Archive for the ‘EU Observer’ Category

LONDON, 19. MAY, 11:56

Chinese leader Xi Jinping trumpeted his foreign policy vision – the Belt and Road – to great fanfare this past week.

Yet a consistently discordant note was heard from European reporting around the event, with officials talking to press about their lack of understanding of the project. While some of their concerns were understandable, there was an element of missing the point.

  • The symbolic first arrival of a Chinese train in Germany (Photo: DB Schenker)

Xi Jinping may talk in terms of a project, but in reality what we are seeing laid out is a grand vision: one that Beijing is using to re-shape its engagement with the world.

For Europe, it is important to figure out exactly what this means. Otherwise, it could both miss out on an opportunity, and create a series of potential problems with a relationship that will continue to be important going forwards.

First, it is important to dispel what the Belt and Road is not. It is not a giant aid project. Nor has China particularly ever pretended that it was.

Leadership will get caught up in grandiloquent language about how the project is a great gift to humanity. However, in reality, it is a vision of re-connecting the world in a manner that will support Chinese trade flows and help Chinese companies go out into the world.

At its core, it is about helping to develop China’s underdeveloped regions – parts of the country that are deeply disconnected from its bustling ports.

Second, it is important to understand what is actually happening. Not all of the strands of the Belt and Road are new, nor are they all the same.

What has been happening in Central Asia for almost two decades, re-branded as Belt and Road, is not the same or as important domestically to China as newly advanced projects in parts of Africa or Eastern Europe.

At the same time, some corridors seem to be advancing far more slowly: the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM) is one that has been talked about since the late 1990s, but has only now actually moved into clear action across its entire route.

The point is, while the Belt and Road is discussed by Beijing in the same light, the reality on the ground is very different in each and every case.

Third, it is a vision with a long timeline. China is thinking to a very long horizon. In typical fashion for a centrally planned economy, it is considering things into the future and not the short- to medium-term eye-line with which most Western governments operate.

So, when the country looks to build train links across the continent that make little economic sense now, it could be that the lens we are looking at them through is too short.

Once China is able to develop its western regions and create industrial and manufacturing bases out there, it might suddenly become more economically sensible to put goods on trains across the continent.

Fourth, not everything is expected to work – this is a leadership vision and not a project.

The Belt and Road was first christened by Xi during a set of speeches in Astana and Jakarta. Laid out then, they were outlined as a pair of concepts that would slowly catch on and become the defining foreign policy concept that Xi Jinping would offer the world.

Conceptual Nature

The illogical nature of a Belt being over land, while a Road went to sea highlighted the conceptual nature of what was being laid out. In fact, the seeds of the concept could already be found in previous administrations – Jiang Zemin had his “Develop the West” concept, and Hu Jintao’s administration was the one that started up the idea of refocusing on Xinjiang and developing its relations with its neighbours.

Both of these served as ideological godfathers to the Belt and Road, which in essence took this model and internationalised it.

But the point is that none of these were specific projects. They were rather broad policy directives that were launched out of Beijing which were then followed up and pushed out by the many institutions in China, to varying degrees of success.

The BCIM was born under Jiang Zemin and went nowhere, and while the Hu Jintao initiative with Xinjiang and Central Asia was more successful, there are a few projects along the route that have failed to deliver as they were intended.

None of this is that surprising, as, ultimately, the leadership’s announcements should be assessed as a central policy direction rather than detailed plans.

Initially, when the speeches were delivered, there was no specific policy planning behind them.

Now that the concepts have firmly caught on, almost everything has become Belt and Road – in part this is because the concept is so broad (so everything fits under it), but also it is a way for everything to try to connect with the bright vision laid out by the leadership.

This includes ideas and projects that have a very limited connection to the actual Belt and Road – there is an almost inexhaustible list of Chinese regions that have defined themselves as the crucial points on the Belt and Road.

Within this, not everything is going to work (because it never does). But this is not a concern, as ultimately what has been offered is a concept rather than a project, meaning that it will not ultimately fail, as no specific parameter for success has been laid out.

EU Engagement

All of this is essential for European policymakers and thinkers to understand.

If they are to properly engage with the vision, they need to first understand it in granular detail – something that is eminently doable through the numerous reports that have been published, or by undertaking research themselves.

They then need to appreciate what the vision actually is and the timelines to which it is operating, and then finally focus on which aspects do correspond with their specific interests.

China’s biggest problem with this vision is that it requires considerable support, consent and contributions from the countries along and at the end of the routes, and those that are more likely to succeed are those with supportive partners.

