanistan’s King Amanullah Khan was an enthusiastic follower of the Turkish republic’s modernization under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Anti-refugee sentiment has reached a boiling point in Turkey over the Erdogan government’s hosting of four million Syrian refugees, a fervor that has not spared the over 100,000 Afghans who also reside in the country. A Taliban dominated Afghanistan has been effectively cemented for the foreseeable future now that a slate of candidates has been named for a new government even in the face of continued resistance from corners of Afghan society. Members of the overthrown Afghan government, including former Vice-President Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud, the son of the legendary resistance fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud, have urged Afghans to continue resistance against the Taliban with some effect. After Kabul fell to the Taliban, Turkey’s airport mission appeared to be dead. He has refused to commit to hosting more Afghans and any EU proposals that would imitate the Syrian refugee deal by providing funds in exchange for keeping the Afghans in Turkey itself. Turkey has also balked at proposals from the E.U. On the same day a new Afghan interim government was announced, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara was watching the situation closely and his foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu insisted that there was “no rush” to recognize the regime. Facebook

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After the United States finished its withdrawal from the two-decade war in Afghanistan on August 31, regional powers remain at work trying to understand what this new geopolitical reality means for them. The anti-migrant fervor of the Turkish public boiled over last month right when a massive riot broke out right outside Ankara with looters ransacking Syrian neighbourhoods over the murder of a Turkish teen in a dispute with two Syrians. Compared to Turkey, Qatar remains the more trusted interlocutor to the Taliban and this already appears to be working to Ankara’s advantage. Turkish leaders like Foreign Minister Cavusoglu have cautioned that Afghanistan could return to civil war if more is not done to bridge its political divisions while also meeting the twin crises of widespread hunger and poverty. Qatari officials have similarly warned that a decline in the security situation is the most immediate risk to reconstruction in Kabul and elsewhere.

Tunisian President Kais Saied suspended parliament, imposed a curfew and dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi. The US, EU and the UK must continue to act until this comes about. Bush worked with dictatorships to pursue perceived security threats, while Obama’s desire to maintain his domestic coalition made him a fickle friend of democracy in the region. The plain truth is that it is in the long-term interest of the US, the wider Middle East region as a whole, and the global community that there be a stable and democratic system of functioning states throughout the Near East. Washington should launch a diplomatic offensive in the country that will demonstrate its commitment to democracy and stability. In the past, efforts have focused on the trappings of democratization, rather than its spirit. Some argue that the US should just leave the Middle East altogether. It stretches the definitional usefulness of the term ‘the Middle East’ to a breaking point when referring to two countries separated by more than 5000km. This must be understood by Libyan domestic actors but also by international actors. In this regard, the adoption of a modified 1951 constitution could be vital and should be considered. The democratic government of Afghanistan in a matter of days despite two decades of war, over 200,000 dead, and more than $2 trillion spent. Bush announced, “We have adopted a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East”. His policy of maximum pressure on Iran has yielded nothing in return. This means offering and building support for solutions to the most immediate problem – the looming December elections. After two terms dominated by a foreign policy that placed the Middle East at its center, Donald Trump chose a policy of apathy and announced, “We are not here to lecture” in reference to Saudi Arabia. Whilst in the past presidents would occasionally pressure or use military force to oust dictators and fundamentalists, they would also collaborate with them at other points. EPA-EFE//MAURIZIO GAMBARINI
Indeed, both the Bush and Obama administrations, at times, undermined democracy in pursuit of other goals. That said, attempts to conduct policy without any reference to democratic ideals has also failed. In this way, US policy has been markedly inconsistent in its prioritization of democracy in the Middle East. American allies such as the UAE, Egypt and France, should understand that Washington will not tolerate continued meddling to support rogue elements. Western blood and treasure, to say nothing of the vast sacrifices of the Afghan people, only bought a twenty-year respite from repression, but did not end its danger. This lack of identification was a critical problem in both Tunisia and Afghanistan. Over the last few days, as the world watched what was unfolding in Afghanistan, MPs and judges were placed under house arrest. Events there, however, took a similar albeit less bloody turn. More importantly, if the US supports the idea that alliances are merely transactional, rather than based on principle, it weakens its long-term ability to maintain its network of allies who can help contain and counter Russian and Chinese influence in the world. Tunisian President Kais Saied. Trump’s pandering to the Saudi leadership gave the Kingdom implicit permission to intervene in Yemen. Inconsistent and poorly executed foreign policy is largely to blame. This approach is similarly unviable. Going forward, American foreign policy must be active, but also realistic. Illustration

