On 24 August, La Tribune reported that France and Italy agreed on proposing to Germany Rome’s inclusion, represented by Leonardo, a prominent Italian defence company, in the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) programme (Cabirol, 2023). The MGCS aims to develop a future land warfare system that includes a Main Battle Tank (MBT) around 2040 (Oestergaard, 2021). This news was unsurprising since Italian participation had already been envisaged (Valpolini, 2020; Arivella & Moran, 2022). Until now, Paris has opposed the inclusion of other states. However, this move reflects an effort to restore balance in the initiative’s power dynamics, taking advantage of the fruitful history of Franco-Italian defence industrial cooperation (Defence Industry Europe, 2023; Meta Défense, 2023).
On the night of 25 July and 26, Niger experienced a coup which resulted in the arrest of President Bazoum by Chief Abdourahmane Tchiani, the leader of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Nation (CSNP) military junta, who claimed legitimate executive and legislative power in the country. Located in the Sahel region, Niger shares borders with Algeria and Libya to the north, Chad to the east, Nigeria and Benin to the south, and Burkina Faso and Mali to the west.
This Info Flash outlines the history of Operation Barkhane, offering a general overview of French and European efforts to maintain stability in the Sahel region over the past ten years. The principal causes of France’s disengagement are analysed taking into account external factors, such as the Russian-Ukrainian war at the end of February 2022. Because of the sensibility of this issue, Professor Luca Ranieri, one of the most prominent scholars dealing with security problems in the Sahel region, builds in an interview a critical assessment of Operation Barkhane. Understanding the main weaknesses of this initiative poses extreme usefulness in order to avoid repeating the same errors in the future.
On Wednesday, November 9th, 2022 France’s President Emmanuel Macron presented the new “Revue Nationale Stratégique” aboard the amphibious helicopter carrier Dixmude in Toulon, France (Ministère des Armées, 2022). The released document aims to define France’s main national and international security objectives for 2030. The document addresses the role of France as a respected actor in international security and at the core of the European strategic autonomy initiative.
Over the past two decades, the European Union (EU) has intensely recalibrated its strategies to fulfil its mission of promoting peace and security and guaranteeing democracy, rule of law, freedoms, human rights, and equality to its citizens. Given the increase in non-conventional threats in the cyber, hybrid, and “cybrid” domains, the EU has started to strengthen its response to this changing security environment. In this context, technological change has become the main character in a society whose governments, economies, people, and armies are highly dependent on hyper-connectivity and impacted by it. The technological transition has transformed how enemies attack their counterparts, fostering digital rivalries and tighter industry competition. To this end, the Union has recently launched the EU’s Secure Connectivity Programme (2023-2027), which encloses the third EU constellation of strategic space infrastructures called IRIS2. The latter, inter alia, has been designed to foster strategic autonomy in the Union, thereby reducing foreign dependencies. It is fundamental for the Union to enhance its ability to respond and counter cyber challenges with a comprehensive and collaborative approach, as individual and protectionist actions from the Member States obstruct the achievement of a higher degree of strategic autonomy in the technological and defence arenas.