EU sanctions against Belarus: The EU has agreed on new sanctions against Belarus targeting “everyone involved” in facilitating the transport of people to Belarus’s border with Poland, where thousands are stuck in makeshift camps in freezing weather. A list of people and entities to be hit by asset freezes and travel bans is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks. It will include “people, airlines, travel agencies and everyone involved in this illegal push of migrants against our borders”, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said. The EU accuses the regime of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko of flying migrants, most of them from the Middle East, to the Belarus-Poland border, where they seek to enter the bloc’s territory.
German aid for musicians in Afghanistan: The Taliban hate musical performances and even their documentation. Musicians and musical heritage are therefore at risk. However, over one hundred Afghan music students and some of their family members are now safe. In early October, they were flown out to Portugal and given asylum there. Those who are currently still in Afghanistan face an uncertain future. The task now is to get more musicians out of the country. Many people have already been put on the evacuation lists of Germany’s Foreign Office. A few have already been contacted and some have already left Afghanistan. But the process is dragging on.
Possible end of the German development ministry: Little of the coalition negotiations in Germany is leaking out to the public. But rumors are circulating. One of them is particularly explosive: the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development could be dissolved. The ministry’s tasks include defining the priorities of German and international development policy, concluding contracts with recipient countries of development aid, providing funds for development projects and coordinating their implementation.
Cuba suppresses opposition protests: Cuba’s government deployed security forces in large numbers to repress a planned protest demanding democracy that has unsettled the regime, in the latest sign of rising social discontent fueled by an economic crisis. Police officers flooded streets in Havana and other cities early Monday, preventing protesters from marching. The government stationed secret police and civilian militants at the homes of protest organizers to keep them from meeting with other dissidents, according to residents in several Cuban cities.
Austria extends border controls with Slovenia and Hungary: Austria is extending the border controls with Slovenia and Hungary introduced over the course of the refugee crisis in 2015 by at least half a year. A corresponding decree is already in force, the Ministry of the Interior said in response to an APA query. Secondary migration and terrorist threat are given as reasons.
Opinion: The Belarus crisis is the last dress rehearsal for an EU foreign policy that can be taken seriously handelsblatt.com
National Security Council: Three-party coalition is incompatible with a central authority tagesspiegel.de
„Hot war“: Does the future of world politics lie in Indo-Pacific? snanews.de
Nuclear deal: Iran is the biggest foreign policy challenge for the new German coalition welt.de
NUMBER OF THE WEEK
The EU is considering a joint military force of up to 5,000 troops by 2025 to intervene in a range of crises and without relying on the United States, according to a draft plan.
Germans want an active role in the world and have a positive image of the Bundeswehr: Since 2014, a majority of the German population has been calling for an active role for Germany in the world. The Federal Republic should no longer stay out of crises and conflicts, but should play a role in resolving them. This is the conclusion of the recently published research report „Trendradar 2021“ by the Center for Military History and Social Sciences of the Bundeswehr. In this report, the development of public opinion on security and defense policy issues in the period from 2010 to 2020 was evaluated on the basis of surveys conducted annually by the center.
More missions, more money: The significance of the EU’s plans for the Bundeswehr: In addition to the debate on new sanctions against the regime in Belarus, the EU foreign and defense ministers also discussed the new „Strategic Compass“ for European foreign policy for the first time on Monday. Specifically, the EU is aiming for better crisis management, new partnerships, more military resolve and significantly improved military capabilities, as well as new instruments against disinformation and hybrid threats. If the EU states really get serious about their new ambitions, this could also have far-reaching consequences for the German Bundeswehr: According to experts, defense spending would then have to gradually increase from the current 47 billion euros to about 60 billion euros annually. In addition, German soldiers would have to be on the front line of dangerous crisis missions far more often than before.
Lukashenko brings migrants to EU border – thanks to Putin? The EU accuses Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of bringing people from the Middle East to Belarus via scheduled flights and then on to the Polish border – presumably in response to sanctions imposed by the EU because of the repression of civil society and the opposition in Belarus. Politicians from Poland and the Baltic States had stated from the outset that Russian President Vladimir Putin was supporting Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko in this. In the meantime, Western European politicians have also endorsed this view. For example, Germany’s caretaker interior minister Horst Seehofer reproached not only Lukashenko but also Putin. It is true that Minsk is not dependent on Moscow’s help in this operation. But all experts also agree that Minsk would never have unleashed a hybrid war against the EU and NATO without Moscow’s consent.
„It’s a very nasty political method that must be stopped at all costs.“
said German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer with regard to the actions of the Belarusian government.
Much more money for staff who don’t call in sick: Three times as much salary just for not calling in sick over the Christmas period? What is unimaginable in Germany is becoming a trend in the US. There, companies like Amazon, American Airlines or UPS are struggling with an unprecedented staff shortage. Some are going even further – and even hiring people who are still in prison.