The European Union Foreign Relations Challenges in the Year 2012

2012 context: In the year 2012, the EU had 27 members and had 61 years of history behind (if we consider its beginnings to be rooted in the European Coal and Steel Community or 19 years since the Maastricht treaty which formally created the European Union. Aside from the 27 official members, Croatia is expected to become a member this year, on the 1st of July, There are five candidate countries: Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina are officially recognized as potential candidates.

Kosovo is also listed as a potential candidate but the European Commission does not list it as an independent country because not all member states recognize it as an independent country separate from Serbia. Four countries forming the EFTA (that are not EU members) have partly committed to the EU’s economy and regulations: Iceland (a candidate), Liechtenstein and Norway and Switzerland. The relationships of the European microstates, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican include the use of the euro and other areas of cooperation. EU-US relationship in 2012.

The transatlantic relationship is the world’s largest economic relationship, accounting for half of global economic output and nearly one trillion dollars in goods and services trade and supporting millions of jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. Still, there is more to be done to deepen and broaden the ties. A strong outcome can enhance not only transatlantic economic ties, but also address shared market access challenges in third countries and encourage a forward-looking multilateral trade liberalization agenda. So, in June 2012 there were some changes regarding the EU-US relationship.

There were identified some policies and measures to increase trade and investment to support mutually beneficial job creation, economic growth, and competitiveness, working closely with public and private sector stakeholder groups, and drawing on existing dialogues and mechanisms, as appropriate: ? Elimination or reduction of conventional barriers to trade in goods, such as tariffs and tariff-rate quotas. ? Elimination, reduction, or prevention of barriers to trade in goods, services, and investment. ? Opportunities for enhancing the compatibility of regulations and standards.

? Elimination, reduction, or prevention of unnecessary “behind the border” non-tariff barriers to trade in all categories. ? Enhanced cooperation for the development of rules and principles on global issues of common concern and also for the achievement of shared economic goals relating to third countries. The EU and the US have interests in keeping their good relations and in 2012 they both did so. EU- Transnistria relation Transnistria is a breakaway territory located mostly on a strip of land between the River Dniester and the eastern Moldovan border with Ukraine.

Since its declaration of independence in 1990, and especially after the War of Transnistria in 1992, it is governed as the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR, also known as Pridnestrovie), a state with limited recognition. The Republic of Moldova does not recognise PMR and considers most territory of Transnistria as part of Moldova. After the dissolution of the USSR, tensions between Moldova and the breakaway unrecognized state escalated into a military conflict that started in 1992.

Although the ceasefire has held, the territory’s political status remains unresolved: while internationally unrecognised, Transnistria is, in effect, an independent state, organized as a presidential republic, with its own government, parliament, military, police, postal system, and currency. However, following a 2005 agreement between Moldova and Ukraine, all Transnistrian companies seeking to export goods through the Ukrainian border must be registered with the Moldovan authorities.

This agreement was implemented after the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) started its activity in 2005. Most Transnistrians also have Moldovan citizenship, but there are also many Transnistrians with Russian and Ukrainian citizenship. More than two decades after the territory of Transnistria declared its independence from the post-Soviet state of Moldova, the EU has a real opportunity to solve the conflict and reunite Moldova. Aside from Russia, the EU is now the main international actor involved in conflict settlement.

Over the last decade, it has had an impact on conflict settlement in Transnistria in two ways: by taking direct actions to influence conflict resolution, in diplomacy, security, trade, and the financial sphere; and by influencing the international environment and actors like Russia and Ukraine. New developments have created conditions for potential progress on Transnistria: Angela Merkel visited Moldova in August 2012; Russia appointed Dmitry Rogozin, a political heavyweight, to Transnistria; and both Moldova and Transnistria have recently elected new leaders.

But although Transnistria has the reputation of being the most solvable of the post-Soviet conflicts, a quick and dirty deal might be detrimental to long-term progress EU- Israel relation The EU offered Israel upgraded trade and diplomatic relations in more than 60 areas at a high-level meeting in Brussels in July 2012, just weeks after European foreign ministers warned that Israeli policies in the West Bank “threaten to make a two-state solution impossible”.

The EU will widen its relationship with Jerusalem on a range of areas including migration, energy and agriculture. It will remove obstacles impeding Israel’s access to European government-controlled markets and enhance Israel’s co-operation with nine EU agencies, including Europol and the European Space Agency. Some EU diplomats weren’t very happy: “I was struck by the fact that a whole range of relations was offered to Israel – at the request of Israel – as if nothing is happening on the ground,” the diplomat said.

“Most ministers are too afraid to speak out in case they are singled out as being too critical towards Israel, because, in the end, relations with Israel are on the one hand relations with the Jewish community at large and on the other hand with Washington – nobody wants to have fuss with Washington. So ministers are fine with making political statements but they refrain from taking concrete action. ” This upgrade was made on a former good relation between the EU and Israel that started with a Cooperation Agreement in 1975.

EU- Syria The Syrian civil war, is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Syrian Ba’ath Party government and those seeking to oust it. The conflict began on 15 March 2011 with nationwide demonstrations, as part of the wider protest movement known as the Arab Spring. Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, the present personification of his family’s decades-long rule, as well as the end to nearly five decades of Ba’ath Party rule.

In January 2012, the EU started to be really concerned about this conflict, especially since some members of the press died or disappeared. European Union governments started tightening sanctions agreeing new restrictions against the country’ arms industry and other measures. The round of measures included an embargo on arms sales to Syria and come at a time when Assad is showing no sign of easing his violent response to a popular rebellion against his rule.

The prohibitions include a ban on importing Syrian weapons to Europe, transporting them anywhere or supplying any financial services such as insurance to fund purchases of Syrian arms. “No EU citizens or companies must be involved in Syrian military cooperation with third countries, which could benefit the Syrian regime,” EU foreign ministers The EU also denied Syrian airlines access to its airports, bolstering a ban on cargo flights to Europe. Twenty eight Syrians were added to a list of those targeted by EU asset freezes and travel bans, bringing the total number of people facing such sanctions to 181.

The ministers also expressed concern over the spillover of the Syrian crisis to Turkey and called on all sides to prevent any escalation of conflict between Damascus and Ankara. “The European Union remains deeply concerned by the spill-over effects of the Syrian crisis in neighboring countries in terms of security and stability,” the ministers said. “The EU calls on all to prevent escalation.

Conclusion In 2012, EU has consolidated its relations with SUA. This is the best option for this particular union because they both are big actors on the geopolitical map and the better they get along, the better it is for everybody. It would be terrible if these two ever had a big conflict. The Transnistrian conflict is a very complicated matter and the EU tried to manage it as diplomatically as possible. So, realistically, the international community and the EU should not push right now for a quick solution to the conflict. EU should keep Transnistria in the spotlight of its diplomatic engagement with Russia so as to push for greater confidence building between Moldova and Transnistria.

This conflict will not be solved through a diplomatic blitzkrieg. Israel and Syria are both conflictual territories. While Israel provided an enlargement of the existing good relations, while Syria was frowned upon its conflict and sanctioned according to its actions. 2013 will be a tough year so EU representatives should prepare their diplomatic skills from now on. Sources: www. reuters. com, www. consilium. europa. eu, ecfr. eu, www. fride. org, wikipedia. com.