Opinion, Analysis, Editorial, Interview, Commentary

Voices

Opinions, analysis and editorial pieces, interviews and general commentary on issues and regions in and around Europe from our panel of regular experts and research associates, and guest writers and contributors.

Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: New Dutch government installed, as a gentle pro-European breeze blows over The Hague

Opinion: New Dutch government installed, as a gentle pro-European breeze blows over The Hague

A new government for The Netherlands was installed on Monday (10 January) made up of a coalition of four political parties: VVD, D66, CDA, and ChristenUnie. One important feature of the coalition agreement is its positive and optimistic approach towards the European Union. Is this then the end of Euroscepticism in the Netherlands? Maximiliaan van Lange analyses in this article for commonspace.eu the background to the formation of the fourth Rutte Cabinet (Rutte IV) and examines how the Netherlands will now pursue its objectives within the European Union.
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Opinion
Opinion: The implosion of Kazakhstan was unexpected, and it has implications for the whole post-Soviet space

Opinion: The implosion of Kazakhstan was unexpected, and it has implications for the whole post-Soviet space

"We need time to understand better what happened in Kazakhstan, and why", writes Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed. Whilst sending CSTO troops to Kazakhstan was clearly President Putin's decision to support President Tokayev in the internal fight between Kazakh local elites, the deployment has implications also for other countries participating in the mission, including Armenia.
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Editor's choice
Opinion
Josep Borrell explains why the Indo-Pacific Region matters for Europe

Josep Borrell explains why the Indo-Pacific Region matters for Europe

EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, has just returned from Indonesia where he met the country's leaders, and also had talks with ASEAN – the regional grouping of South East Asian countries. Writing on his blog, Borrell explains why the Indo-Pacific Region is so important for Europe. He argues that, "If we want to be a geopolitical actor, we also have to be perceived as a political and security actor in the region, not just as a development cooperation, trading or investment partner."
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Opinion
Opinion: Thirty years since regaining its independence, Georgia remains committed to restoring fully its European roots and territorial integrity

Opinion: Thirty years since regaining its independence, Georgia remains committed to restoring fully its European roots and territorial integrity

On 26 May 1918, Georgia gained its independence from the Russian Empire. Now, 30 years after reclaiming it from the Soviet Union, a sovereign Georgia remains committed to restoring its territorial integrity and taking its place in the Euro-Atlantic community, writes Giorgi Nakashidze in this op-ed for commonspace.eu.
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Opinion
Kazakhstan, Central Asia's giant, is stirring and the Russians are not amused

Kazakhstan, Central Asia's giant, is stirring and the Russians are not amused

Kazakhstan is exploring its options. The government has embarked on a series of reforms, as yet mainly in the economic sphere, although reforms in the governance sector are also inevitable. They include slimming down the bloated state bureaucracy and also slowly re-calibrating Kazakh foreign policy to make it less dependant on Russia. The Russians are not amused, says Dennis Sammut in this op-ed
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Opinion
Opinion: It is too early to call the Libya peace process a success

Opinion: It is too early to call the Libya peace process a success

Exhausted by a decade of conflict, Libyans have moved surprisingly fast to implement a peace deal that some thought impossible only a few months ago. Deep-rooted internal divisions, greed among leaders, and the shadow of external patrons, may yet frustrate the quest for peace. 
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Opinion
Opinion: “All against all” or “all against Nikol”?

Opinion: “All against all” or “all against Nikol”?

Alliances are being formed between Armenian political parties ahead of the 20 June parliamentary elections. Whilst they all claim to want to oust the current prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, they are all also busy competing against each other. Despite this, the next Armenian government is likely to be a coalition government, argues Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed for commonspace.eu
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Opinion
Opinion: The recent Iran-China agreement has implications for the wider region

Opinion: The recent Iran-China agreement has implications for the wider region

The recent signing of a strategic partnership with Iran shows that China is now a significant player in the geopolitics of the wider Middle East. This has implications for the South Caucasus and particularly Armenia, writes Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed
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Opinion
Opinion: Russian goals in the Armenian snap parliamentary elections

