L E T T E R F R O M T H E S E C R E TA RY - G E N E RA L Dear readers, distinguished delegates and chairs, dear friends of EuroMUN and the Maastricht Diplomat, It is with great pleasure that I can present to you the very first issue of the Maastricht Diplomat, EuroMUN conference edition. If you have been active in the model United Nations scene before EuroMUN 2021, you will know that magazines like this are not common at MUN conferences. There are several reasons and a set of circumstances which lead to you being able to hold this magazine in your hand. EuroMUN is organized annually by the United Nations Student Association Maastricht. Every member of the organizing team is also a member of the association. But UNSA does more than just MUN. One of the other committees is the Maastricht Diplomat, a student lead journal which covers topics from the world of international politics over societal topics to typical student issues. This year, EuroMUN capitalizes on the in-house journalist team, as the Maastricht Diplomat covers the EuroMUN topics. This includes this magazine with individual takes on the topics chosen by the EuroMUN chairs and the press coverage of the committee proceedings during the conference. The EuroMUN team is deeply grateful for the Maastricht Diplomat’s involvement and work! When I had first gathered the Secretariat in the summer ahead of the academic year 2020/21, our first “Corona summer”, it was unclear what the future would hold for EuroMUN. The insecurity as to what would be within a month from now, is one that we all had gotten used to by then. It was almost half a year into the pandemic after all. The insecurity of organizing EuroMUN, one of the biggest and oldest MUN conferences in Europe, felt different. It was unclear, whether we might be able to hold our conference in Maastricht this May as we were used to, or whether the pandemic would still make this impossible as it did in 2020. We just knew that none of us wanted to see another year without EuroMUN and so we started planning not one, but two conferences. We planned the EuroMUN we wished for (in-person), while preparing to move our plans online should we need to. In the beginning of 2021 it became clear that we would have to hold the conference in the online setting, in which we will be welcoming you all soon. Our conference theme this year is “Forward through system change”. In the context of conference organization it means that we need to keep moving forward, even though MUNs may not look the way they used to. It means that we need to think on our feet and come up with creative solutions to still make the conference an enjoyable and unique experience. The team has done an amazing job in preparing such an experience for you. This magazine is part of that experience! It is an unorthodox way of allowing you to dive deeper into the conference setting and immerse yourself with what happens at the conference. We hope that you will read this magazine to get you into the MUN mood before the conference, that you will skim it during the conference days when you need to take a break from screen time and that it will be something you look through again months or even years after the conference when MUN nostalgia hits. Now there is nothing left for me to do other than thanking all who made this magazine possible. A big thank you goes to the Maastricht Diplomat for their journalistic takes on the EuroMUN topics and an equally big thank you has to go to the UNSA Marketing team for creating the amazing design you are looking at right now! I wish you an insightful and entertaining time with this magazine and hope to see you at EuroMUN - 2021 and beyond!
Julian Schneider Secretary-General and Conference Manager, EuroMUN 2021 2
E D I TO R I A L The pandemic-ridden year has brought many challenges to our little journalism team and the thought of dropping a long-cherished tradition was heartbreaking for many, myself included. So when Julian approached me in the summer of 2020 with the proposal of a EuroMUN x Maastricht Diplomat printed edition, my heart soared. Not only was a much loved pillar of the UNSA being restored, but it was heralding a new era of association integration. For the first time, the Maastricht Diplomat and EuroMUN were to collaborate on a project together. Their topics and our words. Excellent. It has been a curious project for us, but one we hope to be most worthwhile. In normal times, we would set our own agendas, deadlines, budgets, and designs. But, as we all well know by now, these are not normal times. Instead, we have been given topics (with a wee bit of leeway) by others and our articles are being handed over to a wholly separate design team altogether. A truly UNSA team effort. In the spirit of this year’s governing board, and the efforts therein to make our association thrive in a difficult year, this printed edition represents the coming together of teams from many different fields of expertise with many different levels of experience. Within these pages you will find topics ranging from the African Union to the Suez Canal and from environmental issues to a Magdeburg Marriage. They have been brought to you by first time writers and by veterans of the craft; all lovingly packed and designed by a team of experts and the face of the future of the UNSA. I am positive that this little edition will provide you all with that little extra something to remember EuroMUN, the UNSA, and Maastricht by, and I am proud to end my time with the Journal committee with this print magazine. Happy reading!
Michael William Keith Editor-in-Chief, Maastricht Diplomat
4 Forced loneliness
New challenges for the WHO Mental Health plan in light of the pandemic World Health Organisation
6 The persistent nature of blood diamonds
Permitting slavery in the Modern Diamond Pipeline Human Rights Council
8 Learning from the EU’s mistakes
Pan-Africanism and sustainable strategies to provide electricity for all African Union
10 The Eastern Mediterranean dispute
and the future of NATO as a security alliance North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
12 Rule of law conditionality of the EU budget Council of the EU & European Parliament
14 Piracy, kidnapping and maritime instability
The Gulf of Guinea has caught Europe’s attention European Council
16 A war of words fought in the dark
United Nations Security Council
19 The bloody Wedding of Magdeburg
22 The Suez Canal
Constant Crisis and a Continuing Conundrum Historical Committe
24 Who put the ‘unequal’ in ‘renewable’? Group of 20
26 Welcome to EuroMUN!
Meet our organising team, cook with us and know more about the schedule! 3
W O R L D H E A L T H O R G A N I S AT I O N
Forced loneliness new challenges for the WHO Mental health plan in light of the pandemic by Carmen Critelli and Teresa Costa neglecting of one’s health, higher risk for suicide as well as dementia.
‘Imagine yourself closed for months in a cage. You can only communicate with others through the cage’s bars and you are not able to free yourself. You can try to talk and ask for help, but you cannot escape.’
