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European Union Geopolitical Watch – From February 5, 2022 to February 11, 2022

05/02/2022 : French President Emmanuel Macron as mediator in the Ukrainian crisis

Against the backdrop of the Ukrainian crisis, Emmanuel Macron, on February 5, pursued his consultations with his Ukrainian and British counterparts, as well as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Wishing to fully assume his role as mediator, the President of the French Republic, during his meeting with Jens Stoltenberg, supported “the need to find a path of de-escalation through dialogue, in full respect of the fundamental principles of European security. On the other hand, a meeting with the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, allowed them to exchange views on the policy to be pursued on the Ukrainian border, including a reinforcement of Alliance troops on its eastern borders, as well as the outcome of consultations with their partners.

Afterwards, President Emmanuel Macron will visit his German and Polish counterparts before being expected in the Kremlin on February 7.

06/02/2022 : Switzerland wants to strengthen its relations with the European Union

Swiss President Ignazio Cassis wants to improve ties with the European Union by seeking a new package of bilateral agreements after a plan for a stronger partnership with the European single market failed last May.

He said the Swiss government was now working on new discussions with the European Union, mentioning electricity and energy as possible subjects for agreements, adding that “there are many possibilities for deepening relations with the EU, for example in the field of health, research, media or culture.

Noting the particularity of a tripolar world composed of the United States, the China-Russia duo and the European Union, he believes that “the pressure on Switzerland to cultivate deeper relations with Europe will grow. Because the EU is the closest to us economically, ideologically and socially.”

07/02/2022 : European Union provides aid to those impacted by Cyclone Batsirai in Madagascar

On February 7, the European Commission decided to provide emergency aid to the population of Madagascar after Cyclone Batsirai hit the island on February 5, 2022.

The emergency aid consists, firstly, of the arrival of a team of five EU civil protection experts and a liaison officer from the Commission. The team of experts will be responsible for assessing the scale and severity of the immediate needs as well as the main operational challenges in order to guide the European Union’s response.

Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, expressed his gratitude “to all the EU Member States that have offered their support. Our thoughts are with all those affected and the brave first responders on the ground who are risking their lives to reach those in need. We stand ready to provide further assistance.

It is important to remember that the European Union is the world’s largest provider of humanitarian aid.

08/02/2022 : The European Union seeks to negotiate with China before the initiation of the WTO procedure concerning the dispute between it and Lithuania

The European Union announced on February 8 that it is expected to begin talks in the coming weeks with China over alleged violations of global trade rules in a dispute with Lithuania, as the Union takes the first steps in a World Trade Organization (WTO) case.

Beijing has accepted Brussels’ request for consultations and talks are expected to begin within 30 days of its acceptance. “Consultations will take place and the European Union is preparing for them,” said an EU spokesman.

The EU took the case to the WTO last month, claiming to have gathered evidence of numerous trade violations by China against Lithuania, an EU member state, following Lithuania’s establishment of a “Taiwan representative office” in Vilnius. Lithuanian companies were then excluded from the Chinese market.

09/02/2022 : The European Union seeks to strengthen its digital sovereignty

As part of the digital transformation sought by the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the conference “Building Europe’s Digital Sovereignty” has been held. It is about ensuring the role of the European Union as a power of innovation by attracting foreign investors and talent, as well as ensuring the role of the EU as a power of openness by promoting free, open and shared digital standards, according to a conference report.

Among the big digital pushes, the EU wants is the “Scale-up Europe” initiative, launched in March 2021 in partnership with the European Commission, to create 10 European tech companies each valued at more than €100 billion by 2030, in particular to compete with U.S. GAFAM. This would be done with the support of the European Innovation Council (EIC) with a budget of more than 10 billion euros.

The conference comes at a time when Meta is threatening to shut down its social media platforms Facebook and Instagram in Europe due to strict data privacy rules. “The digital giants must understand that the European continent will resist and assert its sovereignty,” believes French Minister of Economy, Finance and Recovery Bruno Le Maire.

10/02/2022 : The European Union promises more than 150 billion euros of investment in Africa

On February 10, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, announced the Union’s willingness to invest more than €150 billion in Africa in the coming years as part of the Global Gateway initiative, launched in December 2021, to mobilize up to €300 billion of public and private funds by 2027 in infrastructure projects around the world.

This European initiative aims to bring together the resources of the Union, the Member States, the various European and national financial and development institutions, as well as the private sector in infrastructure projects in various fields such as education, industry, health, as well as in environmental protection.

11/02/2022 : At the “One Ocean” summit, the European Commission presents its ambitions

On January 11, the European Commission presented a series of initiatives at the “One Ocean” summit organized by France, in Brest, with the objective of a cleaner, safer, and healthier ocean.

This initiative aims to place the Union as a leader in the conservation of the world’s marine resources vulnerable to the threats of pollution, overexploitation, and the effects of climate change. Among the initiatives put forward by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are zero tolerance for illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which threatens global fish stocks, as well as reducing plastic pollution and accelerating the move towards a circular economy. Another goal would be to achieve carbon neutrality in shipping. It is through the FuelEU Maritime proposal introducing a standard on fuels and the establishment of adequate energy infrastructure in ports that the Union would like to achieve this goal.

Finally, the European Union is seeking to place research and technology at the heart of ocean preservation, providing numerous resources to achieve the objectives promoted during this summit.

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