Opinion: Russian goals in the Armenian snap parliamentary elections

With Armenia's snap parliamentary elections coming up in June, a lot of actors are looking at the country's domestic politics, but no one more closely than Moscow. In this op-ed, originally published on KarabakhSpace.eu, Benyamin Poghosyan looks at what the presence of the former Armenian president, Robert Kocharyan, means for Pashinyan and Armenian-Russian relations.
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Opinion
Opinion: In Armenia’s June elections Kocharyan will challenge Pashinyan in a vote largely motivated by hate   

Opinion: In Armenia’s June elections Kocharyan will challenge Pashinyan in a vote largely motivated by hate  

Former Armenian president Robert Kocharyan has emerged as the strongest challenger to prime minister Nikol Pashinyan in Armenian’s forthcoming parliamentary elections. However, as Benyamin Poghosyan argues in this op-ed, most voters are simply motivated by their hate of one or the other.
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Analysis
The 6th Eastern Partnership summit is a defining moment in the relationship between the EU and its Eastern Neighbours

The 6th Eastern Partnership summit is a defining moment in the relationship between the EU and its Eastern Neighbours

The summit of the leaders of the European Union and of the countries of the Eastern Partnership takes place in Brussels tomorrow (Wednesday, 15 December). It promises to be a defining moment in the relationship between the EU and its neighbours to the east: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. In this analysis, the research team of commonspace.eu explore the issues under discussion and explore why for the first time an EaP summit has attracted considerable public attention.
Editor's choice
Analysis
Analysis: Central Asian countries need to remain focused on reforms despite new security threats

Analysis: Central Asian countries need to remain focused on reforms despite new security threats

The countries of Central Asia are at an important crossroads. The events in Afghanistan are not going to make their choices either more simple or more easy. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have taken very important steps in the last few years on the path to reform. It is important that they stay the course, and it is important for the EU and other western countries to help them in this task. If possible this should be done without adversarial engagement with either Russia or China, even though are likely to put obstacles in the way. Central Asia does not need another "great game". It needs support so it can develop and evolve for the benefit of its people, and so that the radical elements that have been successful in Afghanistan can be stopped in their stride. 
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Analysis
Analysis: When hunting down civil society, don’t shoot yourself in the foot

Analysis: When hunting down civil society, don’t shoot yourself in the foot

In recent weeks, Alexander Lukashenko’s regime in Belarus has ordered the mass closure of NGOs, calling them “bandits and foreign agents”. One year to the day since the disputed 9 August 2020 presidential elections, for commonspace.eu, Maryia Ditchkowska looks at some of the organisations targeted, why it is unlikely to seriously impact support for the pro-democractic movement, and what has prompted this particular crackdown.
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Analysis
Analysis: The Armenian parliamentary snap election – a way out or a new wave of chaos?

Analysis: The Armenian parliamentary snap election – a way out or a new wave of chaos?

The 20 June parliamentary elections in Armenia are the most competitive and inclusive in the country’s history with three former presidents challenging the rule of incumbent prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan. In a detailed analysis for commonspace.eu, Alexander Petrosyan looks at the main protagonists and what they stand for, and what is important to watch out for.
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Analysis
Analysis: Why what happens in Greenland matters

Analysis: Why what happens in Greenland matters

The snap elections for the parliament of Greenland last Tuesday (6 April) attracted unusual interest from major powers who have been watching the political and economic impact of the election results on their interests in the Arctic region. Among them, the Chinese, who have invested in the Kvanefjeld mine on the island. Maximiliaan van Lange analyses the background to the recent Greenlandic general elections, and the Island's geostrategic position in the Arctic in this article for commonspace.eu.
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Analysis
Analysis: Can Arctic routes provide an alternative to the Suez Canal as a major east-west trade route?

Analysis: Can Arctic routes provide an alternative to the Suez Canal as a major east-west trade route?

