The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation organised a conference on European Security in Moscow (MESC 2013) in the third week of May. Drawn from academia and government, the approximately 300 participants came both from Russia and other former Soviet republics as well as NATO and EU member states. The aim of the conference was to present the official Russian view on three topics: missile defence, NATO enlargement, and arms control. Although MESC 2013 was well-organised and achieved its instructive objective, it did not fully provide the opportunities for an open discussion such as the participants may had expected.
The German government has decided to pull a plug on the so-called “Euro Hawk” project – development of the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, based on the US-made RQ-4 “Global Hawk” system. The justification for that was that the project stood little chance of satisfying a critical requirement – a certified ability of the unmanned aerial vehicle to safely fly in non-segregated (managed) airspace, sharing it with piloted aircraft – at a reasonable cost and within reasonable time frame. Having sunk in almost 0.5 billion euros into the project and anticipating further delays and financial outlays beyond the original plan, the German government decided that, in the words of the defence minister, “the end in horror was better than horror without an end.”
Last week the Finnish Parliament debated the 2012 Defence White Book. It was to be a formal, well-choreographed discussion, with the Kokoomus-led six-party majority government already firmly lined up behind the text. But then something happened: a question was raised as to whether or not Finland could still be called a militarily non-aligned country.
According to one definition, defacement is a type of vandalism that involves damaging the appearance or surface of something. The object of damage may be architecture, books, paintings, sculpture or other forms of art. It may also be a nation.
History is repeating itself! The Germans are marching once again in their zealous campaign to gain dominion over Europe. Those that would think the Germans simple enough to repeat the mistakes made seventy years ago – when they last sallied forth in order to subjugate Europe – couldn’t be more wrong. This enemy, devious and full of low cunning, has devised a convoluted strategy of such brilliance that it is beyond the comprehension of mortal men to unravel. Nonetheless, I will herein try to bring the details of this devilish scheme to the light of day.
In mid-February, the Estonian Ministry of Defence (MoD) rolled out its defence industrial policy for 2013-2022 – a document outlining the ends, means and ways of building a defence industrial base in Estonia. The document responded to the expectations of a number of enterprises seeking to develop products and services for the armed forces and for security organisations such as the police and the border guard. Commendably, and very much in the spirit of ’broad-based defence’ and comprehensive security, the strategy includes the Estonian Ministry of the Interior and its agencies as important stakeholders.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently said that Turkey has begun considering alternatives to joining the EU. One of the alternatives might be joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Current membership of the SCO consists of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. There are also observers such as India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia. None of the SCO’s full members can be considered democratic by Western standards.
For the last five years, January has been the month when European politicians, policy experts, entrepreneurs and scientists congregate in Brussels to discuss outer space matters. Annual European Space Conference under the patronage of the three presidents (EU Commission‘s, Council‘s and Parliament‘s) has become a highlight event for the European space sector as well as a grand networking opportunity for everyone involved. Wherever one sits in the “value chain” — in the upstream of creating new technologies for space exploration and exploitation, or in the downstream of creating and using new applications, or in the pervasive current of policymaking and execution — this is the time and place to be and mingle. As Estonia is about to become a space nation, by virtue of putting the ESTCube-1 (nano)satellite into low orbit in a short while (not to mention having recently become a full member of the European Interparliamentary Space Conference and, a few years ago, a cooperating state with the European Space Agency), this is not the forum to be missed for its policy and business folk.
Having sketched out the security challenges facing Germany and the upcoming decisions that have to be made by the new administration in Part I of this analysis, I will now set out to discuss how Germany’s policy stance will develop under the new leadership.