Consequently, Europe can choose which aspects it wants to engage with and simply ignore the others. This will not necessarily stop them from happening, but they are not realities Europe has to engage with if it does not want to.

The key in all of this is for Europe to decide exactly what its strategy towards China is going to be, and what it is that it wants to do to engage with this century’s rising power. In the Belt and Road they are facing Xi Jinping’s foreign policy legacy.

Given that the conceptual outline is focused on the Eurasian continent, Europe has an opportunity to re-craft its relations with China in a way that connects with the leadership and potentially has a game-changing impact across the continent the two powers share.

It is not enough for European officials to simply tell the press they do not understand the Belt and Road – the vision is clear enough, but the point is to decide how to engage with it.

Raffaello Pantucci is director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute,a think tank in London

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And another piece on a previously written theme, this time looking at EU-China cooperation on security questions in particular counter-terrorism. For a semi-regular outlet that people in Brussels read called the EU Observer. More on this theme to come.

Can the EU and China work together on violent extremism?

10 year old Chinese cop

Chinese police. Countering terrorism and violent extremism is a growing priority for policymakers in Europe and Asia (Photo: Michael Mooney)

By Raffaello Pantucci
London, 1. Mar, 09:13

Sat in Brussels or Beijing, the threat of violent extremists is atop most policymakers’ considerations.

The definition of what constitutes a terrorist or violent extremist is something that is complicated by local considerations and concerns, but there is a growing policy question around whether there is any way for China and the EU to cooperate on such matters.

Whilst there are clearly issues in cooperating with China on some aspects, there are some practical measures that the EU and China could explore together to counter the threat from violent extremists.

At an ideological level there is a difficulty in the EU and China countering violent extremism globally together.

First, the reasons for violent extremism are different the world over. Domestically, the Chinese official view is very much that extremism and radicalisation are the product of external ideologies that have entered China and are causing problems.

Sat in Europe, the view is often rather that domestic problems are leading to disenfranchisement that is leaving people prone to exploring radical ideologies. The external ideology is in some ways secondary to the local “root causes” in dealing with the response.

This difference in analysis complicates the possibilities of cooperation, something that is rendered even more difficult when one considers the broad range of people and groups that China captures under the banner of terrorist: any anti-state group, from terrorist networks to dissident communities.

From a European perspective, people who are fighting for the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) are clearly terrorists while the World Uyghur Congress are dissidents. They do not immediately come under the same banner.

Nevertheless, notwithstanding external commentary, the discussion around these questions in Beijing is in fact a fairly sophisticated one, with some advocating for a more nuanced response than others.

Clearly, terrorists bent on murdering other citizens need to be stopped and finding ways of preventing them is something that preoccupies policymakers in European capitals and Beijing alike. Some European capitals have made greater progress in this struggle than others, and learning from these mistakes and approaches is something that others in Europe and China will benefit from.

These lessons are not all equally transferable, but some principles around community policing, community outreach, religious and minority tolerance and less kinetic approaches to counter-terrorism might help alleviate problems on both continents.

But while there are difficulties in cooperating at home, globally speaking there are a number of aspects to counter terrorism and violent extremism that could be worked on collaboratively.

For example, looking at parts of the world where there are problems of violent extremism, there is in some cases a correlation between underdevelopment and some of the root causes driving people towards terrorist groups.

Both the EU and China are probably already active in these countries, but coordinating efforts to address issues like education, employment, local development and so on might help mitigate some of the local root causes.

Looking at a more practical level, considering how to evacuate nationals from unstable locations threatened by terrorist groups in cooperative ways is a way the EU and China might start to plan together.

Such contingencies have already taken place – for example in Yemen – and Chinese ships have helped evacuate European nationals. Planning ahead might be a way to build trust and establish mechanisms that would be useful during the next inevitable crisis.

There is further possible cooperation that could be undertaken in terms of countering terror financing, the disruption of smuggling networks getting fighters or weapons to and from battlefields, and the sharing of threat information in third locations where both have nationals.

The problem with all of this is the practicalities of sharing intelligence – something that is complicated between close allies in Europe, let alone between the EU and China.

Intelligence sharing works best when driven by necessity: it is probably going to take a specific case to take place that threatens both Chinese and European nationals for the pathways and structures to start to be developed to foster such cooperation.

But keeping attuned to the possibility of such opportunities is something that policymakers and security officials on both sides should keep alert to as a way to engender greater practical cooperation on a threat that has killed both European and Chinese nationals.