The recent blockage of the Suez Canal by the 400-metre-long 'Ever Given' container ship exposed the vulnerability of global trade routes. It reopened the debate about alternative routes, including the opening of the Northern Sea Route via northern Russia, and the Northwest Passage via northern Canada. These routes, however, are not without their problems. Maximiliaan van Lange analyses the background and current thinking in this article for commonspace.eu.
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Analysis
The death penalty remains a big issue in EU-Bahrain relations

The death penalty remains a big issue in EU-Bahrain relations

The European Parliament recently adopted a toughly worded resolution on the human rights situation in Bahrain focusing in particular on the cases of death row inmates and human rights defenders. The resolution exposed the dilemmas in Europe as the EU seeks closer relations with the Gulf states, but where concerns about the human rights situation in the region remain high.
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Analysis
Analysis: In the Middle East, the Biden presidency will impact five key areas

Analysis: In the Middle East, the Biden presidency will impact five key areas

The demise of the Trump administration and the return of Joe Biden to the White House, this time as president, will have more consequences than usual, with immediate changes expected in both the style and substance of leadership. The incoming administration will have a full in-tray of issues that need to be dealt with urgently. When it comes to the Gulf region and the wider Middle East, there will be five areas where important changes are likely.
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Analysis
Burkina Faso votes despite violent insurgency

Burkina Faso votes despite violent insurgency

Voting took place on Sunday (22 November) in presidential and parliamentary elections in Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in the Sahel Region of Africa. The elections were overshadowed by violence from an Islamist insurgency. President Kabore is expected to win reelection, while opposition candidates have warned of "massive electoral fraud." Official results are not expected for some days
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Analysis
Tensions rise between Morocco and the POLISARIO Front in Western Sahara

Tensions rise between Morocco and the POLISARIO Front in Western Sahara

The UN, through its mission – MINURSO, is still expected to maintain the ceasefire, and take quick steps to determine the political future of the Sahara. Yet the effectiveness of MINURSO, without a renewed commitment from Morocco and the Polisario Front, is doubtful.
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Editorial
Editorial: It seems that in Moscow they forgot how to count from 1 to 3

Editorial: It seems that in Moscow they forgot how to count from 1 to 3

The Russians persisted in presenting a gathering in Moscow on Friday as a meeting of " 3 + 3 ", when in fact only five countries were present, and it was more the case of 2 + 3. Diplomatic deceit is not the basis on which South Caucasus regional co-operation should be built.
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Editorial
Editorial: Thank you Mrs Merkel, Welcome Mr Scholz

Editorial: Thank you Mrs Merkel, Welcome Mr Scholz

Strong leadership in and by Germany is necessary if Europe is to succeed in meeting the challenges of the future. Tomorrow Mr Scholz will travel to Paris and Brussels for meetings with the French President and with the EU leadership.
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Editorial
Editorial Comment: Towards a crucial Eastern Partnership Summit

Editorial Comment: Towards a crucial Eastern Partnership Summit

The foreign ministers of the EU27 and the Eastern Partnership countries met in Brussels this week to take stock of the progress to date and actively prepare for the upcoming Summit. Various sources told commonspace.eu that it was a positive meeting.
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Editorial
Commentary: The West needs more than a charm offensive if it wants to maintain its relevance in the GCC space

Commentary: The West needs more than a charm offensive if it wants to maintain its relevance in the GCC space

Throughout the oil boom in the last quarter of the 20th century and since, the GCC countries were seen in the United States, Britain, France and elsewhere in Europe through the prism of being major oil exporters and arms importers. Western countries and the Arab Gulf monarchies need each other. But for their friendship to last it needs to be rebuilt on a different basis than has been the case so far.
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Editorial
Editorial:	TRACECA poised to play an increasingly important role in the connectivity Europe-Caucasus-Asia

Editorial: TRACECA poised to play an increasingly important role in the connectivity Europe-Caucasus-Asia

TRACECA is a child of the EU’s ambition to be a global player. The EU should not forget, nor ignore, nor sideline, TRACECA’s work. Instead it should recognise that TRACECA has shown it is resilient and adaptable. The next phase of EU-IGC TRACECA co-operation must therefore be more strategic, and more ambitious.
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Editorial
Editorial: On Belarus, the EU must now act quickly and decisively

Editorial: On Belarus, the EU must now act quickly and decisively

The forced diversion by Belarus of a flight between two EU member states on Sunday (23 May) constitutes an act of international piracy at the heart of Europe. Under President Lukashenko, Belarus is now a pirate state, and must be treated like one. This will undoubtedly cause some pain to the Belarusian people who are not to blame for the recklessness of their leader, but this is now inevitable. 
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Editorial
The debate about Europe's role in the neighbourhood and the world

The debate about Europe's role in the neighbourhood and the world

commonspace.eu is evolving. We are stepping up as part of our mission to contribute to the debate about Europe’s future role in the world, and we are expanding our coverage to include the whole European neighbourhood to the East and to the South. We aim to provide accurate news and original analysis, and offer a forum for diverse views and opinions.
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Editorial
Editorial: War is never a solution!