he current Covid-19 pandemic has forced most of us to introduce new and unprecedented social distancing and isolation guidelines. These ‘social’ rules have substantially changed the way most people live and perceive their own dayto-day reality. In fact, the current pandemic is not only threatening people’s physical health, but it is also putting their mental and psychological well-being at stake. Despite individual differences and other risk factors, extended periods of social isolation and loneliness generally have a pejorative effect on individuals. Especially in the case of mental health, long-term loneliness can lead to sleep disturbance, increased depressive symptoms, 4
The current situation is even more peculiar because it forces people to face a new type of loneliness which does not only depend on personal circumstances. In fact, there is a difference between ‘feeling alone’ or loneliness and ‘being alone’ or isolated. ‘Loneliness’ refers to a subjective feeling (Even though I see my friends every day, I still feel lonely) which can or cannot be influenced by the level and quality of one’s social interactions. ‘Isolation’, instead, is an objective state which refers to actually being alone, without social contact and/or interactions (I am alone, I am isolated). Loneliness was a mental health concern also before the pandemic, being already considered a serious epidemic especially in the United States. At the same time, though, it was also easier for most people to manage it by engaging more often in social activities or looking for more satisfying interpersonal relationships. Instead, the current pandemic has introduced a new type of ‘forced loneliness’ which does not solely depend on subjective experiences and where the usual remedies do not and cannot work anymore. For this reason, new solutions need to be found and awareness on the pejorative psychological effects of isolation needs to be addressed. Loneliness is not the only running
sore that quarantine flared up. Other variables enforced by the pandemic worsened people’s mental health. Changes in the daily routine, anxiety and the impossibility for some people to exercise due to the gym’ closures led to an escalation of eating disorders (EDs) cases and aggravated the condition of people already suffering from them. Several psychotherapists noticed the rising of an alarming number of people experiencing a troubled relation with eating due to lockdown’s restrictions, which consequently led to mental health instability and worsening already existing disorders. The Journal of Eating Disorders estimates that 83.1% of the patients interviewed reported that their ED’s symptoms had worsened since the outbreak of the pandemic. This is probably connected to the general condition of uncertainty and heightened anxiety. In fact, one of the principal causes that influence the presence of an anxiety disorder is environmental change. As the Covid-19 has altered all the aspects of everyday life, anxiety has become a recurrent mental health followup factor that has led to different illnesses such as EDs. Indeed, there is a closed relationship between anxiety and EDs. Often, anxiety precedes them. The patient, struggling with anxiety, cannot manage certain aspects of his/her life. Eating
habits, weight, and exercise spin out of control of the patient’s sight or reversely, the patient believes to have a false sense of control, which is unhealthy. One significant factor that characterizes some of the most common eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia and bingeeating) is the obsessing relation with food. As people are stuck at home all day long, without any distraction or motivation, anxiety and uncertainty led some of them to focus too much time on their bodies’ image or exacerbate eating habits and addictions. Also, the excessive use of social media created a breeding ground for the development of eating disorders, especially adolescents faced constant pressure from social media interaction such as TikTok and Instagram, where many users inundated the feed with posts about “how to lose weight” and the importance of exercise to not gain weight during such crises. As Dr Agnes Ayton, the Eating Disorder Faculty Director at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, stresses, certain messages were particularly “unhelpful” to people who suffer from obesity and orthorexia. Considering what it has been said about the current situation and the challenges every individual is facing and will have to face; and considering that the effects of social isolation and loneliness pose a serious challenge on people’s well-being; it seems therefore necessary to look at these problems as pressing mental and public health concerns and to properly address them. Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO from 2007 to 2017, presents the Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 (MHAP) as an essential tool to achieve mental health that is crucial in ensuring well-being for all
people. The plan, therefore, aims to grant equity through universal health coverage by stressing the importance of prevention. However, the effects of isolation on mental health are not discussed sufficiently in the MHAP. Specifically, the circumstances of ‘forced loneliness’ brought by the pandemic need to be taken into consideration. One element that stands out from the MHAP is the idea of ‘community-based’ support and services. The plan aims at providing mental health and social care services in a communitybased fashion, emphasizing the idea of community and support groups. However, given the current circumstances, the idea of community is fading and the extent of interconnectivity between individuals has drastically decreased. Since the effects of the global pandemic will probably shape and change the way we socially organize and interact, an alternative network of care should be provided. Perhaps, this health care network should be based on a different conceptualization of community and support groups which is not centred on physical collectives and traditional programmes of social participation. Instead, a new type of social support could be provided which focuses especially on the role of loneliness and its impact on mental health. Thus, ‘special’ mental health care programmes should look at how to re-connect individuals after a global pandemic, how to support them in nurturing healthy and enriching relationships and creating new services such as more ‘individualised’ or ‘homebased’ support to improve emotional health. Although socially interacting online is not equal to physically meeting, the plan should also integrate ‘online’ health care programmes and services, as they will probably be needed in the future.
In regard to EDs, as many of the behaviours associated with the different diagnoses can have fatal impacts on both physical and psychological well-being, it is crucial that the patients can fight those disorders from different fronts. Indeed, anyone living with an eating disorder should receive care from a multidisciplinary team of professionals including a therapist, doctor, dietist and/ or a prescriber if necessary. Therefore, the MHAP needs to address the new challenges brought by the forced isolation and give more relevance to people affected by EDs giving them a multidisciplinary support which can help them in their process of rehabilitation. Indeed, as most of the bed spots in the hospital were reserved to COVID-19 patients, people suffering from EDs were left behind. The international community must recognise the importance of fighting mental health issues as it has been highlighted during the pandemic, and only thanks to that, we will be able to get out of the tunnel.
U N I T E D N AT I O N S H U M A N R I G H TS C O U N C I L
The persistent nature of blood diamonds Permitting slavery in the Modern Diamond Pipeline by Ethan Bergman
As the old saying goes, some would claim that Diamonds are forever. Yet, does that include the accompanying exploitative characteristics of their trade?
iamonds come in all shapes, sizes, colours and specialties. So do the diggers that are forced to mine and sieve rivers, known as alluvial deposits, in order to discover these rocks. This reality is not a sequence of circumstances stuck in the past, rather, painful experiences that plague our collective society strongly into the 21th century. Numerous central and westAfrican states fell victim to this phenomenon as consequences of war, poverty and greed. These diggers are not members of the large industrialized mines. Rather, they are often exploited workers, akin to slaves, that are forced to dig by local militias. The militias’ discovered rocks are often sold and distributed in diamond hubs such as New York, Mumbai and Antwerp. Once the diamonds are cut and sold, there is no way of tracing the diamonds back to the origin. From Sierra Leone, to Angola and Zimbabwe, Blood 6
Diamonds ruin the lives of many and our culture of blind consumerism for diamonds is pushing this practice forward whilst sponsoring slavery. There are current rumours and fragments of evidence which indicate that the Blood Diamond industry is gradually expanding in lawless Zimbabwe. Our obsession with diamonds is expressed in most facets of society. From simple decorations and garments, to industrial tool usage and wedding ceremonies, our thirst for bling is demonstrated everywhere and desires for it remain prevalent. So how is the international community responding to the threat of Blood Diamonds? How is security guaranteed?
The Exploit of Bling, Reforms and Modernity To comprehend the current diamond industry, from the earth’s surface to your ring, it is crucial to address the exploits and tactics of the company that has held a monopoly over diamonds’ demand and supply for one hundred years. Namely, the De Beers Group. Since its inception, it has worked on the creation of two illusions. First, diamonds are
a necessity to express l o v e . Second, that the g e m s are rare and limited. A lie which has forced the company to install mines at most of the world’s abundant diamond deposits to keep others from discovering the deposits and flooding the market. What has happened since? International attention was brought to the De Beers Group due to UN’ investigations into the role of diamonds in the financing, and enduring of, conflicts in diamond-rich African states. It was also discovered that De Beers Group had been buying uncut diamonds from corrupt states and groups. In the 90’s, about 20% of earth’s diamonds were linked to conflicts whilst it has apparently drastically decreased since then due to the strong positions companies claim to take revolving Blood diamonds.
The movie titled Blood Diamond, is for many the extent of exposure to the lucrative conflict-related scandal at the turn of the century. However, the film’s conclusion implies that the world will not repeat the same continued endorsement of slavery, making many believe that this signified the end of the diamond quagmire. Therefore, it is time to analyse the situation once again in 2021 and illustrate the success of De Beers Group’s framework whilst investigating
if international traders are implicit in human right abuses. In 2000, UN investigations which exposed the extent of the diamond-conflict relation led to a meeting of African diamond-producing states in Kimberly, South Africa. There, an international certification scheme for rough diamonds was established. Namely, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was adopted by the UN Security Council in 2003 (KPCS). The KPCS relies on its 54 participant states, which are all rough diamond producing states or importing states, to prevent the rough diamond market from being involved with conflict diamonds and the financing of rebels.
The Shield of the Kimberley Process While it is considered a ‘noble’ decision to participate in this process, the reality is that the proactive measures undertaken by its members are disappointing, making it appear that being a KPCS participant implies adhering to an empty promise. Its revisions and results are so underwhelming that certain observers, such as Global Witness and IMPACT, have questioned the overall effectiveness of the process and abandoned the scheme. But other representatives have resigned as well due to the pointlessness of its current existence. So, what is the issue? And, can we still beat slavery-involved sales of blood diamonds? For starters, the KPCS employs a system of guarantees that are audited and reconciled on an annual basis. These are documents, that need to be signed by both buyers and sellers on each level, which include the statement: ‘The seller
hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantee provided by the supplier of these diamonds’. Obviously, this vague statement leaves room for violations and frauds. A recent discovery erupted during the pandemic which consists of forged guarantees originating from various Central African states, including Southern Zimbabwe. The number of fraudulent guarantees is unknown, but dozens have been discovered from different states. With corruption rampant in certain African governments, one can not be certain at what societal levels these fraudulent guarantees were made, seeing that the KPCS’s participating governments are themselves responsible for the production of such guarantees. The guarantee system can therefore never be transparent as every seller’s guarantee, and signed promise, can rarely be confirmed by an authentic source. Surprisingly, the guarantee is also not allowed to be reviewed by third parties. Moreover, the sellers in boutiques can never trace the entire Diamond’s origin as only certain information is provided on the customer-destined guarantee such as the country and supposed mine of origin. Second, the narrow definition of the KPCS is an advantage for corrupt politicians and rebels as it makes the entire Scheme circumventable. For instance, ‘Conflict Diamonds’ are defined as “rough diamonds used by rebel movements against legitimate governments”. If a government fails to identify a group as rebels, or if the diamond connection with that group can be covered up, there is a severe risk posed to human rights. This is the case in Zimbabwe.
Third, the KPCS only applies to rough diamonds. As a result, the gems can no longer be tracked and covered by the scheme following their cut and polishment. Exploiters in African States often smuggle blood diamonds to neighbouring states, where they are cut and no longer need to be treated under the guarantee system nor KPCS. Therefore, an expansion of the scheme’s mandate to covering all diamonds from certain regions is advised for a significantly more effective process in removing slavery from supply chaines. As States and the diamond industry can not tackle the issue of discussing the termination of blood diamonds, perhaps it is time to revise the security and certificate system. In case of upcoming conflicts, or the discovery of new diamond fields in corrupt states, the potential for further enslavement becomes immeasurable as the scheme is not solid enough and rather acts as a nobel symbol signifying intolerance towards slavery. Perhaps, further investigations by 3rd parties into government operations and schemes could improve the system. Or, a scheme revision into a solidified electronic system provides more protection. Yet, one thing is certain. The scheme has dozens of issues and loopholes permitting further enslavement and the diamond industry needs to act collectively out of compassion and intolerance rather than focusing on its nobility since human right abuses still occur and diamond traders in cities like Antwerp are clueless regarding the role of slavery in their gems. These traders prefer not to discuss the origin due to cluenessless and would rather oversimplify and lie to complement the diamonds’ mysteriousness, ensuring their fortune in exchange for turning a blind eye to misfortune. 7
Learning from the EU’s mistakes Pan-Africanism and sustainable strategies to provide electricity for all by Céline Zahno
n 2013, the African Union introduced Agenda 2063, its masterplan to transform Africa into a prosperous force in the international arena. Agenda 2063 puts an ambitious trajectory for the future of Africa on the table that is based on a pan-African strategy to achieve growth, development and progress in the next 50 years. Energy policy represents a major part of the development trajectory and amongst its various goals, Agenda 2063 names increasing electricity access by 50% compared to 2013. Meanwhile, the state of Africa’s electricity access is looking grim: over 600 million people in subSaharan Africa, which is around half of Africa’s population, are experiencing electricity shortages or do not have access at all. When not even hospitals can rely on steady electricity supply, the services fulfilling the basic needs of the population are in a dire state. In a time when energy demand is constantly rising and economies are heavily dependent on stable electricity access, the ambitious progress forecasted by the Agenda 2063 is moving bitterly slow. Since 2013, only 15 million out of the 600 million people without electricity have been provided with stable 8
access to power. The electricity crisis calls for urgent action and seems to leave little room for concerns about sustainable energy production and emission targets that are to be met by the standards of the UN. Yet, the first impression is deceptive as challenges rarely come without opportunities. To be able to grab these chances, the African Union as a pan-African strategy could take some inspiration of what to do and not to do from its geographical and integratedpolicy-model neighbor: the European Union. While it appears to be far-fetched to compare such wholly different regions, it might prove to be a big advantage for the African Union’s policy choices. Europe is already further ahead in its regional integration process and a common energy policy has been long in the making. Possible policy developments have been proposed in an EU report in 2006 for the first time and since
then, the European strategy has been gradually evolving. Glancing at the course of action of the European Union and avoiding mistakes that have been made there might turn out to steer Africa out of its electricity problem. The process of the EU’s integration of its energy policies has been far from smooth. Cooperation has been hampered by differing interests of the member states and the changing climate around the energy market. The European member states all rely on different energy mixes, dependent on factors such as availability of resources, national preferences of infrastructural reasons. Cooperation towards common energy production strategies has been hindered by the member states clinging to their own interests, fearing disadvan tage or energy insecurity. For example, Poland is still highly reliant on coalbased energy and has adopted a brakeman position concerning common emission targets, given the national challenges they would pose. Yet, integrated energy policies on an EU
level and more reliance on sustainable energy production would be the way to go for Europe. Resources are declining while the demand is steadily rising, putting the EU in a position of high import dependency which increases energy insecurity for the whole region. If the EU would be able to present itself as a unified actor concerning its energy interests and production, it would possess much more political clout, resulting in economic advantages. A strategic transformation to more sustainable energy practices that is oriented towards available natural resources and opportunities rather than state borders would be much more efficient to reach the emission goals set by the UNFCCC. Regardless of these clear-cut advantages, the EU has missed out on cooperation in the earlier periods of European integration, making it harder to successfully pursue common policies nowadays. Clearly, the EU is not the role model to be mirrored. But a negative example of energy integration can be important for the panAfrican strategy that Agenda 2063 proposes. What becomes clear from looking at the EU’s mistakes is that a path of integration must be followed from the beginning on and that it needs to strongly rely on sustainable practices. This impression deepens when looking at the opportunities for energy production on the African continent. The African continent is abundant in resources that could be steered to the use of sustainable energy production. Its vast mineral deposits, cobalt and platinum reserves, the availability of natural gas and the huge potential for hydro, wind and solar energy are
not only crucial to meet Africa’s own energy demand but might make it the critical actor of the world’s transition to green energy. This abundance of untapped resources needs to be understood as an opportunity for increasing energy production that carries much wider implications. Pursuing sustainable options to solve the crisis that African countries are facing concerning electricity could be the missing element that spurs Africa’s economic development by creating massive amounts of jobs and, on top of that, might make the continent the pioneering force for green energy in the world. Recognizing the potential of sustainable energy production from the beginning on would prevent the AU’s struggle of high import dependency. Since the resources for sustainable energy production are inherent to the African continent, there is a huge potential to increase energy security by untapping these resources. Taking a closer look at where these natural resources can be found shows that an integrated trajectory that facilitates energy distribution beyond national borders is important to ensure high energy security for all countries. There are significant variations in climatic zones that spread the African continent and all the zones present different opportunities for sustainable energy production. What is mainly missing for the respective countries to tap into their resources are monetary funds. By pursuing a pan-African strategy, common investments can be strategically placed throughout the continent to ensure best
possible energy provision for the largest number of countries. Once infrastructure that can access renewable energy is in place, such as dams, solar panels and pipelines into natural gas reserves, an integrated strategy will ensure that all countries can profit from all the available resources in the continent, guaranteeing energy security and limiting import dependency. While the EU-member states have advanced their own energy pathways for years, making it harder to cooperate and negotiate for common interests nowadays, the African Union should recognize the opportunities of an integrated energy policy early on. The electricity problem needs to be solved; Africa might as well glance into the future with one eye when attempting to do so. When the African Union looks to the EU to advance their Agenda 2063 and to address its electricity crisis, there is evidence at hand that these goals can be combined with major farreaching advantages for Africa’s role in the worldwide landscape of green economies and its economic growth. Europe’s mistakes are not to be repeated and the African Union needs to pursue sustainability to rise to the potential that this crisis brings.
