The Brussels Brief

And the Brussels Brief returns to you!

Brussels diplomats have had an earlier return to their daily working schedules this year as news from Afghanistan is being digested. Diplomats and politicians alike are busy trying to come up with some sort of strategy on Afghanistan. The speed at which the Taliban have taken over Afghanistan left the world stunned. Now the tough work begins.

An EU Military?

One of the most important issues that was raised this week at an EU level was whether the EU should have its own army. Speaking at a press conference following an informal meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers, Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, suggested that the EU should have its own army. This would give the EU greater autonomy and would make the bloc less dependent on the US

Should the US be trusted?

Another question being put forward rather subtly within diplomatic circles is whether the US. should be fully trusted by its allies. Having spent billions of dollars, and with so many lives lost, the Afghanistan debacle is another page taken from the history books of past events, such as the Vietnam War and the US former ally in the Middle East, the former Shah of Iran, which the US abandoned in 1979, a situation we are still dealing with after more than three decades.

How should the EU deal with the Taliban?

The EU’s foreign policy arm had prepared an options paper which is being kept under wraps for its sensitivity. However, the two largest EU Members, Germany and France prepared their own non-paper for discussion by EU Foreign Affairs Ministers. Options are being explored as to which leverage could be used in convincing the Taliban to respect the rule of law and women’s rights.

Turning the tables

Exit polls in Germany are showing the Opposition candidate Olaf Scholz leading the polls albeit by a small margin. This was quite a surprise especially since the conservative candidate Armin Laschet, has the support of the Angela Merkel, the current chancellor.  Indeed, Armin Laschet unveiled a new team to shore up his campaign. A win for the Social Democrats, after having been in opposition since 2005, might also change the power dynamics in the EU.

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