Editorial: War is never a solution!

The Caucasus region has been plunged back into war. From yesterday morning fighting has been taking place between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces across the line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.
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Editorial
Editorial: On Karabakh, unconventional diplomacy is now needed more than ever

Editorial: On Karabakh, unconventional diplomacy is now needed more than ever

In the Karabakh peace process there has been a reluctance by track 1 participants to engage properly with track II initiatives. The EU supported EPNK process has shown that unconventional diplomacy has much to contribute, and its energy must now be put to good use.
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Interview
GEU Podcast: Supporting the rule of law in Ukraine – with Dr Valentyn Gvozdiy and Brian Mefford

GEU Podcast: Supporting the rule of law in Ukraine – with Dr Valentyn Gvozdiy and Brian Mefford

In this episode of Global Europe Unpacked, produced in collaboration with the City of The Hague, Will Murray speaks to Brian Mefford – a long-time observer of Ukraine, based in Kiev – about the state of the rule of law in Ukraine and the biggest challenges it faces; how it is affected by Russian interference; and what more could be done by the country’s Western partners to support and promote the rule of law there. Will then speaks to the vice-president of the Ukrainian National Bar Association, Dr Valentyn Gvozdiy, about what his institution does to support the rule of law in Ukraine; his perspective on the issues that Ukraine faces; and what he believes Ukraine can offer the EU when it comes to justice and the rule of law.
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Interview
GEU Podcast: The Conference on the Future of Europe: let your voice be heard – with Didier Herbert and Saskia Bruines

GEU Podcast: The Conference on the Future of Europe: let your voice be heard – with Didier Herbert and Saskia Bruines

In this introductory episode for series two of Global Europe Unpacked, produced in collaboration with the City of The Hague, Will Murray speaks to the Head of Representation for the European Commission in the Netherlands, Didier Herbert, about how the Conference on the Future of Europe is taking shape, and how people can – and why they should – get involved. Will then shares a conversation with The Hague’s Deputy Mayor, Saskia Bruines, about the importance of bridging the gap between the local and the international, and how her city of peace and justice is contributing to the initiative.
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Interview
Interview: Lasha Darsalia discusses Georgia's relations with Russia and South Caucasus regional co-operation

Interview: Lasha Darsalia discusses Georgia's relations with Russia and South Caucasus regional co-operation

Lasha Darsalia, Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia discusses relations with Russia, and how Georgia views the recent agreement ending the Karabakh War in this exclusive interview with commonspace.eu. He also lays his vision for South Caucasus regional co-operation.
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Interview
Medoev: "Our independence is irreversible". Commonspace exclusive interview with South Ossetia's envoy in Moscow.

Medoev: "Our independence is irreversible". Commonspace exclusive interview with South Ossetia's envoy in Moscow.

In this exclusive interview with commonspace.eu South Ossetia's envoy to Moscow blames Georgia for starting the 2008 war, and the international community for complacency bordering on complicity. He dismisses the role of civil society in resolution of the conflict and says Russia was the salvation of the Ossetian people.
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Commentary
Commentary: Important moment for Europe's "Strategic Compass for security and defence"

Commentary: Important moment for Europe's "Strategic Compass for security and defence"

The "Strategic Compass" is designed to answer three questions: Which challenges and threats does Europe face? How can the EU better pool its assets and manage them effectively? And what is the best way to project Europe's influence both as a regional and global actor
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Commentary
Commentary: The debate about the “Corridors War” is not based on reality

Commentary: The debate about the “Corridors War” is not based on reality

The "corridors war", currently being hotly debated among experts, pundits, and policy-making circles in the South Caucasus, is largely based on wishful thinking rather than hard facts. In reality the options are rather limited, argues Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed.
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Commentary
Georgia Elections: Beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

Georgia Elections: Beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

Georgians are voting today in the second round of local elections to choose Mayors and local Councillors in a number of key cities where the first round of voting, held on 2 October was inconclusive. The total number of voters eligible to vote in the second round is 2,088,722 - around half of which in the capital, Tbilisi. Georgians appear to be tired of the non stop polorised politics that has dominated public life in recent years, but it is unlikely that the elections will bring a closure to the huge divide within Georgian society.
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Commentary
Commentary: What next for Mirziyoyev and for Uzbekistan?