N O RT H AT L A N T I C T R E AT Y O R G A N I S AT I O N
The Eastern Mediterranean dispute and the future of NATO as a security alliance
he North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which completed 70 years in 2019, has come a long way from its early vision of providing collective security against the Soviet Union in the Cold War days. Seven decades is a long time for security alliances to change, for the world order to shift two times over, and for nation states to rise and fall. And yet, sceptics and proponents alike must admit that NATO has been quite successful in evolutionising its vision an additional two times over since 1949. This is what Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has termed the three ages of NATO; with the first age beginning after the end of the Second World War, the second age following after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990s, and the third age being triggered by the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea. At the centre of NATO’s modifying vision and ideology is the unparalleled notion of NATO solidarity. Even though the infamous collective defence clause -an attack on one is an attack on all- has only been invoked once, after 9/11, the functioning of the alliance rests heavily on the collective solidarity of its member states. It was the solidarity of member states, from the United States and United Kingdom to Romania and Estonia, with each member state contributing troops for NATO missions, that crystallised NATO’s formidable presence in the late 90s-early 00s. Afterall, decisions within the alliance are taken on the basis of unanimity, one ‘No’ 10
by Parthabi Kanungo
from a single member state being enough to halt entire military operations. It is certainly not surprising that NATO’s position, as a security alliance, becomes all the more precarious when a military conflict breaks out between its own member states. Onto its third age, the solidarity aspect of NATO’s framework has perhaps never been more threatened. Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 was the first straw, triggering a shift of alliances within the organisation. The United States distancing itself from the organisation was soon to follow, even before former President Trump was elected. NATO’s seventieth anniversary in 2019, while renewing its commitment to global peace and security, also witnessed increasing fractures within the bloc. Yet another military conflict, and this time among two of its own member states, could become NATO’s worst nightmare. The Eastern Mediterranean dispute, with an origin traced back to the early days of both Greece and Turkey as sovereign nations, had since the Cyprus crisis in 1974, been largely considered a frozen conflict with occasional skirmishes. Greece and Turkey have been NATO member states since 1952. This is not the first time NATO has had to stand-by and watch as these two member states engage in a political and military power struggle. Turkey’s 1974 invasion of Cyprus, which is only one facet of the Eastern Mediterranean dispute, pitted Greece and Turkey against
each other, reigniting tensions present since the Ottoman Empire’s 400-year occupation of Greece. After long-drawn peace talks, and while both powers continued to remain in NATO, the Cyprus conflict, like other aspects of the Eastern Mediterranean dispute, remains a contentious issue to this day. In 1974, the southern flank of NATO solidarity was weakened, and GrecoTurkish relations have continued to remain a complex point of discussion for the alliance. Which is why, in September 2020, when the Eastern Mediterranean dispute suddenly became an active conflict again, NATO had much to worry about. The other two facets of the dispute, which pre-date the Cyprus situation, have further triggered the now ongoing dispute between Turkey and Greece. First, there is the disagreement over the boundaries of Greek territorial waters and the ownership of islands in the Aegean Sea, and secondly, the disputed exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of both countries in the Eastern Mediterranean. What is different this time, and adds to the contentious character of the dispute, is the resource geopolitics of the region. Discovery of natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean over the past decade has brought up questions on how Cyprus should manage its gas reserves. Turkey naturally objects to the Republic of Cyprus (Greek Cypriots) being in charge of energy exploration and contends that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (installed by
Turkey after the 1974 invasion) also has equal administration of the matter. The objection has materialised in the form of Turkish naval vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean, deployed to disrupt Cyprus’ exploration efforts. The EastMed Pipeline project, finalised between Greece, Cyprus and Israel, is an ambitious €6 billion project, expected to transport natural gas from offshore reserves in the Levantine Basin into Greece (via Cyprus and Crete). A connection with the existing Poseidon and IGB pipelines would then transport gas into other European countries. In addition to these three countries, the EastMed Gas Forum includes Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and France, with the United States as an observer. Turkey’s exclusion from the project was not taken lightly. In November 2019, Turkey signed two agreements with the UN-recognised Libyan government, the demarcation of the Turkish and Libyan EEZs in exchange for Turkish support against the Libyan National Army. The first agreement extends Turkey’s EEZ from its southern Mediterranean border, all the way to Libya’s northeast coast, thereby disregarding Greek islands like Crete, and disrupting the course of the EastMed project. Athens’ response was to sign a similar delimitation agreement with Egypt, disregarding the maritime boundaries claimed by Turkey. The spill-over from the Libyan
conflict has further pitted Ankara against Egypt, France and UAE in the Mediterranean. The dispute, while quite simply halting any exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, has the potential of turning into a full-fledged military conflict between the parties involved. So far, NATO’s efforts in mitigating the crisis have delivered underwhelming results. Talks within NATO have led nowhere, even after the establishment of a deconfliction mechanism to deescalate tensions between Athens and Ankara. The Mediterranean, considered the NATO Sea for the longest time, is at a risk of falling prey to Russian expansionism, should Moscow decide to step in amidst the ensuing chaos. While the United States, under the Biden administration, has projected a greater inclination towards mediating the dispute, which would also mean addressing the crisis from the standpoint of shifting US interests. But it is time for NATO, in its third age, to protect its European interests, particularly in its Southern neighbourhood, with or without US involvement. The alliance also has to view the crisis from a perspective of energy security. At its core, the Eastern Mediterranean dispute concerns competing claims of national sovereignty made by Greece and Turkey.
