Europe

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, with the view from Europe:

What's really going on between the EU and the UK with the UK government threatening to change the so-called Withdrawal Agreement?

Yup, it's really bad. Because what Boris Johnson has proposed is for the UK government to defect and break international law by going away from a substantially important part of the Withdrawal Agreement that has to do with the Northern Ireland peace process. This is a break of trust between the EU and the UK, if it goes ahead. It will have very serious ramifications. And I think if it happens, I think sorry to say, that we are headed for a crash between the European Union and the UK with bad ramifications all across the board. We'll see. Not good.

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on Europe In 60 Seconds:

Why would it be significant if the nerve agent Novichok, in particular, was used to poison Aleksei Navalny?

Highly significant. And the German government is absolutely certain, they say, that it was of the family of Novichok. Novichok isn't just anything. It is an extremely sophisticated, extremely dangerous, extremely difficult to manufacture nerve agent. It is no question that this is a nerve agent a poison that has origin in Russian state laboratories. And that, of course, has vast implications for the conclusions that we must draw.

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Microsoft announced earlier this year the launch of a new United Nations representation office to deepen their support for the UN's mission and work. Many of the big challenges facing society can only be addressed effectively through multi-stakeholder action. Whether it's public health, environmental sustainability, cybersecurity, terrorist content online or the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, Microsoft has found that progress requires two elements - international cooperation among governments and inclusive initiatives that bring in civil society and private sector organizations to collaborate on solutions. Microsoft provided an update on their mission, activities for the 75th UN General Assembly, and the team. To read the announcement from Microsoft's Vice President of UN Affairs, John Frank, visit Microsoft On The Issues.

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on Europe In 60 Seconds:

What is the story with the resignation of the EU trade commissioner, Phil Hogan?

Well, he was unwise in that he didn't respect the rules and the regulations that are there for how to behave in these Covid times. It was primarily Irish regulations or Irish recommendations that he didn't adhere to. And accordingly, there was the strong urge by the government in Dublin that he should resign. And that he did, by his own choice. And now we'll see who will succeed him in that very important position.

What's going to be the European reaction to the poisoning of Aleksei Navalny in Moscow?

I think the reaction so far has been strong. Particularly Berlin, they were keen to get him to the hospital in Berlin. They did thorough investigations and they declared, yes, he has been poisoned. And Chancellor Merkel made a very strong statement saying that he has been poisoned, those responsible have to be put into account or to account, and there has to be independent investigations. That being said, everyone knows where responsibility lies. Everyone knows there will be no investigation. Everyone knows those responsible will not be held to account. This is Russia as we have it today.

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, with this week's Europe In (more than) 60 Seconds

So what's really going on in Belarus and where is it likely to end?

Well, I wish I knew where it's going to end, I don't.

But look at the background first, briefly, what is Belarus?

Well, it's nine million people situated on the plains of Central Europe. It's an area that historically has been part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth for a long time. But of course, during the last few centuries, has been part of Russia or the Soviet Union. It was a fairly docile and uninteresting Soviet republic, very much destroyed in the horrors of the Second World War, where a lot of the fighting, the major fighting was on the territory of what is today Belarus, with the Holocaust and German and Soviet armies and all of those horrors, and rebuilt in Soviet style to a certain extent, if you look at Minsk. Then when the Soviet Union fell, Alexander Lukashenko, who had been running a collective farm, took over and has been running it since then. I think he was winning elections genuinely in the beginning, no question about that. But in their later decades, he has been falsifying elections and he has been ruling by repression. That works for a while and now it doesn't work any longer. He probably thought that he could repeat that performance this time. Falsification, 80%, he said. No one believes that. And then an amount of repression and then go back to business as usual. That did not work. That did not work. Things have changed.

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on Europe In 60 Seconds (from Tabiano Castello in northern Italy):

What is the situation in Belarus with the opposition leader fleeing to Lithuania?

The situation is fluid and I think that while the regime hoped that significant repression would bring it under control, more than 6,000 arrested, the wave of strikes that we now see starting makes it very, very fluid situation. So, all bets are off. But they will do whatever to preserve their powers.

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, with the view from Europe:

How will Europe help with the catastrophe in Beirut?

You will see Europe mobilizing quite a lot of help. President Macron of France rushed there. That's natural due to the historical links between France and Lebanon, but also the European Commission and other countries are now mobilizing quite substantially. We are nearby. We have an interest in helping them.

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, with the view from Europe:

Will the recent ceasefire between Ukraine and the Russian-backed separatists lead to a solution of the conflict?

That's much too early to say. At first, it remains to be seen if this ceasefire will hold. There have been a number of ceasefires and all of them have collapsed sooner or later. We'll see first what happens with this one. Will it lead to further political talks between Kiev and Moscow, primarily? That remains to be seen. I mean, there have been no indication so far of change in the basic Russian attitude of keeping on to Donbass, the one way or the other. So, let's hope for the best but let's be rather skeptical about all that's happening.

Will the recent upsurge of coronavirus and different measures taken against it in Spain lead to a new lockdown in Europe?

No, I don't think it will. I mean, you will certainly see, as you see elsewhere, sort of outburst here and there, but I think that there are better capabilities now in Europe to localize those particular outbursts and try to contain them. So, a return to the big lockdowns that was always the beginning of the year, that is, I think, neither necessary nor likely.

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