Press "Enter" to skip to content

Weekly News Briefing #1

Ukraine 

As we entered the eighth week of the Russian war on Ukraine, Russia, after it failed to capture Kyiv and hence withdrew from its outskirts, started its awaited offensive in the eastern region of Ukraine, Donbas. According to a Russian general, the aim is to seize all of southern and eastern Ukraine. 

On Tuesday, a Ukrainian commander from Mariupol, the southern-eastern port city still under siege, released a video stating that they will not lay down their weapons and surrender. However, he also said they were outnumbered by Russian forces and did not know how long they could hold the city. He also called for humanitarian corridors to evacuate women and children who are still sheltering in the city that became notorious for the news of the population facing a humanitarian crisis, being cut off from water and electricity due to the Russian siege. 

Stay up to Date – Subscribe to our newsletter.

Finland 

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Finland, which shares a 1,340 km long border with the Russian Federation, is now seriously considering giving up its long-standing tradition of neutrality in return for a NATO membership. 

As of April 2022, more than 60% of its population are in favour of joining the military alliance, despite Russian threats about “serious political and military consequences”, also including “retaliatory measures”, in case Finland were to join NATO.

Together with Finland, also neutral Sweden contemplates joining the military alliance and is now facing the same threats from Russia. 

France

After the first round of the French presidential election, Emmanuel Macron and his opponent, populist far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, came forward as finalists. The second round will be held on April 24, 2022.
Want to know more about the first round of France’s presidential election? See Politico’s five takeaways here.

On Wednesday, April 20th, Le Pen and Macron had a final televised debate ahead of Sunday’s election. During the discussion, Macron accused Le Pen of being in the pocket of Russia, alluding to her close relationship with Putin.

Although polling suggests a second presidential term for Macron, the result is expected to be closer than five years ago: Yet, while a Le Pen success in the elections is unlikely, it is still not impossible. In the (unlikely) event of a Le Pen victory, her presidency would be another stress test for the European Union, among other stressors, such as the war in Ukraine, the rule of law breaches of Hungary’s newly re-elected prime minister Viktor Orbán and his various quarrels with Brussels. 

As election day comes around, all signs point toward a Macron victory. He would be the first president in decades to win a second consecutive term.

In other news  

Shanghai Lockdown: In an effort to stop another wave of Covid, Chinese authorities impose extreme measures on the population in Shanghai.

Turkey launched a new offensive against Kurdish fighters of the PKK in Iraq on Monday.

On Wednesday, Russia test-launched a new intercontinental missile, which the West perceived as a warning. 

 

That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading, and we hope you enjoyed this newsletter. 

Unanimity is killing the EU

Time and again, voices from in- and outside the EU demanded for the Council of the EU to move from unanimous decision-making in matters of foreign and security policy to qualified majority voting. Moreover, concerns have been voiced that the block's unanimity requirement seriously impedes its ability to act fast and step up as a reliable and credible global actor in a fast-changing world. Nevertheless, even though these calls for a decision-making reform are not new, it is unlikely that the rules will change anytime soon and that the EU will move to qualified majority voting in crucial areas such as foreign and security policy.

Is it finally time for EU merger control reform?

In recent years, preserving the single market through competition rules has come to the fore due to increasing foreign competition. In the context of merger control, the planned takeover of the French firm Alstom by the German company Siemens has given rise to a debate. The European Commission's prohibition of the merger raised two particular questions this analysis seeks to answer while looking at proposed amendments to the merger rules.

The Lasso of Truth: The American National Security Workforce and the Polygraph

Polygraphs are an incredibly popular tool. They are used in criminal and civil cases, by the prosecution and defense alike, to determine the credibility of sources, defendants, and suspects. However, polygraphs are incredibly problematic. As has been shown by various scientific reports and assessments, they have zero scientific basis, are far too open to individual bias and partial interpretation, and incredibly unreliable. Yet they are in use by nearly every federal law enforcement agency for employment and investigative purposes and are utilized by the courts in certain circumstances. My own view on polygraphs is rather negative, having personally researched the issue and been the subject of such an exam for employment purposes.

Donald Trump: Criminal At Large, Con Artist For Life

The United States will survive this trauma, no matter how the trial concludes. Although Donald Trump did to America exactly what he did to his first wife and scores of other women, he seriously miscalculated the will of the American people. But so much has been lost along the way, and so much damage done, finally holding him to account would be so much healthier—for him and for everyone else.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *