The Mediterranean region and the European continent are inextricably linked from a geographical, historical, and strategic point of view. For this simple reason, it is impossible for the countries that lie on the two shores of this almost-closed sea to ignore each other for a long time. Consequently, international cooperation between them has always been intense, being reinforced by strong cultural and economic ties. Nevertheless, due to the high degree of instability that traditionally affects this area, the EU’s foreign policy towards many of its southern neighbours has usually been dominated by the theme of the security–development nexus. Lebanon is no exception. Having its modern history characterized by recurring social unrest, economic crises and civil wars, this small country has often drawn the attention of European policymakers. In 2019 the nation that was once called “the Switzerland of Middle East” has fallen again into a severe political paralysis and started to experience a deep economic downturn, which undermines inter alia the normal implementation of cooperation programmes with the EU (World Bank, 2021) The general election held in May 2022 was intended to put an end to this situation, but it didn’t. For as long as the crisis perseveres, risk Lebanon risks falling into another devastating civil war is becoming feasible. Therefore, stronger European engagement to maintain the country’s stability seems to be a matter of necessity, and it could be one of the last opportunities to save Lebanon from sinking.
Closer ties between Putin’s Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran in the field of security cooperation (voennoe sotrudnichestvo) has attracted significant attention from Western foreign policy-makers and academic scholars in recent years. Diplomatic isolation and commonly shared dissatisfaction with the long-established American hegemony has driven both countries into a pragmatic, stable and mutually beneficial rapprochement nearly a decade after a new chapter in their relationships was opened in 2012 (Ghadbeigy, 2017). By this time the return of Vladimir Putin to power was clearly interpreted as marking a watershed moment in Russian foreign policy doctrine and strategies that had long since been in vogue under the rule of Dmitriy Medvedev (Kozhanov, 2015).
On 20 July 2022, the European Commission announced that it would grant €1.2 billion to 61 collaborative defence research and development (R&D) projects under the European Defence Fund (EDF). The selected projects focus on a broad range of high-end defence capability development, from next-generation aircraft, ships and tanks to artificial intelligence and cyber capabilities, semiconductors and new materials, and quantum and other potentially disruptive technologies.
The war in Ukraine has called into question the European and international security system, making the idea of military collaborations concrete, particularly between France and the United States. The two countries believe it is crucial to increase cooperation between the allies and implement European defence.
Six weeks after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and as talks are getting louder about a possible integration of Sweden into NATO, the Försvarsmakten (Swedish Armed Forces) announced on 4 April 2022 that it had signed a technical agreement with Finland, Estonia, and Latvia to cooperate in a joint-procurement effort. These countries will thus jointly develop a new 6×6 armoured personnel carrier (APC) under the Finnish-led Common Armoured Vehicle System (CAVS) programme, in cooperation with the Finnish armoured vehicle manufacturer Patria.