Hopes of democracy in the Middle East lie in shambles. It also offers an opportunity to become an example of a new American foreign policy: one that is clear-eyed about the waters that it must navigate. Compounding the problem is that Biden’s foreign policy team – most notably Secretary of State Antony Blinken – have been absent. After 9/11, then-President George W. The current state of play in Libya illustrates the failures of the past, but also opportunities for the future. Neither military interventionism, nor the caution of the Obama era, has worked. The events that have played out in Afghanistan over the last month have demonstrated the inadequacies of the Bush and Obama administrations to usher in democracy. This was followed by a purge of senior officials and a month of the former constitutional law professor ruling by decree. Both examples illustrate how the West’s foreign policy across the Middle East has comprehensively failed in its attempt to promote democracy, even as the dynamics and approaches on the ground have changed. Biden can, within the context of domestic American political dynamics, be seen as an advocate of withdrawing the American presence in the region. Facebook

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Twenty years have now passed since 9/11. National security advisor, Jonathan Finer, co-wrote a memo titled “Ending the Forever Wars” in 2020, which has resulted in a conscious policy of de-prioritisation: Biden and his team would rather not waste precious resources in a region which they view as having only drawn policy-makers into long, arduous, and ultimately, unproductive efforts. That dichotomy has clearly not worked in the context of the post-9/11 Middle East. Libya now has the best chance in the region to become a true democracy. His utter disinterest and disdain for foreign policy issues led to growing Russian influence in Syria and Libya, which has led thousands of Russian military contractors and combat personnel operating and committing war crimes from the Levant to sub-Saharan Africa. Without this, we can expect the migrant crises to continue and for Russia and China to increase their influence alongside the expected upticks in acts of terror. Without a framework under which they can be legitimately run, the post-election period could, once again, wreak havoc on the country. Committees, conventions, and congresses can be created, but they must be identified by the vast majority of citizens if they are to succeed. Less noted, however, is the parallel example of Tunisia. All three approaches have left a legacy of failure. Libyans rose up in 2011 against its long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi, but the revolution was only saved from a bloody defeat by a massive NATO intervention. The West must learn the lessons of its past failures for Libya. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>The West must apply the lessons of Afghanistan and Tunisia to Libya

By Nathaniel Amos
A graduate of the University of Cambridge where he studied History and Politics with a focus on US foreign policy in the Middle East. This also should be pursued by an emphasis on supporting civil society in Libya, even as the political processes are supported. In short, sheer grubby “transactionalism” is not helpful. US foreign policy, therefore, finds itself between three vital pressures – the importance of a democratic future for the Middle East and awareness that military force alone is not the answer, and that an optimistic view does not constitute a sound foreign policy. Since then, differing ideas of the importance of democracy in Middle Eastern policy have dominated the foreign policy approaches of four American presidents. Damage from an airstrike by US warplanes against a jihadist training camp in Sabratha, Libya. However, what is essential is that all actors understand that the US stands with democracy and will not support its opponents in Libya. The poster child of the Arab Spring now begins to transform into its symbolic finale. A decade of near-continuous conflict ensued only uncertainly, which was only ended by the ostensible creation of a Government of National Unity under Prime Minster Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh earlier this year. In plain terms, the solution to the problem is not to ignore it, but to change their approach until it is finally resolved. The lack of sustained engagement by the US and EU then created a power vacuum for both internal and external powers to exploit. After the Arab Spring a decade ago, Obama echoed that  “It will be the policy of the United States to support transitions to democracy” in the region. He was a recipient of the Davidson Prize for History. EPA-EFE//STRINGER
American foreign policy in Libya should re-orient itself in the direction of a persistent and committed engagement towards democratization; one that is explicitly focused on the long-term, and which can serve as an example for the region as a whole. A US Marine from the 2/4 Infantry Battalion sits on top of a Humvee during a sandstorm in Al Ramadi, Iraq. At the same time, it must be aware of its goals and confident in its long-term ability to achieve them. It does not even succeed on its own terms of providing rough stability. The US cannot ‘do nothing’, but it cannot over-extend. There is now a very real chance that the conflict could reignite as elections, which will surely be disputed, take place in December.