T h e present escalation of the dispute, however, has more to do with the exploration of natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean and which states get to benefit f r o m i t . N AT O is at t h i s stage, in a more neutral position to mediate the competing claims and to bring Ankara to the table, than for instance the EU, which has actively denounced Turkey’s actions as a violation of the law of the sea. The crisis, while making the cracks in NATO solidarity more visible, also provides NATO with the opportunity to factor in energy security, when considering stability in its Southern borders. As part of its latest remodelling in this third age, it is time for NATO to make its Energy Security Strategy more comprehensive, in devising mechanisms for North Atlantic Energy Cooperation. The Eastern Mediterranean dispute and the competing claims of Greece and Turkey, if left unresolved, will continue to halt all energy development in the region and the spillover is likely to further exacerbate the situation in Libya, which NATO cannot afford. A repeat of 1974 must not be allowed, where NATO stood helpless as the relations between two of its member states never improved. 11
C O U N C I L O F T H E E U R O P E A N U N I O N & E U R O P E A N PA R L I A M E N T
Rule of law conditionality of the EU budget
n the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the European Union declared its proposals for a new long-term EU budget. The framework would enter into force in 2020 and replace its predecessor for the following 7 years. “A budget for a Europe that protects, empowers and defends” are keywords of its content as well as the factual €1,105 billion of annual budget. Special attention was given to the Commission’s aim to interlink sound management of the longterm budget with respect to the rule of law. This is where the newly adopted Regulation on a General Regime of Conditionality for the Protection of the Union Budget (Regulation 2020/2092) comes into play. The objective of the Regulation is to protect the Union’s financial interest against generalised deficiencies regarding the rule of law in a Member State that cause a risk – or have the potential to cause a risk – of financial loss. The protection of the EU’s fundamental values, such as the rule of law principle, is certainly nothing new and has been enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU). The Regulation, however, does not aim at combating general breaches of the rule of law principle on Member State level, other procedures are in place for these issues (for instance, article 7 TEU procedure for suspension of 12
by Marence Jurgens
voting rights). The main difference is that the Regulation provides a specific mechanism that is triggered when the EU’s financial interest is at stake relating to the EU budget. Additionally, neither the article 7 procedure nor political dialogue have so far produced any progress in stopping the rule of law backsliding in certain Member States. The new rule of law conditionality aims to protect common EU funds from the consequence of breaches of the principle, such as corruption. More recently, the pandemic and subsequent NextGenerationEU temporary recovery fund of €750 billion provided a new perspective on the values of democracy and rule of law on the continent. A survey requested by the European Parliament conducted within the 27 Member States (mid-pandemic) shows that 77% of the EU’s population does not want to spend EU money without full respect of the Union’s democratic values and rule of law. Seems sensible, right? However, is the newly adopted Regulation a genuine step in the right direction for realizing the EU citizens’ wishes? Sanctions that follow establishment of a breach within the scope of the Regulation are of fiscal nature. It includes the suspension of payments and EU-
funded programmes. Common criticism that arises on this particular point is that sanctions of this type do not directly impact the offending government but rather the beneficiaries of the EU programmes. It can be doubted whether these beneficiaries are contributing to the rule of law problem in their country or whether they can be held accountable for it. On whether the sanctions are hitting the wrong people, we need to take into consideration how the State’s government is structured. For instance, a point can be made if the country in question is governed by a dictatorial ruling clique that holds its citizens in tight grip. In such a situation, the government that was formed is not a reflection of society which subsequently will have a bigger impact on the suppressed population rather than the corrupt government. However, within the EU, this is not the case and will most likely not be the case in the foreseeable future either. Member States that are currently being under scrutiny and that actively object against the adoption of the Regulation are Poland and Hungary. These governments were formed through a fair and just democratic process. Nevertheless, they have been under investigation for an alleged breach of judicial independence and subsequent non-compliance with the
separation of powers. But, since the government that was formed by elections that were judged fair and free, policies of the Polish and Hungarian governments are backed by an electorate which voted for these policy platforms in the first place. Furthermore, the new conditionality rules of the Regulation targets among other things the EU cohesion and agricultural spending. Beneficiaries of these spendings can mostly be found in more rural regions of these countries, which are typically the regions that show the most voter support for the elected parties forming the current governments. Still, one can ask how democratic it is to ‘punish’ a specific voter group for their political preference as well. Additionally, arguments are made that dispute the adoption of the Regulation since it would impact numerous individual voters that strongly opposed these current governments. However, under the current form of the Regulation, the EU has made sure to protect beneficiaries of the funds. In cases where there is a suspension of financial transfer from the EU budget to the Member State in breach under the conditionality mechanism, the State is nevertheless obliged to continue to implement the programmes financed from the EU budget. As former Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated when the first idea of conditionality linked to sound management of the EU budget took shape, he considered that the mechanism would be “poison for the continent and divide the European Union”. The concern w a s
that placing this type of financial pressure on Member States would lead to countereffects. Increase in nationalistic and anti-European sentiment would be inevitable. On this issue, empirical literature provides mixed evidence. On the one hand, there is evidence that the sanctions would initiate autocratic responses and suppression of possible reform movements. However, the opposite is also a possibility, that sanctions would increase the likelihood of regime reforms, leading to democratic development. Despite these findings, not less polarizing is the regime before the financial sanctions were available under the new Regulation. As the survey mentioned above indicates, many EU citizens and politicians, especially of net-contributing countries of the EU, are frustrated by the need to give financial support to countries that violate one of the EU principles. In that sense, having no financial sanctions available at all might also be “poisonous”. While conservative parties gain increasingly more support from citizens in recent elections, this frustration evidently undermines EU integration as well. Therefore, implementing a financial sanction could help restore the eurosceptical movements in the whole of Europe. Another argument in favour of the rule of law conditionality is that EU-funding relies to a large extent on the quality functioning of the institutions. In practice, funding is most effective if it is accompanied with a well-constructed public administration, independent courts, and radical containment of corruption. When one of these elements shows deficiencies, the non-compliance with the rule of law reduces effectiveness of EU-funding drastically as EU money can easily be spent in areas it was not meant for.
This is the case in Hungary and Poland, which currently arrange their judiciary in such a way that it aligns with the interest of governing political parties; paving the way for injustices and corruption. In April, the European Commission referred Poland to the CJEU for passing a law that enables the government to penalize their judges more easily. According to the Commission, the law undermines “the judicial independence of the Polish judges” and is “incompatible with the primacy of EU law”. In conclusion, the rule of law conditionality is very promising to say the least. Nevertheless, e ff e c t i v e EU-funding depends to a large extent on the quality of checks and balances of individual Member States. Additional mechanisms for financial sanctioning of misconduct by Member States contribute to reaching this paradigm. High thresholds provided in other sanctioning methods available in cases of non-compliance of the rule of law have made them ineffective. Especially, since populism is rising and Euroscepticism is affecting the liberal constitutional democracy, the EU has to protect its fundamental values while it still can.
