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The Mediterranean Migration Crisis: How Will the EU Respond?

In 2014, over 3,000 people have died in the Mediterranean Sea, according to the International Organisation for Migration. Violence in Syria, Eritrea and Libya has contributed to the rise in migrants attempting to reach Europe’s borders from Africa and the Middle East. Many people turn to illegal smugglers who often …

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Haunted by ethnic war – Bosnia’s long road to development

In post-conflict Bosnia (1995-today) the efficient implementation of the Dayton Accords have produced a lasting peace and several elections for parliament. Although this can, and should, be regarded as a major achievement, the real issues in Bosnia have yet to be dealt with. Ethnic divisions are still haunting this nation …

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We Shouldn’t Use The F-Word, Should We?

With Russia’s activities in Ukraine and the Baltic region, Finland has recently found itself in a very sensitive geopolitical and economic position. This position is one that they are not entirely unfamiliar with; during the Cold War Finland had to navigate on tricky political waters. In order to keep a …

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Mos Maiorum: A hunt for the undocumented

Between the 13th and 26th of October 2014, a hunt for illegal immigrants took place in several countries in the European Union. The operation was initiated by the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in cooperation with the European border authority Frontex. All the EU countries were …

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The High Representative of Everything and Nothing, The Art of Moving Mountains

On August 30th, the Italian Foreign Minister and Commission candidate, Mrs. Frederica Mogherini, was appointed High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (commonly known as simply the High Representative). Taking office on November 1st, Mrs. Mogherini faces tremendous challenges ahead. With little foreign policy experience, will …

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Europe’s Military, Stronger Together?

Parliament welcomes Croatia to the EU with a special flag ceremony at the entrance of the EP in Strasbourg. Source: European Parliament, Flickr.With the crisis in Ukraine and the growing antagonism between Russia and the west, security and defence is an increasing concern for many in the European Union. The EU was created as a peace project after the two devastating World Wars. In this mission it has been remarkably successful, so successful that the 2012 Nobel Peace prize was awarded to the EU precisely for its success in creating peace within Europe. But as it did during the years of the Balkan war, the shadows of war seems to once again loom close to our borders; the situation in Ukraine has reminded Europe that peace must not be taken for granted. While national defense forces and NATO are still the cornerstones of Europe’s security, the EU is starting to play an increasingly important role when it comes to military matters. The EU has an extensive military cooperation, with its own standing armies. In the face of conflict, how will the EU as a joint security and peace project develop in the future? Your vote decides on the 25th May 2014. 

By Lotta Herz

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Sanctions: An efficient diplomatic tool?

"Keep Sanctions Against South Africa", at a march in the UK in 1990. Source: Craig Bellamy, FlickrOn the 29th of April 2014 the BBC reported Russia’s condemnations of the ‘Iron Curtain’ style sanctions being imposed on them due to their recent actions in Ukraine. Since late November last year there have been ongoing changes in Ukraine, with mass protests organised to oppose President Yanukovych and his government. On the 1st of March 2014 the Russian Parliament approved President Putin’s request to use force in Ukraine in order to protect the rights of Russian people living there, and to protect Russia’s interests. Both the United States and the EU have begun imposing sanctions in the form of travel bans and asset freezes from March 17th. Throughout this crisis there appears to have been firm opposition from both the US and the EU to using military force to protect Ukraine’s borders, and therefore sanctions have played a vital role in the West’s response to this crisis. Sanctions have become a popular method in diplomatic relations; but have these measures really had the desired effect? Can sanctions be appropriately targeted in order to impact the higher echelons of a society, while not crippling the domestic economy so that ordinary citizens do not suffer indirectly?

By Kate O Donnell

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Asylum-Seeking Pirates: What is the EU to do?

Pirates captured in the Gulf of Aden in 2009 by the U.S. Coast Guard. Source: Wikimedia CommonsEveryday, the men and women of the European Union Naval Force do what they can to protect shipping from the threat of pirates around the Horn of Africa. Over the last five years the EU Naval Force has captured and detained countless Somali pirates. But to what end?

By Kristoffer Johansson

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Hitting Hard or Staying Soft: Democracy Promotion as a Norm

EU and US bot have promoting democracy as a main goal, but their means to do so differ. Picture by: Rock Cohen, FlickrPromoting democracy is a main goal in the foreign policy of the EU and US. Studies show that democracy promotes both economic and social benefits and that it lowers the tendency to go to war. This is well agreed upon in the EU and US. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) even takes it into their definition of poverty, claiming "poverty is not just about a lack of food, water or a roof over your head. Being poor also implies suffering from a lack of power and choice." But are the views on how to promote democracy generally agreed upon? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. While the US democracy promotion has shown more hard power, also called non-normative, characteristics, the EU prefers soft power, or normative, actions.

by Riccard Andersson

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Football: more than just a game?

Ultra graffiti. by Aslan Media, FlickrWatching 11 people chasing a ball for 90 minutes might not seem like something of great political importance, but if you thought football was just fun and games then think again! Football fans are a political force to be reckoned with. They have been at the frontline of the revolutions during the Arab spring, as well as standing at the barricades in both Turkey and Ukraine.

by Lotta Herz

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