Compared to the least free quartile, infant mortality rates are almost 10 times lower, and secondary school enrolment is more than twice as high in the freest nations. It is not an exaggeration to say that for millions of people, that difference would amount to knowing one’s grandchildren, or indeed great-grandchildren, or dying before their birth. This won’t just mean that those of us in the west will be a few pounds shorter each month, but rather it means that millions of the world’s poorest people who might have otherwise become richer will remain trapped in abject poverty. each quartile represents a quarter of the economies) based on their level of economic freedom. To put this in perspective, if the EU was a country, it would jointly rank 35th with Peru, and marginally above Jamaica and Bulgaria. Compared to, say, the U.S. epaselect epa07994911 An image taken with a zoom lens effect shows a general view of the European Parliament’s hemicycle on the second day of a ‘mini-plenary’ session in Brussels, Belgium, 14 November 2019. Worldwide, countries should be hesitant about following the in the footsteps of countries like Spain and the UK, who have chosen to raise taxes to pay off, or even maintain colossally high spending. However, the bad news is that our long-term prospects look increasingly bleak unless governments act fast to stop tinkering with their economy. When it comes to poverty, more than one-third of people in the least free economies live in extreme poverty (as defined by the World Bank as living on an income of less than $1.90 per day). Ultimately, increasing taxes is a foolish way out of the situation we find ourselves in as tax increases work to reduce our future economic freedom and stunt economic growth. To analyse the correlation between economic freedom and global well-being, the countries are split into quartiles (i.e. Regardless of one’s opinion on whether the abnormality of the last year-and-a-half warranted such intervention, a new report out this morning provides a stark warning to interventionist governments worldwide. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>The great European stagnation

By Alexander Hammond
Director of the Initiative for African Trade and Prosperity, and a Policy Analyst at the Institute of Economic Affairs. Rolling back the immense state apparatus that has encroached on nearly all economies since March 2020 won’t be politically easy, but it is economically necessary. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) gathered in Brussels for Committee meetings and Plenary Sessions debating the migrants situation’s in Bosnia as well as in Greek islands’ hotspots. which ranks 6th, the EU’s score is feeble at best. However, the benefits of economic freedom extend far beyond money. EPA-EFE//OLIVIER HOSLET

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Over the last 18 months, most governments across Europe have intervened in their economy more heavily than at any other time in the previous generation. Overall, the EU has an economic freedom score of 7.78 out of 10, which has been stable for the past decade. The EFW report found that that on average, those in the freest countries live an eye-watering 15 years longer than those in the most interventionist and restrictive nations. These scores are problematic when we consider that the size of government has exploded over the last year and in the Eurozone as a whole, debt as a percentage of GDP soared from 86.1% in the first quarter of 2020 to more than 100% today. Despite the many challenges that remain, the upside is that as nearly all countries begin to emerge from the worst of the covid pandemic, we have an opportunity to return to our pre-2020 economic freedom trajectory. By comparison, less than 1 per cent of people in the freest economies live in extreme poverty – of course, this figure is still far too high, but it’s about 36.2 times lower than the level in the least free economies. And what about Europe? The pandemic saw gargantuan levels of government spending, quantitative easing, trade restrictions, handouts, closed borders, and increasing calls for national self-sufficiency become the norm. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