Commentary: What next for Mirziyoyev and for Uzbekistan?

Uzbek president Shovkat Mirzyoyev, re-elected for a second term on Sunday said there is no going back for his country. However it is not clear yet if Uzbekistan is slowly but surely moving out of its autocratic past into a pluralistic political process, because there are contradictory signs.
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Commentary
Commentary:  State-building cannot be imposed from outside; the EU and others must learn lessons from Afghanistan

Commentary: State-building cannot be imposed from outside; the EU and others must learn lessons from Afghanistan

A state cannot be built from outside, with a foreign army standing on top of it to supervise the process, argues Dennis Sammut in this commentary. As the EU expands its global ambitions, it must be aware of the risks of "mission creep" and make sure the mistakes in Afghanistan are not repeated.
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Commentary
Commentary: The EU reinforces its position in the South Caucasus before the upcoming EaP Summit

Commentary: The EU reinforces its position in the South Caucasus before the upcoming EaP Summit

In preparation for its Eastern Partnership Summit (EaP) in December, and after drastic regional shifts, the EU is trying hard to improve its position in the South Caucasus. In this commentary for commonspace.eu, Mahammad Mammadov unpacks the EU's strategy in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, looking at what can be gleaned from its recent high-profile visits to the region and billions in newly declared financial assistance.
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Commentary
Commentary: Action with appeasement needs to be France’s strategy to ensure the survival of its unique secular model

Commentary: Action with appeasement needs to be France’s strategy to ensure the survival of its unique secular model

Over the last years, France has faced criticism for its perceived stance against Islam. In this commentary for commonspace.eu, Camille Victor suggests that this stems from a misunderstanding of France's unique interpretation of secularism, arguing that the preservation of the French secular model requires finding ways to appease rising tensions whilst simultaneously acting against very real threats to the country's core republican values.
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Commentary
All set for Armenia's early parliamentary elections on 20 June

All set for Armenia's early parliamentary elections on 20 June

2,581,093 voters are eligible to vote in Armenia's early parliamentary elections being held on 20 June. This was announced on Monday in Yerevan by the country's Central Elections Commission. The Central Elections Commission has also approved 26 parties and blocs to participate in the elections which some see more as a referendum on Nikol Pashinyan, his policies, his style of government, his strengths, and his weaknesses.
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Commentary
Commentary: A shaken EU fires opening shots in long war of attrition with Belarus

Commentary: A shaken EU fires opening shots in long war of attrition with Belarus

The united European response to the brazen Belarusian snatching of an opposition figure from a commercial airplane of a European airline flying between two European capitals was swift and strong. Nothing dramatic will happen overnight as a result, but make no mistake about it, this was the opening shot of what is likely to be a long and messy war of attrition against Belarus that may last for years. On Belarus now, the EU's mind is set. The process will start and will be sustained.
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Commentary
Commentary: Lavrov's travels and travails in the South Caucasus

Commentary: Lavrov's travels and travails in the South Caucasus

The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, was in Armenia and in Azerbaijan in the last days. Bilateral issues were discussed in both Baku and Yerevan during his visit, however, it was the regional situation that dominated the discussions in both capitals, and in particular, the implementation in practice of the 10 November “Trilateral Declaration” signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia. This is proving easier said than done, and some are asking if Russia has not taken on a poisoned chalice.
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Commentary
Commentary: Mohammed bin Salman and his quest to reinterpret the relationship between state and religion  in Saudi Arabia

Commentary: Mohammed bin Salman and his quest to reinterpret the relationship between state and religion in Saudi Arabia

In a recent wide-ranging interview Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, appeared to be reinterpreting – if not exactly redefining – the relationship between state and religion in the Kingdom. This is highly dangerous and uncharted territory for a Saudi leader, but something that is absolutely necessary if the Kingdom is to reinvent itself as a modern progressive state, whilst respecting the religious foundations which are part of its legacy and legitimacy.