Piracy, kidnapping and maritime instability
The Gulf of Guinea has caught Europe’s attention. by Jan Haverman
The European Union has evolved its maritime policy in order to regain control over African waters.
lready two years ago, in 2019, the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) called Brussels for help. The situation in the Gulf of Guinea was ‘’alarming’’ and especially the waters of Nigeria had become growingly dangerous (the country alone accounted for 41 kidnappings during the last months of 2018). The unrest in the region only rose these past two years, seriously threatening the maritime security in the Gulf area. Eventually, on the 25th of January this year, the European Union came with a final and concrete response: the initiation of the Coordinated Maritime Presences (CMP) concept. This relatively new initiative aims to strengthen the role of the European Union as partner and provider of security in the Gulf of Guinea. The CMP seems to be in line with the EU’s growing emphasis on naval security in the last decades, where the open sea has become a matter of Union priority. It’s decision to pick the Gulf of Guinea as pilot case is therefore mildly surprising. The waters are an important fishing ground for Europe, a provider of oil and gas 14
but fiercely threatened by piracy. Whether Europe’s coordinated presence will succeed depends on the willingness of member states and the efficiency of regional cooperation. That’s not all, the EU risks losing diplomatic control with the prospect of Russian and Chinese influence. While the project just launched, doubts about its potential success have already been raised. With over 70 percent of maritime borders and around 90 percent of its external trade passing the oceans, the European Union is strongly connected to the international waters. Member states rely on well-functioning maritime infrastructure for the export and import of goods and energy. But only from 2008 onwards, the EU prioritised its Maritime Defence Strategy. With Operation ATALANTA, the EU launched its first fleet (EUNAVFOR; European Union Naval Force Somalia) which aimed to counter piracy at the Horn of Africa. In 2015, the EU conducted its second centrally coordinated operation, this time to disrupt people smugglers in the Mediterranean waters (Operation SOFIA). Over the course of the last ten years, the maritime perspective has become fully integrated in Europe’s general security policy (European Union Global Strategy).
Already in 2013, the Gulf of Guinea became an area of Maritime Interest for European policy makers. With an oil import of 13 percent from this region, the EU was determined to fight any form of piracy in this region. As a result, it feverishly looked for ways to stabilise the maritime waters. With the so-called Yaoundé architecture, the Union appeared to have found a solution. Together with coastal states, it created a new maritime security framework, built around regional cooperation bodies. The framework aimed (and still aims) to prevent illicit activity on water by establishing an extensive information network, creating awareness around pirating and assisting local navies with European and American fleets. Despite this work, the situation in the Gulf area only deteriorated. According to an annual report of Dryad Global (a British intelligence firm) this year, international organisations like the UN, NATO and the EU have been surprisingly inactive with finding suitable solutions for the piracy problem in the Gulf of Guinea over the last years. While Dryad Global points out international inaction, the European Union stresses the primal responsibility for Western and Central African states to act against piracy (Yaoundé Code of Conduct, 2013). The EU already
did so two years ago, during the 2019 Global Security Conference. The reality is, despite the question of quilt, that the international policy against organised crime has failed. In 2020, 35 crew members were kidnapped from their vessels, with the Gulf of Guinea accounting for approximately 95 percent of these cases. Additionally, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported 195 incidents of armed robbery last year, with the area - again - being responsible for the majority of incidents. A lack of onshore opportunities and high levels of unemployment in the coastal states invite inhabitants to engage with illegal activities offshore. Organised crime, in the form of human trafficking, smuggling of drugs and arms as well as illegal fishing, have risen in the Gulf. Unreported and illicit fishing causes an annual loss of 1.5 billion dollars for local governments. With 25 percent of the jobs being linked to the fisheries, it’s a source for social and economic tensions. Especially in Nigeria, the economic centre of the region, organised crime hits hard. 120.000 barrels of oil are stolen every day, accounting for 6 percent of its total production. By establishing a Coordinated Maritime Presence, Brussels tries to turn these developments around. With the new pilot case, the EU aims to become a reliable partner and security provider for the region. It wants to offer better operational engagement and ensure permanent presence of maritime assets. As stated in the Council conclusions of January 25th, the EU will lay down the groundwork for a more coherent participation of National navies in the Gulf of Guinea in order to reach stability. The Union aims to improve the coordination of maritime actions by setting up a Maritime Area of Interest Coordination Cell
(MAICC). Furthermore, it wants to stimulate the voluntary sharing of information among member states, regional partners and various commissions (like the Gulf of Guinea commission) to improve awareness of potential threats. A successful CMP would allow the European Union to improve its diplomatic visibility, promote international cooperation and ensure maritime presence.
for China, who has been winning global and maritime influence ever since it started its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013. Chinese authorities have been working on large scale infrastructure projects including ports and overseas military bases. If Europe were to become stuck in a growingly tense maritime environment, it would risk becoming a target of international power politics.
There are, however, a few challenges that threaten Europe’s project of maritime presence. Besides coordinated cooperation with regional partners and member states, the United States and the EU should synchronise their actions. They typically operate alongside each other, which negatively affects the effectiveness of maritime operations (e.g. providing unnecessary training for regional navies that already has been given by the other). In addition, national navies of European member states have suffered reductions in defence budgets. Rather than combining forces to tackle the budget loss, naval industries have been increasingly nationalised. This threatens Europe’s aim of permanent and flexible military presence. Furthermore, as maritime participation is based on a voluntary system, Member states with particular interests in the Gulf of Guinea (like Portugal, Spain, Italy and Belgium) shall have to consider the advantage of participating within the European framework. Some may appreciate the legitimacy and relative anonymity that the EU offers, while others might think it weakens their political message and conflicts their interests.
Will Europe’s Coordinated Maritime Presence succeed? Only time will tell. For we know one thing for sure, without the willingness to participate - either with member states of the United States - and the effectiveness of regional cooperation, Europe can’t make a fist. As with marriage, good communication is key. The fight against organised crime at the Gulf of Guinea will be challenging, and the diplomatic struggle over influence with Russia and China just so. By January 2022, Europe reflects on its CMP pilot study in African waters. Before that time, we hope to receive nothing but good news from the European Community Shipowners’ Association.