An interior view of the European Parliament in Brussels. It highlights that, on average, freer economies are richer, grow faster, and score better across almost all metrics of global well-being than their least free counterparts. European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen. In ‘sound money’ the eurozone would rank a poor 50th, and most embarrassingly, in ‘size of government’ the EU would rank a tragically low 123rd. EPA-EFE//OLIVIER HOSLET
By the time the 2020 and 2021 data becomes available for the 2022 and 2023 report, respectively, given nearly every government’s response to COVID-19, global economic freedom will have declined. The challenge of nearly all EU governments is to try and return to some degree of normalcy and create a space whereby free exchange is no longer curtailed, intervention in the economy is reduced, and the spending taps are turned off. Similarly, the bottom 10 per cent of income earners in countries with the least amount of government intervention in their economy make, on average, nine times more than the poorest 10 per cent in the most interventionist economies. The good news is that in 2019 – the year most recent data is available – the world reached new heights of economic freedom and, therefore, prosperity. Indeed, in some metrics within the ‘size of government’ area the EU scores even worse – in ‘transfers and subsidies’ the EU would rank 141st, in ‘government consumption’ it’d rank 137th and in ‘top marginal income and payroll tax rate’ a poor 123rd. Doing so will be a key determinant of the bloc’s future growth and prosperity. The Fraser Institute’s 25th edition of its annual Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) report shows us once again the intrinsic link between economic freedom and prosperity. Average incomes in the freest (i.e., most capitalist) quartile of countries are more than 8.5 times higher than average incomes in the least free quartile ($50,619 and $5,911, respectively.) Indeed, the gap between the freest and least free economies is so vast that the average incomes of the poorest 10 per cent of people in the freest economies are more than twice average incomes in the least free nations. If the EU was a country, it would rank in the top quartile in three of the five components that make up the EFW ranking. As highlighted in the data above, if we are successful in doing so, the economic future will be a brighter one for us all. The results are staggering. To determine the level of economic freedom for the 165 economies measured, the EFW report analyses 42 indices across five major areas (size of government, legal systems and property rights, sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation), using figures from 2019 – the most recent year data is available.

