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

European Union Geopolitical Watch Team: Audrey Moisan, Florent Guichard, Antoine Bézier, Etienne Mathieu

11/06/2022: UN Third Committee votes on the glorification of Nazism. -Audrey Moisan-

On 4 November, the 45th session of the 77th General Assembly of the United Nations (UN press service) was held, during which Nazism was one of the central topics. Indeed, today the Third Committee discussed its resolutions. This commission aims to take decisions on social, cultural and humanitarian aspects. On 4 November, it presented eight texts to the Assembly. While the first seven were adopted by consensus, the last one was put to a vote.

This last text, on “combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance“, was debated because of two points. One was the fact that the resolution has been tabled every year since 2012 by Russia, at war with Ukraine, on the basis of these justifications (Le Monde). The other was an amendment proposed by Australia specifically targeting the Russian Federation by refuting its justification for the invasion of Ukraine, which was adopted.

The resolution was adopted with 105 votes in favor, 52 against and 15 abstentions. Most of the countries justifying their negative opinion on the proposal argue that it was a political instrumentalization of a UN resolution, and not because of any allegiance to the Third Reich (Le Monde, Geo, US Mission to the UN). This position is notably supported by the European Union, represented by the Czech Republic (European Union Delegation to the UN). As for Russia, it denounces the Australian amendment as “[politicizing] the subject“.

It should also be noted that these resolutions are declarative and therefore have no binding value.

11/04/2022: Jens Stoltenberg NATO Secretary General meets Turkish President in Istanbul. -Guichard Florent-

In a context of strong tensions with Russia following the war in Ukraine and the strengthening of the North Atlantic Treaty alliance, Jens Stoltenberg traveled to Turkey on Friday 04 November.

According to the official media of the North Atlantic Organization, this visit had several objectives. The first was to take stock of the Ukrainian situation. In this context, Jens Stoltenberg once again underlined the importance of Turkey’s role in this conflict through its strategic position regarding access to the Black Sea but also its proximity to Russia.

There was also talk of tackling the subject of strengthening the alliance through the accession of Finland and Sweden, to which Turkey remains one of the last obstacles due to its unstable position. Indeed, after fierce opposition on the subject in mid-May and then a historic lifting of the Turkish veto on June 28 in Madrid, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is once again threatening the two candidate countries with a veto.

The French newspaper Le Monde informed us that following the visit of the Swedish Prime Minister to Turkey last Tuesday, Ankara through the voice of the President of its National Assembly Mustafa Sentop recalled that the Swedes “have concrete measures to take” so that Turkey no longer opposes this accession. As a reminder, the sine qua non condition for the lifting of the Turkish veto was that these two countries no longer protect the Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), two movements considered as terrorists by the former Ottoman Empire.

11/04/2022 : Romania: Chechen woman Amina Gerikhanova granted asylum after eight months in detention. -Antoine Bézier-

On 4th November, Chechen woman Amina Gerikhanova was informed that her application for asylum has been accepted by the Romanian authorities after eight months in detention. She had been suffering political persecution in Chechnya since her husband went to fight in Syria (OC Media), and so fled to Ukraine with her young son in 2016. The Russian authorities accused her of having participated in military operations in Syria as a member of the Islamic State between 2016 and 2018 (although she was reportedly residing in Ukraine during this period), and requested her extradition, which Ukraine refused (Amnesty International).

After fleeing Ukraine to Romania on 13th March 2022 (following the Russian invasion on 24th February), she was arrested by Romanian police on the basis of a Russian warrant issued by Interpol in 2018, and her eight-year-old son was temporarily placed in an orphanage (OC Media). As noted in Amnesty International’s report, the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation sent Romania a formal extradition request on 5th April, and a Romanian court allowed Amina Gerikhanova’s extradition to Russia on 18th April, but made it conditional on the appeal decision. The same report argues that the Chechen woman could be ill-treated if returned to Russia.

As this tweet from Vayfond (the Chechen Human Rights Association) dated 9th May 2022 shows, the European Court of Human Rights suspended the extradition of the Chechen woman held in Suceava prison until 15th July 2022, under Rule 39 of its Rules of Procedure. This was followed by an almost six-month long struggle during which the Chechen community organised several demonstrations across Europe (OC Media). On 28th October 2022, as reported on Vayfond’s Telegram channel, Amnesty International organised a demonstration outside the Romanian embassy in Vienna, and Amina Gerikhanova was informed that her asylum application had been accepted five days later.

Elsewhere in Europe Chechens are being detained and, as reported by the media outlet Kavkazr, more than 50 Chechens are being held in the Zagreb detention centre in Croatia and are being investigated for extremism. They are reported to have fled the partial mobilisation in Russia, and are reportedly victims of illegal detention and physical and verbal violence, according to the Assembly of Chechens in Europe (OC media).

11/06/2022: Start of the COP27. -Etienne Mathieu-

The Sharm el-Sheikh Conference on Climate Change, known as COP27, began on November 6 and will last until November 18. Representatives of states, local authorities, companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all over the world are gathered in Egypt; as reported by the French newspaper Le Monde, the total number of participants exceeds 30,000 people, like the previous edition in Glasgow. The French newspaper also notes that representatives of fossil fuel lobbies (coal, gas, oil) are 25% more numerous in Sharm el-Sheikh than they were at the previous edition. Indeed, 636 lobbyists represent more than any national delegation, with the exception of the delegation of the United Arab Emirates, the country presiding over the COP, whose delegation exceeds a thousand participants.

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke out on November 7, assuring that France would be “up to its commitments.” As Libération points out, the French president is strong in his title of “Champion of the Earth” awarded in 2018 by the United Nations Environment Program; but he must convince of the good faith of France, already condemned twice for climate inaction.

In his speech, Emmanuel Macron highlighted the “Great Green Wall” project launched in 2007 by the African Union, as highlighted by France Info. This green wall consists of a barrier of trees planted on the edge of the desert, to slow down the advance of the latter; the project covers 8000 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide, across eleven African countries, from Senegal to Djibouti. The French president wants the Great Green Wall to be “accelerated“, particularly in terms of financing, the objective being to raise 19 billion euros in funding, compared with one billion so far. Between 2011 and 2017, only 4% of the 100 million hectares targeted have been effectively restored; the total needs of the project are estimated at 43 billion euros.

Joe Biden spoke on November 11. The head of state of the world’s leading power – and one of the world’s most polluting countries – affirmed that the United States will respect its objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52% by 2030. The U.S. president emphasized the importance of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which the U.S. withdrew from under Donald Trump’s tenure, and has rejoined under the Biden Administration.

Joe Biden also raised the issue of financial assistance from the most developed – and polluting – countries to developing countries, which face the difficult dilemma between economic and social development & environmental protection. If the United States refuses the idea of offsets, the question of justice between countries that are more or less polluting & more or less exposed to the effects of climate change is now on the agenda of the COP.

The subject is hot for many countries, for example on the African continent, as noted by Le Journal du Dimanche. The President of Senegal, Macky Sall, who is also President of the African Union, calls for “respecting the polluter pays principle, in solidarity“.

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