Countering terrorism and violent extremism is a growing priority issues for policymakers in Europe and Asia. Be this in distant third locations or allies’ territories, the menace of terrorism is one that knows no pity or borders.

Understanding how the EU and China can cooperate on countering this problem whilst bearing in mind differences is key to dealing with a problem that menaces nationals from both countries in an increasingly equal manner.

Raffaello Pantucci is director of international security studies at Rusi, a London-based think tank.

I am travelling and working on various projects which is impeding my productivity and ability to post. A few pieces to come this next week hopefully though. This one is an op-ed for the EU Observer, somewhere I used to write more frequently for but I like to hope gives me an hearing in Brussels. At its base, the idea of the piece is to try to raise awareness of China’s Silk Road Economic Belt in Brussels where so far it has not quite taken off. A Chinese friend pointed out it was translated into Mandarin, while I also see that the Russian press has picked it up. Not sure what I should read into that. More on this topic undoubtedly to come.

Europe: The other end of China’s Silk Road

I'm preparing for my trip to China and when I bought the currently I was a little surprised to see that Mao is still on the Yuan notes.  Hmm. I took some detail shots of the money as well - I always enjoy seeing the currency of different countries.  This shot was taken with my 100mm Macro f/2.8 IS.  Flash fired remotely with a poverty wizard to add sidelight to enhance the texture of the paper.

China is coming closer to European markets (Photo: dolmansaxlil)

LONDON, 18. MAY, 09:24

All of the attention around Xi Jinping’s recent European trip was focused around his visit to Moscow in time for the May Day military parade.

By focusing so singly on the Moscow stop, however, the importance of the route he took was missed.

Coming soon after the President’s visit to Pakistan in which he laid out the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), this trip affirms one of the key routes of the Silk Road Economic Belt – running through Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus to ultimately end in Europe.

This final link is the key which Europe needs to wake up to, to understand that this Chinese outward push is one that is both a reality and one that can advance European interests.

The Silk Road Economic Belt route of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative advanced by Xi is going to become the cornerstone foreign policy of the current Chinese administration. Enmeshed in the idea of returning China to its place at the center of global power, the initiative has led to the fanning out of a number of economic and trade corridors from Beijing.

The precursor to all of the ones currently talked about (a latticework of routes stretching out from China’s ports around the world through the Maritime Silk Road, through Pakistan in the CPEC, through Bangladesh-Myanmar and to India in the BCIM) was the route through Central Asia.

Initiated as part of a strategy to develop China’s western regions, the idea was to help reconnect Xinjiang to Central Asia, and ultimately through the region to European markets. For Beijing, Europe is the other end of the Silk Road Economic Belt.

In trying to implement its strategy, China has made a very conscious effort to reach out to Europe, in terms of official statements and an eagerness to try to find ways of working together on making this strategy work.

At this point it has gone beyond rhetoric. As well as pouring massive amounts of money in helping infrastructure across the former Soviet space, they have also looked at undertaking large investment projects in Belarus, Ukraine and other countries on Europe’s south-eastern periphery.

Closer to Europe

An economic force is sweeping along the Silk Road bringing China ever closer to European markets.

To some this will be seen as a threat. Chinese goods getting a quicker route to European markets will only place more pressure on already threatened European industries.

But this is a dynamic that is going to happen anyway and is already underway. Far better to try to focus on the other side of the equation and the potential opportunities.

Not only in terms of high end luxury and technical goods which Europe continues to manufacture which are so keenly desired by the ever-growing middle class Chinese consumer market which can travel back along this route, but also in terms of the development it will bring along the way to countries that Europe has long sought to help along the path of economic development.

This is something that is particularly true in Central Asia.

Europe has long seen Central Asia as a region it has been trying to support. The current Latvian Presidency has made the region a particular priority. As well as the potential economic opportunities (that Central Asians welcome), the region is one that has fraught internal dynamics.

European entities like the EU and OSCE are amongst the only ones that have been able to help bridge some of these divides – providing a set of lessons and experiences that China is simply unable to replicate, but is keen to learn from.

On the economic side of the equation, Chinese firms have been pushing into Central Asia and encountering all sorts of difficulties be it in terms of local governance or security issues.

This is a space that European companies and international institutions like the EBRD have long worked in and have developed a number of strategies for dealing with these very particular regional problems.

There is an opportunity here.

Building missing links

For Europe, China offers the opportunity to magnify effect – Europe’s economic and political force is substantial, but when bolstered by Chinese capacity and means, becomes an even more substantial force.

