Europe faces its challenges: Diplomacy, commitment and tensions

The Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union met yesterday in a tumultuous international context. The war in Ukraine, the death of Alexeï Navalny, the crises in the Middle East and the Sahel, and the candidacy of Ursula von der Leyen to head the European Commission were at the heart of the discussions.

The death of Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny cast a shadow over the meeting. Josep Borrell, head of European diplomacy, demanded that Vladimir Putin “be held accountable”. Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny’s widow, met with ministers and accused Putin of being responsible for her husband’s death. This meeting symbolizes Europe’s support for the protests in Russia. New sanctions against Russia, called the “Navalny regime”, are planned for February 24, the anniversary of the Ukrainian invasion.

In the Red Sea, the naval military operation Aspides was launched to protect maritime traffic. Germany and other countries will participate in this mission. The situation in Gaza also worries Europe, which fears a famine. Sigrid Kaag, UN coordinator for Gaza, called for international help.

In the Sahel, the fight against terrorism and the deterioration of security were on the menu of discussions. France has called not to forget the war in Sudan and will organize an international conference to raise funds in April.

The German conservative camp supports the candidacy of Ursula von der Leyen for a new mandate at the head of the European Commission. The CDU and CSU will nominate her as head of the right-wing list in the European elections. Germany is also proposing the creation of a post of European Defense Commissioner.

However, the FDP, coalition partner, is more reserved on Von der Leyen’s economic management. The president of the centrist group in the European Parliament warns against “the temptation of a shift to the populist right”.

The Foreign Affairs Council meeting highlighted the many challenges facing Europe. The war in Ukraine, the health crisis, migratory tensions and the rise of populism threaten the stability of the continent. Unity and solidarity will be essential to meet these challenges.

In conclusion, this meeting was an opportunity for European ministers to reaffirm their commitment on several crucial fronts. Diplomacy, engagement and solidarity will be the keys to navigating an increasingly complex and uncertain world.

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