The European Defence and Security Summit 2024

The 7th European Defence and Security Summit, held in Brussels on 17 April 2024, brought together distinguished speakers from EU institutions, national governments and the European defence industry to discuss pressuring security issues. The summit tackled critical issues concerning Europe’s response to ongoing conflicts and emerging security threats, focusing on how Europe can meet today’s and tomorrow’s security challenges.

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EU Foreign Affairs Council Approves Ukraine Assistance Fund (UAF): €5 Billion for Military Aid

The European Peace Facility (EPF) has emerged as a critical financial instrument for delivering EU military assistance to Ukraine following the unprovoked Russian aggression against the country (Bilquin, 2023).Conceived as part of the 2016 EU Global Strategy, the EPF was established by the Council on 22 March 2021 through Council Decision CFSP 2021/509. It substitutes and expands upon former financial instruments and it is tailored to provide quick responses to security crises (Council of European Union, 2021), funding both lethal and non-lethal military equipment and supplies (Council of the European Union, 2024).

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Leaving the (Space) Door Open: ISS Missions as a Platform for International Cooperation

On 3 March, three American and one Russian astronauts took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the Falcon-9 rocket, owned by Elon Musk's company SpaceX, to reachthe International Space Station (ISS) (Le Monde, 2024). A US-Russian partnership, sustained by a private actor, might seem quite surprising amidst renewed geopolitical tension. However, neither the space cooperation between the US and Russia nor the active involvement of private companies in public-funded space operations is new in the space field. The growing impact of these trends on the space activities of other actors, such as the EU, will be significant (Jones, 2023).

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Controversies around the EU-funded Senegalese security forces

On 29 February 2024, EU-funded Senegalese security forces violently suppressed pro- democracy protests (Nielsen, 2024). Controversy ensued as the Groupes d’Action Rapide – Surveillance et Intervention au Sahel (GAR-SI Sahel) security forces, initially trained to combat cross-border crime along Senegal’s border with Mali, were being utilised for domestic purposes (Popoviciu & Bautista, 2024).

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Sweden Strengthens Military Ties with France

On 31 January 2024, Sweden and France signed an agreement to deepen their partnership, engage in strategic dialogue on security and defence issues, expand cooperation in the field of research and development and advance their overall defence capabilities (Government of Sweden , 2024b). The cooperation extends to their armament industries and includes the production of essential supplies such as ammunitions, propellants, and explosives, thus rendering the European defence technological and industrial base more innovative, competitive, and resilient (Government of Sweden , 2024b). It is worth mentioning that France-Sweden defence cooperation is well- established, dating back to September 2021, when the two issued a joint declaration of intent concerning intensified defence cooperation in international operations and material provision (Government of Sweden , 2024a). Furthermore, in April 2023, they signed a framework arrangement to develop a common, improved version of a medium-range missile, paving the way for further collaboration in anti-tank missiles (Shepard News Team, 2024).

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