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European Union Geopolitical Watch – from April 16 to April 22, 2022

European Union Geopolitical Watch Team : Sara Brouwers, Victor Martin, Madara Lange, Audrey Moisan, Teodora Subotic, Louis Harand, Leo Caget, Etienne Mathieu

04/17/2022: Violence in Sweden between the police and counterdemonstrations against the far-right grouping Stram Kurs. -Léo Caget-

On Sunday 17 April, the violence between the Swedish police forces and rallies denouncing the actions of the Danish far-right party Stram Kurs – “Hard Line” in English – reached its maximum intensity. Following three days of clashes in different cities across the country, the police report a total of 40 injuries, including 26 police officers and 14 civilians.

The “Hard Line” party is led by the Danish-Swedish Rasmus Paludan who claims anti-Islamic and anti-immigration positions, known in particular for actions carried out in several European countries, often consisting of burning Korans in neighbourhoods with a high density of immigrant or immigrant populations. The violence in Sweden began on Thursday 14 April in response to his visit to the town of Linköping. Demonstrators quickly attacked the police and the situation degenerated in several places in the Nordic kingdom. The situation only calmed down on Monday 18 April.

The country’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Monday: “Everyone can express their opinion, whether it is in good or bad taste. And whatever you think, you cannot respond with violence. Because that is exactly what Rasmus Paludan is after“. Swedish police chief Anders Thornberg denounced targeted violence against the police.

Several Muslim countries such as Turkey and Iran have disapproved of this position. Saudi Arabia “condemned the actions of some extremists in Sweden and their provocations against Muslims“. Iraqi diplomacy even summoned the Swedish chargé d’affaires on Sunday.

04/20/2022 : Official launch of the Energy Community Benchmark by the European Commission in Brussels. -Sara Brouwers- 

On April 20, while the study visit of the energy community project took place in Leuven, Belgium, the official launch of the Energy Communities Benchmark took place in Brussels. This event was a follow-up to the European Commission-US Joint Statement on European Energy Security (25 March 2022), and the Clean Energy Package, the European Parliament granted a €1 million funding to the European Commission to set up a project (implemented by Energy Cities, REScoop and FEDARENE, for a period of 24 months) and create an Energy Community Benchmark to monitor and support the deployment of energy communities in the European Union. It will notably contribute to the dissemination of best practices and provide technical assistance for the development of concrete energy community initiatives across Europe. The objective will be to assist local actors and citizens wishing to set up a citizens’ energy community (as defined in the Electricity Market Directive 2019/944) or a renewable energy community (as defined in the Renewable Energy Directive 2018/2001) with technical and administrative advice and to encourage their development.

04/20/2022: The President of the European Council visits Ukraine. -Victor Martin-

On April 20, 2022, Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, went to Ukraine, to Borodianka, in order to observe the “war crimes” which would have been committed by the Russian soldiers according to Ukraine. These crimes “must be punished. And they will be punished,” said Charles Michel.

The President of the European Council took advantage of this visit to reiterate the EU’s support for Ukraine: “We are determined to do everything possible to support Ukraine […] That is why we will use the full range of tools at our disposal”. Charles Michel recalled that the European Union (EU) had already allocated 1.5 billion euros for military aid and said that this aid will continue and will try to meet the needs of the Ukrainian army as precisely as possible.

During this visit, Charles Michel and the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, also discussed the process of accession of Ukraine to the European Union. The President of the European Council recalled that this process is long (about 8 months) but that in the case of Ukraine, the European Commission will give its opinion at the end of June and that the European Council should soon after begin the political discussions on the prospect of accession.

04/21/2022: European Union adopts additional financial support to Mozambique’s armed forces. -Léo Caget-

A press release from the Council of the European Union announced on Thursday 21 April the decision to increase the financial resources made available to the European training mission of the Mozambican armed forces. This decision to increase the support by 45 million euros brings the total amount of the mission to 89 million euros, enabling the training facilities to be strengthened, through the provision of suitable equipment and materials, land mobility vehicles and a field hospital. This new assistance measure is financed by the European Peace Facility created in March 2021 and complements the first two measures, one adopted in July 2021 for an initial amount of 4 million euros, the next in November of the same year, bringing the amount to 44 million euros. This training mission was decided to train 11 companies of the Mozambican navy and army, to strengthen the capacities of the country’s armed forces in the fight against Islamist insurgents in the north of the country, particularly active in the province of Cabo Delgado.

22/04/2022 : France decides to deliver Caesar guns to Ukraine. -Etienne Mathieu-

On the morning of April 22, Emmanuel Macron announced a new delivery of weapons to Ukraine. Among this equipment are a dozen Caesar cannons, powerful pieces of heavy artillery. The mobile Caesar cannon has a very good accuracy over a range of 40 kilometers. This is the first time that the French government has openly provided offensive equipment to the Ukrainian army; the Grande Muette (literally “the great mute”, nickname of the French armed forces), the Ministry of the Armed Forces and the Elysée remain discreet about the content of military shipments to Kiev. However, several newspapers such as L’Opinion and Le Monde, as well as the MP Alexis Corbière, have already spoken of the supply of anti-tank weapons and Javelin missiles.

The head of state insisted on the reality of French aid to this country still fighting against the Russian invasion launched nearly two months ago. “We are very coordinated,” said Emmanuel Macron, who emphasized the importance of co-decision at the European level – and in particular the consultation with the German Chancellor. However, the French president recalled that the “red line” is “not to enter into cobelligerence“. In other words, France must not be considered an enemy of Russia or at war with it, any more than other European countries and other NATO member states.

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