ECFR readers’ top choices this year – all in one place.
Mapping armed groups in west Africa; sitting down with Russia’s new generation of diplomats; taking on populism in the European Parliament election … this year ECFR ranged as far and wide as ever – if not farther – in its mission to strengthen European foreign policy.
As the Christmas lull draws near, ECFR presents its now-traditional rundown of the ten most popular reads of 2019 – the ideas that captured readers’ attention and imagination; the arguments that will influence the shape of Europe in the year to come.
Please like us, follow us, and use the coming break to give our World in 30 Minutes podcast a listen. Explore the rest of the writing our international experts brought you this year.
Most of all, have a great holiday and see you in 2020!
1) The 2019 European election: How anti-Europeans plan to wreck Europe and what can be done to stop it
by Susi Dennison, Pawel Zerka
This year Susi Dennison and Pawel Zerka argued for greater European resilience in the face of anti-European parties’ efforts to divide the EU. Ahead of the 2019 election to the European Parliament, ECFR investigated the political situation across the EU’s member states and identified ways pro-Europeans could fight back.
2) Mapping armed groups in Mali and the Sahel
by Andrew Lebovich
Violence is tearing Mali and the Sahel apart. But who are the armed groups behind the bloodshed? Where are international actors stationed in the region? And what motivates them all? This project mapped jihadist and non-jihadist groups and pinpointed the presence of external actors in the region.
3) China’s great game in the Middle East
by Camille Lons (project editor), Jonathan Fulton, Degang Sun, Naser Al-Tamimi
How should European policymakers understand China’s growing activity in the Middle East? Experts Camille Lons, Jonathan Fulton, Degang Sun, and Naser al-Tamimi brought together Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Western perspectives on China’s new “great game”.
4) Trading with Iran via the special purpose vehicle: How it can work
by Ellie Geranmayeh, Esfandyar Batmanghelidj
This year, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany formally registered a special purpose vehicle to help facilitate trade with Iran. ECFR set out what Europeans could do to help this succeed.
5) The last of the offended: Russia’s first post-Putin diplomats
by Kadri Liik
In Russia, the younger generations are starting to enter the corridors of power. ECFR’s Kadri Liik presented a portrait of the people who are set to become increasingly influential in the decades to come. Who are they; where do they come from; and what do they really think of Russia, the West, and the world?
6) From myth to reality: How to understand Turkey’s role in the Western Balkans
by Asli Aydıntaşbaş
Fears in Europe of Turkish expansionism in the Western Balkans have no basis in reality: governments there remain reluctant to act on Turkey’s behalf. Europeans should cease questioning Ankara’s motives and work on shared goals instead – hugging Turkey close and keeping it out of Russia’s embrace.
7) Negative energy: Berlin’s Trumpian turn on Nord Stream 2
by Gustav Gressel
Germany may love to rant about Donald Trump’s disruptive and confrontational behaviour – but its own government hardly behaved any differently when it came to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, wrote ECFR’s Gustav Gressel.
8) The march of Haftar: Why Europeans should stand in the way of the Libyan National Army
by Tarek Megerisi
This year the Libyan capital, Tripoli, came under real threat from the forces of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. Tarek Megerisi argued for Europe to cease standing by while Libya faced renewed civil war.
9) Seven days to save the European Union
by Susi Dennison, Mark Leonard
Ahead of the European Parliament election, ECFR’s pan-European polling revealed voters’ deep concerns about their futures.
10) Emmanuel Macron’s very big idea on Russia
by Gustav Gressel, Kadri Liik, Jeremy Shapiro, Tara Varma
ECFR experts examined the alarming – too many – implications of negotiations with Russia over a new European security order.
The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. This commentary, like all publications of the European Council on Foreign Relations, represents only the views of its authors.