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Brussels Blog

12 month period of political turbulence awaits western world

By the time that the results of the German federal elections are announced in Autumn 2017, the political landscape of the western world could look remarkably different to how it does today. By then, there could have been changes of government in Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Germany and most likely new Presidents in place in France, and Austria and definitely in the United States, all of which could have huge implications for co-operation amongst some of the world's most important political and economic players. Populism, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment and the far-right will feature heavily in most, if not all of these elections, where the liberal political and economic order will be tested to the maximum. This should not come as a surprise.

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YPFP statement on the Brussels attacks

On the morning of 22 March, two terrorist attacks took place at the Brussels Zaventem Airport and one at Maalbeek station, a central Brussels metro stop. Our primary thoughts are with the victims and injured and their loved ones. YPFP as a global community stands united in condemning these coordinated attacks. Although YPFP is a non-partisan organization, we share a common position that violent attacks against civilians is utterly abhorrent.

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Europe continues to struggle with its response to the refugee crisis

Brexit is not the only issue on the lips of Brussels political elite as EU political leaders travel to Brussels for what is sure to be a memorable Council meeting. Also today, the European Council meets to assess the progress made towards the implementation of the decisions taken in reaction to the migrant crisis. After many high-level meetings with external partners, such as Turkey and the Balkan States, EU leaders remain in search for a common strategy. Complicating the issue – Turkish officials who should also have been in Brussels to discuss their contributions to prevent irregular migration, have cancelled their visit following last night’s terrorist attack in Ankara.

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Consultation and consensus: Decisions made at NATO

How would you react if you sat around the table of the North Atlantic Council and had to respond to a terrorist attack in one of the allied countries? This is the question we asked our members as they took part in the first every Brussels YPFP North Atlantic Council Simulation. The North Atlantic Council is NATO´s oldest and highest decision-making body, all decisions are reached through consensus. Rounding up our Action Points Series, generously supported by NATO, the Simulation aimed to immerse members in the trappings of decision-making and give them better insight into how the North Atlantic Alliance operates. Following the simulation our members came up with four takeaways on how decisions are made at NATO HQ.


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YPFP Brussels Gala 2015: A night to celebrate and reflect on the year that was

On Friday 20 November, YPFP Brussels members and friends celebrated seven years of fostering the next generation of foreign policy leaders at our annual gala dinner.  For the first time, the Gala attracted significant corporate support from our Gold sponsor Google and our Silver sponsors Chevron and ExxonMobil. Our corporate sponsors interacted with 70 young professionals and YPFP partners.

 

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NATO deterrence, European reluctance?

YPFP Brussels hosted NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow as a part of our Action Points Series in collaborations with NATO. With instability looming on the Alliance’s eastern and southern flanks, the discussion with Ambassador Vershbow took our members on a tour de table of NATO’s development from the Cold War until today. His address, focused on the renewed relevance of deterrence in a new and unpredictable international security environment.

 

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Speech at the YPFP Brussels Gala by D.H. Doyle

At our 2015 YPFP Brussels Gala, D.H. Doyle, Chair of YPFP Brussels' Advisory Committee and a former Executive Director, gave a poignant speech on the objectives and message of YPFP and on thoughtful leadership. 

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NATO: Hybrid of Alliance and Network?

A flagship initiative coming out of the NATO 2014 Wales Summit was the Alliance's Partnership Interoperability Platform. The Platform adds to NATO's longstanding partnership structures which allow the Alliance to cooperate with countries which cannot or will not join the Alliance. NATO seeks to deepen its partnerships by ensuring that troops as far afield as Sweden, New Zealand and Jordan can be deployed together with NATO forces. The Platform is a forum where NATO invites its partners to discuss and deepen interoperability initiatives.

In our events series "Action Points" we gave our members a chance to understand the workings of the Platform and how important it is for NATO to reach beyond the Alliance members. At the beginning of this workshop, members broadened their understanding of an Alliance many perceived in classical terms of territorial defence.


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Two reasons why the NATO Spearhead still matters

Earlier this year, YPFP Brussels, with the support of NATO, challenged our members to make concrete proposals for the best use of NATO’s expeditionary forces. The backdrop was the 2014 NATO Wales Summit where outgoing Secretary-General Rasmussen launched NATO's new spearhead force (VJTF – Very High Readiness Joint Task Force). NATO’s rapid response force dates back to 2006, but with the advent of the new VJTF significantly improved the Alliance's ability to intervene quickly in evolving security challenges.

A year into the Spearhead Force build-up we have seen significant steps made by the Alliance to reduce force response time, yet in the wake of terror threats and an ongoing Syrian civil war where NATO is playing a marginal role, pundits are again asking, what is the point of a VJTF if political will to deploy it is lacking? Håvard Sandvik, Director, Security and Defence Programming argues that the Spearhead helps NATO in two key ways, likely to reappear in the context of next year's Warsaw Summit. 

 

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FOREIGN AFFAIRS SUMMER READING LIST

For many of us, summer is the perfect time to catch-up on our reading lists that do not include memos, briefings or emails. Even President Obama unveiled the books that will keep him busy over the warm summer months. 

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