Even more challenging for Europe is the rising competition for global influence with Russia and China. Over the past couple of years, Europe’s rivalry with Russia has developed a distinct naval character. The same goes 15
U N I T E D N AT I O N S S E C U R I T Y C O U N C I L
A War of Words FOUGHT IN THE DARK by Brendan Hogan and Valentina Couceiro
ith a long history and various players, Ethiopian politics is to most people an unknown. For many university students, it is not a country on their radar except for its doubledigit economic growth through most of the 21st century. Recently, with the outbreak of a high-profile conflict in Tigray (northern Ethiopia), understanding Ethiopian politics has become crucial, due to its possibly lasting international implications. Furthermore, it has joined a pantheon of modern conflicts defined by the geopolitical and technological makeup of our time. The alleged attack on the Northern Command military base of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) by forces loyal to the Tigray People‘s Liberation Front (TPLF) on the 3rd and 4th of November 2020 supposedly marks the beginning of the conflict in Tigray. Yet, we would argue that it was only the straw that broke the camel‘s back. 30 years ago Ethiopia had just emerged from the rule of a communist military junta called the Derg, remembered by many as authoritarian and 16
violently repressive of dissent. Having overthrown the emperor in 1974, the Derg’s time in power was marked by a long civil war that ended in a rebel victory in 1991. Won by the Ethiopian People‘s Revolutionary Democratic F ro n t (EPRDF), a coalition of armed rebel groups led by the TPLF, and with t h e assistance of Eritrean separatists. The current Ethiopian state was formed by these bloody foundations into an ethnic feder a tion, where ethnic groups had constitutional protections for their land, religion, culture and language. This allowed a certain level of decentralisation, granting ethnic regions the right to maintain militias and secede. However, there has always been a strong federal government with the EPRDF as the ruling coalition, after having transitioned into a civilian-
led coalition. Since then, the EPRDF has held almost all the seats in the Ethiopian parliament, with the TPLF leading the coalition. Since the civil war, Meles Zenawi ruled the country until his death in 2012. Towards the end of his tenure, Meles came under increasing criticism for his authoritarianism, with various groups in Ethiopia claiming the TPLF‘s rule within the EPRDF was oppressive. Meles’ successor, Hailemariam Desalegen from a southern Ethiopian party, was unpopular, seen as a puppet of the TPLF by the two largest ethnic groups of the country, the Oromo and the Amhara. In 2014, an expansion of the federal district in Addis Ababa was proposed, which would see land from the Oromo region subsumed into the city‘s jurisdiction, sparking student protests. The forceful and deadly response from t h e government led to a mobilisation of an opposition
within the EPRDF, ending with an Oromo/Amhara alliance that saw Abiy Ahmed becoming Prime Minister in 2018. As Abiy came to power he started to systematically remove Tigrayans from senior positions across sectors including the military, which only intensified with time. It is also reported that the TPLF were intentionally excluded from the peacemaking process with Eritrea in 2018, which ended the 1998 war over the disputed northern border. In Abiy’s drive to liberalise the country, he dissolved the EPRDF in 2019, replacing it with the newly formed Prosper i t y Party, in which the TPLF refused to play a part. This only compounded the divisions occurring between Abiy and the TPLF, further polarizing them and further isolating the TPLF, against a background of increasing inter-ethnic violence throughout the country, which only intensified with the Covid-19 crisis. Not only was there economic hardship that made matters worse, but due to the pandemic, the promised elections were delayed. However, the TPLF proceeded with their regional elections, stating that the federal government had no right
to dictate whether Tigray may hold them. This led to a crescendo of tensions between Abiy’s federal government and the TPLF. As both sides began to delegitimize one another, the TPLF claimed that the federal government was overstepping its constitutional authority and that the Prosperity Party had no real mandate. The federal government, for its part, deemed the election illegal and increasingly viewed the TPLF as an aggressor. This set the stage for the start of the conflict in November, escalating into a full-fledged assault by the federal government and its allies by mid-November, claiming to restore law and order. By the 28th of November, the federal government asserted that it had reestablished “full control” of Mekelle, the capital of Tigray. Yet, almost half a year later, the fighting continues in the countryside. And despite the combined forces of the Federal Government, Eritrea, and both the Amhara and Asmara regional forces, the TPLF persist in their resistance. With the federal government p e riodically shutting down telecommunications and electricity, it has left many people unable to use their phones to record evidence or access social media. This has only intensified the confusion on the nature of this conflict, with it being very difficult to verify anything coming out of Tigray, making the
propaganda war all the more important, allowing all sides to assert their own narrative of the conflict and the outcomes.
Increasingly, this war of words has been taken to the online sphere, but not solely. Both sides have taken to any channel possible to state their case. The federal government has also used its official channels of state with, for example, the Ethiopian ambassador to the EU labelling certain media outlets as “fake news” and at various press conferences adhering to the official line of the Federal Government. Surprisingly, the official social media accounts of the government are relatively quiet when it comes to the war, focusing on other successes in the country, continuing with business as usual. Meanwhile, the TPLF has used these channels differently, releasing official statements online. While both sides use social media in official capacities, they also have loyal supporters posting for them and making their voices heard. This helps them spread willingly and deliberately the propaganda that will perpetuate their perspective on events. With examples of pages being created with copy/paste messages that can be shared across any social media platform. Moreover, all the affected communities have large diasporas in the United States and Canada, holding protests and peace rallies, 17
lobbying their governments, posting to forums, writing online articles, creating podcasts, and university students hosting panel discussions with non-governmental organisations and journalists. These populations of diaspora also have a considerable social media presence, often holding polarising opinions. Thus, it is difficult to have a clear view of reality from any perspective. Meanwhile, intergovernmental organisations such as the EU and the UN have tried to distinguish truth from fiction by sending emissaries to the region. They have also tried to pave the way for humanitarian aid and peace. EU special envoy Pekka Haavisto declared the situation as „out of control“ in February. Hunger, communication blackouts, refugee masses and an ongoing civil war could well summarize his report. Since his second visit in April, the situation seems to have evolved towards a „will for justice and peace“ on the part of the federal government. While the UN proclaims some progress in humanitarian assistance, this does not mean that either of these institutions have solved anything.
Towns are becoming ghost towns because of displacement. Rural areas have been devastated by famine and the surrounding conflict. According to UN humanitarian partners, 4.5 million people are „in need of life-saving assistance“. Hopefully, this newly found ‚goodwill‘ from the government can be followed 18
by actions. However, mounting evidence of war crimes, such as targeted sexual violence from Ethiopian and Tirgayan health officials, has made this a much more daunting prospect. The slow formation of aid corridors, the continued information blackouts, and there currently being no sign of Eritrean forces pulling out of Tigray, make it abundantly clear that this is a conflict fought within the borders of Ethiopia and that any further interference is welcomed in words, not in action. Only time will tell if we are able to cut through the noise and obtain a more coherent understanding of what is happening in Tigray, and whether the situation will continue to deteriorate.
CRISIS COMMIT TEE
Content warning: discusses topics of sexual violence in war.
