The month of March in European Union in a nutshell…

European Union Geopolitical Watch Team: Yuliana Glazunova, Audrey MoisanEmma ChlebowskiMarie Corcelle, Gaëtan Giuliani, Yanis Kourrad, Tristan Jarraud, Florent Guichard, Antoine Bézier, Etienne Mathieu

The files we follow: NATO/EU relations and neutral and ex-neutral countries; Energy policies and energy dependencies of the EU and Member States; EU/UK/Ireland relations; Environmental policies and issues of the EU and Member States; EU/China trade policies; Franco-German axis and intra-European relations with frugal countries, Germany/Eastern Europe relations, Nordic countries; Poland/Hungary/Romania foreign policies and relations with the EU; Various EU and Member States.

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The month of March was marked by the efforts of Sweden and Finland to obtain membership in NATO. Finland was able to obtain the agreement of Hungary and Turkey, the only two members of the Alliance for whom this dual candidacy presents difficulties. Sweden, on the other hand, is still blocked by the vetoes of these two states. Turkey justifies its veto by Sweden’s tolerance of blasphemy against Islam, and in particular its refusal to penalize the auto-da-fé of the Koran that took place in January 2023 in Stockholm. As for Hungary, it gives no official justification and is content to postpone its decision indefinitely, while pointing to disagreements with Sweden, which has been criticizing human rights violations under Viktor Orban’s government for years. Sweden fears that its membership in NATO will be used as a bargaining chip in the disputes between Budapest and Brussels. Finally, NATO is strengthening its ties with Switzerland, although membership in the Alliance is not on the agenda. However, the Swiss Confederation’s relations with NATO are marred by Berne’s restrictions on arms exports: Switzerland only agrees to sell arms to countries that undertake not to re-export them to Ukraine, as a matter of neutrality.

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