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Failing the Sahel

A steady increase of violence in the Sahel region of Africa over the past eight years has imposed fear and hardship on millions of the people who live there. It has also pushed the governments of Sahel countries to work together to fight terrorists.

The region's troubles have also captured the attention of European leaders, who worry that if instability there continues, it could generate a movement of migrants that might well dwarf the EU refugee crisis of 2015-2016.

But is Europe helping to make things better?

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Europe offers support to Beirut; all eyes on Lukashenko's election

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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Will the Ukraine ceasefire last? COVID containment in Europe

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.

The Graphic Truth: Global approval for US leadership declines

Global approval for US leadership has dropped since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016 — but not equally across regions, according to an annual Gallup survey. The decline has been steeper in the Americas, Asia and Europe than in Africa, where approval for US leadership has dipped slightly under Trump but not as much as over the last seven years of the Obama administration. One reason that could explain the diversion is that Africa is rarely on Trump's radar, giving the US president less opportunity to make deeply polarizing statements about countries there, compared to other regions where he regularly antagonizes individual countries and their leaders. We compare the average US global leadership approval rates across world regions for the last ten years.

A deal on the EU Recovery Fund? North Macedonia and the EU

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

Is it likely that there will be a deal on the EU Recovery Fund at the summit this weekend?

That remains to be seen. There's a huge amount that needs to be decided, both concerning the immensely big recovery fund and also the entire seven-year budget for the entire European Union. And there are significant divergences between views, so far. So, there might be a deal, but it might also be somewhat delayed. I'm quite certain at the end of the day there will be the deal.

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