As well as the $40 billion Silk Road fund, there is the nascent Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the slowly developing BRICS Bank, and the sometimes talked of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Development Bank.

And China has continued to sign massive bilateral deals in countries along the route, with a particular focus in Central Asia. Admittedly some of this money is hyperbole around official high level visits, but go on the ground across the region and it is impossible to deny the presence of the Chinese funding – tangible as it is in roads, pipelines, railway projects, energy infrastructure and construction across the region.

There is also a larger political point to be made here about China’s relationship with the European Union.

The EU has long sought to find ways to engage with China in a productive manner – Central Asia and the larger Silk Road Economic Belt offers an opportunity to work with China on something that is of direct interest to Europe, but also is clearly a strong strategic priority from the very top of Xi Jinping’s administration.

For Beijing, Europe is the other end of the Silk Road – Europe needs to seize this opportunity to help advance its own interests.

Raffaello Pantucci is director of international security studies at Rusi, a think tank in the UK

 

An op-ed for an online outlet I used to contribute more to, the EU Observer. This looks at Central Asia in the wake of Catherine Ashton’s visit there. The idea of China and Europe doing more together in Central Asia is the focus of a longer piece that should be landing soon. UPDATE (2/12/12): Off the back of this article, I was interviewed for this long Los Angeles Times times piece about Ms Ashton’s visit to Central Asia.

Soldiers on guard in Turkmenistan (Photo: d_proffer)

OPINION
Central Asia: Europe’s Asia Pivot?
28.11.12 @ 09:58

BY RAFFAELLO PANTUCCI

BRUSSELS – World media has been abuzz with America’s “Asia Pivot” and President Barack Obama’s groundbreaking trip to Rangoon.

But while the visit signals the importance of Asia as a strategic focus for Obama’s second administration, the same cannot be said of Europe.

This week’s visit by Catherine Ashton to Central Asia offers a possible key that could both refocus Europe on an area it has long ignored, as well as helping shift its relationship with China onto a more practical basis.

European leaders talk of paying attention to Asia and have long cultivated a “strategic partnership” with China, but there is little evidence of much of this having any relation to what is happening on the ground.

Instead, Europe remains on the sidelines as a whole new region emerges on the global stage.

It does not need to be this way. Europe has as much of a claim to be involved in Asian affairs as the United States – it just needs to find the right key.

While the regular Asian-European meeting (Asem) offers a forum in which Europe can talk with East Asian powers, it has yet to really live up to its full potential.

The EU-Central Asia ministerial this week offers an underexplored avenue that Europe could use to re-engage with a region that is crying out for outside assistance, as well as engaging with China on its neglected flank.

Central Asia is one of the ignored regions of the world.

Stuck between China and Russia and adjacent to Afghanistan, it has been relegated in global attention. Insomuch as it does figure in current strategic thinking, it tends to be as an extension of Afghanistan, with the current focus largely being on which nation to use as a staging point for leaving in 2014.

If thinking goes much beyond this, then there is some awareness that the region is rich in energy resources and is primarily Russian speaking.

But a new narrative is emerging regionally, with an old Russian-centric order increasingly being nudged aside through gradual Chinese investment.

Focused on developing its westernmost province, Xinjiang, into a gateway for Eurasia, China has built roads, rail and other infrastructure to help develop the region and connect it better to China.

The idea is not just to connect Central Asia to China, but rather to connect China through the region to Russian and European markets.

China and Europe’s visions and interests in Central Asia broadly align.

Both are eager for the region to develop and become prosperous, to see the natural wealth in the region as something to their benefit.

There are slightly different priorities underlying these decisions: for China it is key in developing its west, while for Europe more abstract regional “security, governance and energy” are the issues laid out in strategy papers.

But both recognise the potential danger of Afghan instability spilling across borders, with European member states engaged militarily in Afghanistan and both the EU and China implementing or announcing police training missions in Afghanistan.

As 2014 approaches and the need for greater focus on Central Asia is going to grow, a breach opens into which Europe has an opportunity to have its own “Asia Pivot” focused instead on China’s western flank.

This would be welcomed by Beijing, which would be eager to see Europe connecting across their common landmass, and would be welcomed by the regional powers that are eager to have as many international partners as possible.

Europe’s aim should be not just to continue to do the development work and infrastructure projects that it has long done, but rather to focus on developing its economic and trade links to the region.