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Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: Josep Borrell on the Conference on the future of Europe and what citizens want for Europe’s global role

Opinion: Josep Borrell on the Conference on the future of Europe and what citizens want for Europe’s global role

"The 'Conference on the Future of Europe' was launched in Spring this year to open a new debate with citizens to address Europe's challenges and priorities. Listening to citizens and giving them a say is also highly relevant when it comes to foreign and security policy. Citizens are expecting more from us, so we should heed their call for action and results", EU High Representative Josep Borrell wrote on his blog
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Opinion
Opinion: In the South Caucasus, Tehran has its red lines too

Opinion: In the South Caucasus, Tehran has its red lines too

For 30 years, Iran has adopted a cautious approach to developments in the South Caucasus, wary of the risk of encirclement. Iran's current massive military drills on the border with Azerbaijan are meant to send a signal that Tehran has its red lines too, argues Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed for commonspace.eu
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Opinion
Opinion: For the EU strategic autonomy is as yet only an aspiration, but one worth pursuing

Opinion: For the EU strategic autonomy is as yet only an aspiration, but one worth pursuing

The establishment of AUKUS, and subsequent submarine dispute, has exposed once more the EU's strategic vulnerability. At present the EU has no common foreign policy and no European armed forces capability, and strategic autonomy remains an illusion. But it is not a wrong goal to pursue, argues Maximiliaan van Lange in this op-ed.
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Opinion
 Opinion: After thirty years of modern statehood Armenia has little to celebrate, yet if it acts reasonably it can overcome its present predicament

Opinion: After thirty years of modern statehood Armenia has little to celebrate, yet if it acts reasonably it can overcome its present predicament

Armenia is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its independence but whilst it has all the attributes of a modern state a lot of its institutions are hollow. There is much that can be done, and if it acts reasonably, Armenia can celebrate its 50th anniversary of independence in twenty years’ time in a much more positive atmosphere, writes Benyamin Poghosyan in this anniversary op-ed. 
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Opinion
Borrell addresses EU-Russia relations in a meeting with MEPs

Borrell addresses EU-Russia relations in a meeting with MEPs

Russia remains our largest neighbour and it remains an important global actor. Not from the economic point of view, the economics of Russia is more or less the same size as Italy. It is much bigger in surface, but economically speaking it is a medium-sized state. They have a lot of gas, and gas is becoming more and more expensive. This is good news for them and bad news for us. They have the atomic arm, they have an important army and they use it when they need it. In any case, Russia will not disappear. It will be there and this will not change overnight.
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Editorial
Commentary: The West needs more than a charm offensive if it wants to maintain its relevance in the GCC space

Commentary: The West needs more than a charm offensive if it wants to maintain its relevance in the GCC space

Throughout the oil boom in the last quarter of the 20th century and since, the GCC countries were seen in the United States, Britain, France and elsewhere in Europe through the prism of being major oil exporters and arms importers. Western countries and the Arab Gulf monarchies need each other. But for their friendship to last it needs to be rebuilt on a different basis than has been the case so far.
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Opinion
Opinion: Armenia and Turkey again try to normalise relations, and this time it may work

Opinion: Armenia and Turkey again try to normalise relations, and this time it may work

"It is likely that Armenia and Turkey are close to making an official announcement about the launch of a new normalisation process. It may result in establishing diplomatic relations, and in Turkey deciding to open its border with Armenia", says Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed.
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Opinion
Opinion: An alternative view of Georgia’s European identity and past history

Opinion: An alternative view of Georgia’s European identity and past history

Georgia intends to submit an application for membership of the European Union in 2024. Whilst most Georgians assert the country’s European identity, alternative views are emerging. In this op-ed, GIPA doctoral student Archil Sikharulidze challenges the concept of Georgian “Europeaness”, and those who promote it.
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Analysis
Analysis: Central Asian countries need to remain focused on reforms despite new security threats

Analysis: Central Asian countries need to remain focused on reforms despite new security threats

The countries of Central Asia are at an important crossroads. The events in Afghanistan are not going to make their choices either more simple or more easy. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have taken very important steps in the last few years on the path to reform. It is important that they stay the course, and it is important for the EU and other western countries to help them in this task. If possible this should be done without adversarial engagement with either Russia or China, even though are likely to put obstacles in the way. Central Asia does not need another "great game". It needs support so it can develop and evolve for the benefit of its people, and so that the radical elements that have been successful in Afghanistan can be stopped in their stride.