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Security Brief: EUCOM Week of May 2, 2021

Week of May 2, 2021| Issue 30

Flavien Baumgartner, Gün Kansu, Jessica Sumner, EUCOM

Pegida protesting in Frankfurt[1]

Date: Thursday, May 6, 2021

Location: Berlin, Germany

Parties involved: Moroccan and German governments

The event: Morocco has recalled its ambassador to Germany due to Germany’s stance on the Western Saharan territory, which the US publicly stated should be under Moroccon jurisdiction. According to Moroccan authorities, Germany has also shown complicity towards handling a person, who has not been publicly named, as a terrorist threat to Morocco. This will have repercussions not only towards Germany’s diplomatic relations but also that of the EU as a disagreement with Morocco can be also seen as a disagreement with the US and its diplomatic decision making.

The implications:

  • While the US’s stance towards Moroccan jurisdiction over Western Sahara was a celebratory cause for Moroccans, Germany counter-acted this action by holding a closed-door meeting with the UN Security Council to discuss their disapproval of this move. Therefore, this action by Germany is seen as a direct challenge to the progress Morocco has made through having its long-standing goal of Western Sahara being recognized internationally under its jurisdiction. By going against the decision regarding the Western Saharan territory, Germany in effect can be said to be challenging the diplomatic role of the US

  • This event also diminishes the prospect of a diplomatic solution as the Moroccan ambassador is recalled, leaving fewer, more distant channels, for a resolution to be found towards the controversial decision of recognizing Moroccon jurisdiction over disputed territory. Since Germany in the past has been seen as a central player in regards to EU decision making, its decision to call an international meeting against the US decision could be seen as a threat to Morocco in terms of its own relationship with the broader EU.

Date: Friday, May 7, 2021

Location: Porto, Portugal

Parties involved: EU Heads of State and Social Partners

The event: The Porto Social Summit took place to discuss Europe’s future policy agenda, with some of the highlights regarding issues of social welfare, intellectual property rights, and reducing the number of ‘at-risk’ individuals. By reducing levels of unemployment, and promoting the qualifications and training adults already have, and increasing inclusivity, all of these characteristics aim to promote security throughout Europe.

The implications:

  • This event leads to an optimistic future for Europe as it demonstrates progress towards a more comprehensive dialogue and possible coordination on social objectives, which can help bolster cooperation on issues such as cross-border security and partnerships. These social objects, such as alleviating poverty and ensuring exponential increases in the quality of human capital throughout Europe will lead to economic and social growth through the EU. Meanwhile, it also ensures that the EU and its partners are working towards promoting their citizens’ rights and the opportunities that are presented to them. In turn, this leads to stronger coordination amongst EU members and a better sense of unity which can have spillover effects into other issues such as matters of cross border security.

  • As often in areas with low levels of opportunity, citizens can succumb to high levels of crime and are often prey to being recruited by extremist groups if they are not presented with adequate opportunities. Therefore, through increasing collaboration amongst EU members, we are likely to see an increase in solutions towards combating the social situations that often catalyze the possibility for extremism.

Date: Thursday, May 6, 2021

Location: Jerusalem, Israel

Parties involved: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Israel, UK, Palestinian National Authority, Hamas

The event: Five European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK) are advising Israel to turn back from its decision to have additional illegal constructions in the West Bank. The reason for the aforementioned European nations to push for this kind of shift is to prevent this threat from destroying the likelihood of a peaceful resolution regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[2]

The implications:

  • Palestinians are faced with settler violence through receiving degrading treatment by Jewish settlers. The threat of probable eviction of the Palestinian population raises serious human rights and security concerns, especially during a time of a global pandemic. At the time where economic and humanitarian vulnerabilities are further exposed through such decisions as Israel’s, current attitudes and actions are likely to escalate tensions further.

  • The threat made by Hamas directed towards Israel in regards to the construction of buildings shows that the tense relationship between Israel and Palestine can deteriorate further thus leading to chaotic and violent consequences.

  • If such a possibility becomes a reality, EU institutions, such as European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations for Palestine, will be inadequate to meet the needs of this emerging threat. Additionally, a serious flow of Palestinian people seeking refuge in other continents such as Europe is likely to occur, further pressuring the EU member states to re-consider a safe migration strategy.

  • While the main role of the EU in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict appears to be an aid provider, the Union’s political influence in the region looks rather weak. Although the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy is thoroughly financed to act beyond being solely being aid provider, it fails to establish set goals such as a two-state solution in the Israeli Palestinian case. Such a stance can raise questions about the EU and its member state’s actual role, furthering the already existing Euro-skepticism.

Date: Friday, May 7, 2021

Location: Germany

Parties involved: Germany, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident (Pegida)

The event: The German intelligence services have decided the anti-Islam movement called Pegida has reached an extremist level. As the group provides a space for right-wing extremists to communicate their anti-constitutional beliefs, more members are getting increasingly radicalized. Therefore, the German intelligence services have decided that the group will be seriously surveilled.[3]

The implications:

  • Since Pegida was founded in 2015, the movement is based on xenophobic ideas and was formulated as a response to the arrival of asylum seekers, becoming an increasing threat within Germany. Although Pegida was initially founded in Germany, the group expanded its influence on France as well as other European nations. The group has asked supporters from all over Europe to carry on their movement. This indicates that Pegida is not just a threat for Germany but poses a threat all over Europe due to its followers who share the same ideology. Hate crimes, attacks of shops owned by Muslims, and degrading treatment towards the Muslims have become common, creating heightened fear and security concerns regarding personal safety.

  • Since the German intelligence services are aware of this threat and have officially named Pegida as an extremist, anti-constitutional group, it shows that Islamophobic and xenophobic perils are taken very seriously by Germany. Decisions such as increasing surveillance and investigation give the message that Germany will not tolerate such anti-democratic and hateful actions and is ready to step in whenever the threat escalates. This can discourage the individuals who are prone to get influenced by the group. In addition to this, such a strong stance taken by the German intelligence services can make German Muslims feel safer and more protected.


[2] European powers call on Israel to halt settlement expansion, Deutsche Welle, 6 May 2021

[3] Germany: Intelligence agency labels Pegida 'anti-constitutional',Deutsche Welle, 7 May 2021

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