Beyond this, it should develop its regional security programs aimed at helping improve border security and supporting counter-narcotics efforts.

Clearly there is a delicate balance that needs to be struck here with regards to human rights – but simply lecturing is not going to get the answers or responses that we want.

Engagement may help reduce security concerns and will enable better practices to be instilled regionally. All of which would ultimately also align with Beijing’s regional interests, offering a window for a new and productive discussion between Brussels and Beijing.

It could finally provide some meat on the bones of its “strategic partnership” with China, offering a practical outcome beyond the regular summit meetings.

Over a century has passed since Halford Mackinder presented his idea of Eurasia as the “geographical pivot of history” to the Royal Geographical Society in London.

The idea at its core remains sound and is the key through which Europe should orient its own “Asia Pivot” today.

Focusing on Central Asia as a region in which it can try to engage with China offers a new avenue to develop its key relationship in Asia and to focus on an area that is going to be increasingly important to Europe.

Europe needs a way to stay relevant in Asia – focusing on its connective tissue across the Eurasian landmass offers a currently underexplored vehicle.

Raffaello Pantucci is a visiting scholar at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS). His research can be found at chinaincentralasia.com

A somewhat elementary title for my latest short commentary on EU-China relations for the EU Observer. There are going to be a few more on this theme in the near future as I continue to try to publish more in relation to the work I am doing in China at the moment. Am going to be building towards something large to be published sometime next year.

RAFFAELLO PANTUCCI

Today @ 11:34 CET

EUOBSERVER / COMMENT – Baroness Ashton is in China once again to help clarify a little better what exactly it is that a strategic partnership between China and the EU should look like. Since its declaration in 2003, thinkers across the EU and China have puzzled together and apart over exactly how to implement this grand rhetoric, with no discernible conclusion. The reason for this: both sides have very different interpretations of what this means.

“The EU needs to recognise that China has very different views on issues that Europeans hold dear” (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

During a recent research interview in Beijing, a connected and eminent Chinese Euro-watcher told me “China’s meaning of strategic is different to the EU’s: China’s interpretation is we agree on strategic issues…in China this means we are thinking in long-term. Dealing with single issues is not strategic.” This stands somewhat in contrast to Baroness Ashton’s comments on the eve of her latest trip in which she told the China Daily, “The EU and China hold a strategic partnership. That means that we will not only talk about bilateral relations, but also about the main challenges the world is facing today.” China sees a realist “long-term” view while Europe sees “today.”

This is an important distinction to make, as it underlies a lot of the misunderstandings that are often visible between the EU and China. The EU thinks in terms which are linked to the here and now, while China prefers to think in the longer term seeing the short-term as unproductive. As a Chinese policy planner put it to me when talking specifically about Iran, “more speed, no result.” Unfortunately, this rather clashes with the sense of urgency that Europeans often see on issues in comparison to their Chinese counterparts. Iran and climate change are just two examples.

Since she has been in office, Baroness Ashton has made robust statements about the need for Iran to cease its nuclear programme highlighting in remarks in Cairo in March that the EU position “is based on the firm belief that an Iran with nuclear weapons risks triggering a proliferation cascade throughout the Middle East. This is the last thing that this region needs. A nuclear weapons free Middle East remains a European goal.”

On this last point, the Chinese would undoubtedly agree. In discussions experts and officials alike highlight the fact that a nuclear-free world is a goal that we can all agree on. However, Beijing does not see the same sort of urgency around Iran in the short-term. A report in February by the International Crisis Group based on extensive interviews pointed out that, “China does not view Iran’s nuclear programme as an immediate threat,” a view that is supported by more recent interviews in Beijing and Shanghai.

Missing the bigger picture?

This fundamental difference means that while the EU feels that something needs to be done now and the recent sanctions were the clear next step, China instead thinks that there is a “need to be more patient” and that sanctions are going to be counter-productive. In a particularly blunt conversation, one influential scholar told me in July that the Middle East is “your problem” and that anyway there is very little that China can do in this situation. His view was that the focus on nuclear issues is perceived by some to be missing the bigger point which is that a more comprehensive solution is needed.

In many ways, a similar picture can be painted for climate change where broadly speaking both the EU and China recognize that it is a problem, but they see it on very different timelines. Or to put it more accurately, see it at different positions in the ranking of current issues to be dealt with.