It just might. It is only an EU structure. Each community can be an unofficial ambassador for Romania as they can to represent the legitimate interests of the country.  
The diaspora – Romania’s long-term advantage
It becomes obvious that, in a strictly political way, Bucharest has lost several chances to stand out at the European level. Recipes of success
The main reason why Hungary has achieved diplomatic success at the EU level over time is its membership in the so-called “Visegrad Group”, which also includes Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. According to the Global Soft Power Index 2021, developed by Brand Finance, Romania ranks 57th out of 100 countries analyzed. Could such a relationship be reshaped in order to promote Bucharest’s agenda? Another major problem for Romania is the lack of communication vectors at the European level. The report highlights the position of Dacian Ciolos, chairman of the Renew Europe group. Of course, the failure of Romania’s political class plays a big role in the country’s problems, and it must be admitted that the country also lacks a soft power mechanism that would push Bucharest’s agenda towards its desired goals. Romania has a unique opportunity to turn a problem (the departure of millions of Romanians from the country) into a strategic advantage. The European Commission keeps rejecting him for various inaccuracies and no approval is foreseen the near future, given that a government crisis is now taking place in Bucharest. Beyond the “stars”, including EPP vice-president and former spokesman Siegfried Muresan and Ciolos (who is the president of Renew Europe), and a few other MEPs, the rest of the Romanian delegation in Brussels does not communicate with the public. Furthermore, if the mandate is not extended, it remains in Bucharest only until 2029. The great success of Romanian diplomacy at the EU level is that last year it was elected to host the European Center for Cyber ​​Security (ECCC). According to an analysis made by the Panorama.ro portal, in the 56 departments and agencies within the European Commission, no Romanian holds the position of general manager and only one is a deputy general manager. Hungary has been very efficient in using a cocktail of soft-power and multilateral diplomacy in order to push for Budapest’s interests. According to this report, Romania is the fourth most influential country in the European Parliament. VoteWatch Europe, a think-tank that has been monitoring the activity of the European institutions for more than 10 years, made an index of influence in the European Parliament in 2020. Every government, regardless of political color, has understood that membership of the V4 group is essential and has continued. All countries in the Visegrad group use their relationship and mutual support in order to forward their agendas. Basically, soft power shows the ability of a state to shape, to a certain extent, the preferences of a larger or smaller group of citizens from other states by promoting values ​​to generate favorability. Moreover, it is annually subjected to the Justice Verification Mechanism (MCV) and entry into the euro seems light-years away. Romania has not been able to produce a political leader with a European scope. The percentage of Romanian officials employed in the European Commission, and who reach middle management positions, is twice as low as the European share and that of Romanians in senior management is 12 times lower. Although Romania and Bulgaria have always been compared to each other, the two countries have not developed similar mechanisms. The challenge here is to organize and activate a diaspora that generally mistrusts the Romanian government and the country’s political elite. However, this is not an agency. Romania is preparing to take the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months, starting on 01 January 2019. EPA-EFE/ROBERT GHEMENT

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The concept of soft power was articulated in the 1990s by the American scientist Joseph Nye. However, it does show that a mixture of politics, diplomacy, and ethnic management can push soft power towards visible outcomes. Most of it is used to legitimatize and maintain its prime minister, Viktor Orban’s, grip on power, which might not be a legitimate goal. These states negotiated most of the files in the package and knew how to support their policies. There is no Bulgaria-Romania working group aimed at attaining common goals within the EU. epa07255786 A lone biker passes by the Victoria Palace (the goverment headquarters, in the background) that is video-mapped with the projection of EU (R) and Romanian (L) flags, as well as the as the official logo of the Romanian Presidency at the Council of the European Union (C), in Bucharest, Romania, late 31 December 2018. In his work, he talks about the ability of a state to get what it wants without using armed or economic force. However, a somewhat unique form of soft power may emerge from Romania’s problems with economic migration. The Romanian diaspora was very active in promoting and pushing various politicians into key positions by overwhelming the online discussion regarding elections. Of the 27 states of the European Union, only four states are ranked lower than Romania, although Romania is the sixth country in population within the EU. In 14 years, Romania has failed to obtain the accommodation of a European agency. At a glance, we can see that much smaller countries, like Hungary and the Czech Republic,  are distinctively more active in communicating on issues of interest to the EU. This kind of energy might be used in order to promote Romanian values abroad, and it’s simply a matter of will on both sides – politicians must have the will to come up with a believable agenda and plan; the diaspora must have the will to still support their country publicly in those endeavors, which is a deed with its own complexities, given the state of European nationalism). This influence does not, however, help Romania in important cases. Interviews and press conferences are rare events and scarce, rather dull messages, sometimes appear on Twitter or Facebook. At present, Romania’s PNRR has not yet been accepted, although it was written by the minister of finance, Cristian Ghinea, from the same party as Dacian Ciolos at the national level. According to an infographic created by Radio Free Europe, 1.25 million Romanian speakers live in Italy, 1 million in Spain, 800,000 in France, as well as smaller communities in Belgium, Austria, Portugal, and Hungary. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Romania ignores soft power capabilities

By Cristian Rosu
A communications consultant and political analyst who has collaborated with several publications in Romania and abroad on issues in the fields on politics and international relations. A full member of the European Union for 14 years already, Romania has not yet managed to enter the Schengen zone.