According to the European Commission Environment website, “Climate change is already happening and represents one of the greatest environmental, social and economic threats facing the planet.” At the Nanjing EU-China Summit last year Commission President Barosso highlighted this urgency further while pushing the US and China to do more “We are asking all sides to do everything they can to contribute to a comprehensive and global agreement,” he said. This seemed to echo Premier Wen Jiabao’s earlier comments to the Financial Times that “the Chinese government gives top priority to meeting the challenge of climate change.”

Climate change or poverty – one issue at a time

But at the same time, repeated Chinese statements have highlighted that economic growth is a bigger priority than climate change. In the wake of the Copenhagen conference, He Jingjun, a prolific analyst working for the Chongqing government, was quoted as saying, “the Chinese government must continue to prioritise development, economic growth and social stability” over climate change. This was reinforced to me in conversation with an influential Beijing academic who said the government can address either climate change or poverty – both at the same time is simply unrealistic. His unvarnished conclusion was that “China is not going to do what West wants on climate change.”

There is even a school of thought, described to me by a senior foreign policy thinker at Peking University, that the entire climate change issue might have been concocted by the West to stunt Chinese growth. In his view, if climate change was as urgent and threatening a problem as the EU claims, we would not be haggling over technology transfers.

It is hard to know how widespread this view is, but it is certainly the case that there is a general sense that China is being asked too much in climate change terms. One official repeated the old Chinese line that “China is a developing country,” and that other “important actors” need come to the table on the issue if it is to be solved.

But this sort of debate is one which frustrates European policymakers who repeatedly refer to climate change as an immediate problem needing to be addressed at forums like Copenhagen. As Commission President Barosso put it: “we cannot negotiate with the reality of climate change.” For Europe the here-and-now is the priority, while for China, it is obviously a less immediate crisis.

On her visit to Guiyang today, Baroness Ashton was quoted in the Chinese press as saying that “the EU needs to know more about China.” The context of this may have been a general sense of understanding of the great wealth and population diversity that can be found across this great country, but it is equally clear that the EU needs to recognise that China has very different views on issues that Europeans hold dear.

The writer is a Visiting Scholar at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), where he is working on a project looking at EU-China relations as an EU STFP Fellow.

This is a long article for an op-ed, I have actually been circulating the idea for a while but finally found a good home for it. Some mention of the recent Europol report (1) or the upcoming EU-Pakistan Summit (2) would have probably been worthwhile, but no matter. My main point is that continental European government’s need to be a little clearer about what they are trying to achieve in AfPak as otherwise they might face sudden shocks. As if to reinforce my point, I see that the Italian police have just arrested a couple of alleged terrorists in Bari for plotting, radicalizing and organizing to help people travel to fight jihad (3).

1: http://www.europol.europa.eu/publications/EU_Terrorism_Situation_and_Trend_Report_TE-SAT/TESAT2009.pdf

2: http://euobserver.com/9/28104

3: http://www.corriere.it/cronache/09_maggio_12/al_qaeda_terroristi_arrestati_bari_f81b144c-3eb3-11de-914a-00144f02aabc.shtml

And here is the actual article, sorry for these links, I have been having probs hyperlinking where I am.

http://euobserver.com/?aid=28103

[Comment] Europe’s threat from Pakistan

RAFFAELLO PANTUCCI

11.05.2009 @ 18:21 CET

EUOBSERVER / COMMENT – During a recent visit to Pakistan, Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated that a third of terror plots in the UK have connections to that beleaguered country.

In a press conference with President Asif Zardari he went on to state that with a set of new proposed measures, he hoped to “break the chain of terror that links the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan to the streets of the UK.”

But while the UK seems to have taken a view that there is a very real threat to Europe that needs to be engaged with in Afghanistan and Pakistan and makes the case regularly to its public, there is remarkably little sensible public discussion on such matters from other European capitals.
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This is a very good question i feel, and one that Alexandros and myself have decided to attempt to answer. Not entirely successfully i feel, and anyway the issue still is for those Russkies to decide what game they are playing. But if the EU were to start figuring stuff out, we would be in a good spot. For those who don’t know the EU Observer, it is a respectable website that has remarkable penetration into the Brussels community.

http://euobserver.com/9/26073

[Comment] What does Europe want from Russia?

30.04.2008 – 17:48 CET | By Alexandros Petersen and Raffaello Pantucci

EUOBSERVER / COMMENT – In the aftermath of the divisive NATO summit in Bucharest, there is a growing sense in the European policy community that for the continent to effectively deal with its biggest neighbour, everyone needs to sing from the same song sheet. However, there is little clarity about the words of the song – we know we should be unified on the subject, but we do not seem to know what to do.
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