Oh, Magdeburg, the town! Fair maids thy beauty crown, Thy charms fair maids and matrons crown; Oh, Magdeburg, the town! [...] No safety there they meet! The soldiers fill the street, With fire and sword the wreck complete: No safety there they meet! ‘The Destruction of Magdeburg’. 1798 Poem by German poet J. W. Goethe
he Thirty-Years-War saw many atrocities but most of them pale in comparison to the sack of the city Magdeburg. Long considered a safe bulwark of Protestantism against the victorious armies of the Catholic Imperials under General Tilly, Magdeburg fell to the sheer numbers of the ‘Landsknecht’ mercenaries before the gates. The ensuing slaughter became entrenched in the German language through anecdotes, proverbs, and the fateful name of the ‘Wedding of Magdeburg’. Contemporary eyewitnesses put the civilian death toll at 20.000 of an original city population of 25.000. Peter Hagendorf was one of
by Simon Pompé
The bloody wedding
those mercenaries at the siege. His account, recorded in his diary, is one of the most exciting contemporary sources to be rediscovered since the 1990s, though the find seems to have impacted mostly the German scholarly conversation thus far. Not only does Hagendorf’s diary record the brutality of the War, but it also opens a window into the intensely gendered nature of the War’s military economy. With great care, he records the landmark dates of his two marriages; His first wife, Anna Stadler, with whom he has four children, none of which live past one year, dies during her last childbirth two years after the Sack of Magdeburg. The losses hit him hard, the entries paired with 19
short prayers for the dead. With his second wife Anna Maria and their children, he would spend the rest of his life. A ‘Landsknecht’ who had exercised his profession as a pike for hire for the entire (!) duration of the War, Hagendorf was one of millions for whom the conflict ensured a stable income for his family. In service of Catholic generals, he, his wife, and children marched all over Europe; from the fighting over Northern Italy, to Paris, to the Baltics, and deep into the heart of Germany, adding up to more than 22 500 kilometres, or half the globe’s circumference. What becomes clear in his writing, but also other contemporary descriptions, is that mercenary and wife formed tight economic units who would divide tasks between themselves in order to survive. He chronicles the typical mercenary lifestyle, where he would enter the fighting or invade the countryside, and the mercenary wives would swarm the conquered spaces afterwards, often selling ransacked goods or processing them into food produce or market merchandise. Thus, gender relations significantly determined the functioning of the army economy. Thus, the armies marching across Europe were continuously accumulating massive retinue consisting of the mercenaries’ families and service providers. They formed entire small, mobile economies of artisans and merchants, who would depend on the continuous conquest of territory - without looted goods, one could not nourish his or her family. Often, peasants who saw their fields pillaged by marauding mercenaries would be forced to join the retinue of the very army who had robbed them of their livelihoods. German poet F. Schiller would summarise this succinctly a century later: “War nourishes the War”. 20
The massacring of peasants and urban residents hit both men and women, but it was the thoroughly normalised routine of sexual violence against women and girls that shaped contemporary impressions. The sacking of Magdeburg shocked Europeans like no other event in the War precisely because of the extent of violence against women and girls. Magdeburg takes its name by reference to Holy Mary, virgin Mother of Christ. Before its sacking, the city’s stubborn resistance to the Catholics was commonly likened to a young girl’s chastity and purity in the face of the pursuit by an indecent man. After the city’s walls were breached, the Catholic forces swarmed the city and spared few. So vicious and merciless were the invading mercenaries in their pursuit of women, that the event would be remembered through the common proverb of magdeburgisieren, literally ‘to magdeburgise’, which survives in German language to this day. In the aftermath, Protestants decried the figurative and literal ‘rape’ of Magdeburg by the Catholic devils, who, in turn, used the victory for their propaganda of divine punishment enacted upon a woman fallen ‘impure’ with the sin of Protestantism. The event was dubbed the Magdeburger Hochzeit, or the ‘Wedding of Magdeburg’ in crude reference to the gendered symbology involved. Calvinist (Protestant) Prince Christian II recorded for posterity how the news “recalls to me the destruction of Jerusalem, and no such tragedy has befallen such a city in the German empire and lands”. Hagendorf, a typical German ‘Landsknecht’ mercenary, surely would have participated in such sexualised warfare. As the discoverer of his dairy, historian Jan Peters, describes, mercenary work was considered a profession
like any other, and looting was considered part of a soldier’s entitlements and fair salary. Soldiers counted on the fact that they would acquire both goods and violent satisfaction after battles and sieges - at least for as long as they were out of wedlock. Hagendorf was unmarried for only two years during the war, and his descriptions of such violence is sparse - which may speak more to the little moral importance he attached to such deeds rather than to the extent of his participation. Only on two occasions, he notes how he “obtained” and “lead out of the city” girls after pillaging towns, before letting them go shortly afterwards. Such language surely invokes dark suspicions but is not conclusive evidence. Hagendorf further records the storming of Magdeburg: “We set ourselves up in the local villages and blockaded the city [of Magdeburg] for the entire winter, staying encamped in villages until the spring of 1631. […] There, our captain, along with many others, was shot dead in front of an entrenchment. […] Then we moved in close […] but it cost us a lot of men. The 22nd of March Johann Galgart was brought in as our captain; the 28th of April he too was shot dead in the saps. The 6th of May Tilge Neuberg was then brought in. He had our company for ten days, after which he resigned.” Evidently, being a mercenary captain was usually a short-lived career. By god’s grace, and a little bit of folkloric dark magic, Hagendorf believes, he survives the War without major injuries or dying- Eventually, however, a stray lead bullet ‘shoots through’ his belly and armpits, relegating him to the infirmary “-that was my booty”, he remarks with dry humour. He regrets missing out on pillaging the burning city, but he also worries greatly about his wife, who has gone to loot without
him, and who does not return as the fire grows. His relief, as she finally returns safely bringing silvered belts and wine as well as an old woman as a temporary maid, is immense. His wife would later fetch a fair price for them in the army’s attached mobile market. For all his crimes, Hagendorf’s family was rewarded with a better life after the War. After first struggling with unemployment and potentially alcoholism after the Peace of Westphalia 1648, municipal archives indicate that he was eventually elected mayor and judge in the small town Görzke, perhaps because of his experience and literacy. There, he died aged 77. Magdeburg would never recover its trading position, and only properly returned to strength in the late 19th century. Applying lessons from history to modern life is a futile exercise. Socioeconomic, political, and ethical contexts differ wildly across centuries. Arguably, needless explorations of the details of (sexualised) violence remain voyeuristic and
tasteless outside of academic conversation. If anything, the tales of the ‘Wedding of Magdeburg’, Hagendorf and his wife Anna Stadler can serve to illustrate the economic and psychological complexity involved in large-scale conflicts, where lines between victims and perpetrators blur in face of economic hardship and the unravelling of civilisational structures and social relationships. The world today surely is in no short supply of equally complex conflicts.
[...] The women sorrow sore, The maidens far, far more. The living are no virgins more. Thus Tilly‘s troops make war!
Final verse of ‘The Destruction of Magdeburg’. 1798 Poem by German poet J. W. Goethe
The Suez Canal H I STO R I C A L C O M M I T T E E
Constant Crisis and a Continuing Conundrum by Dan Edwards
Given t h a t t h e Canal is one of the most important maritime routes in the world, early fears by experts judged that crude oil prices would rise by 4% on international markets but the situation was seemingly worse. Lloyds List, a shipping journal, has estimated that for every hour that the Ever Given was aground and blocking traffic, it resulted 22
in around $400 million an hour lost. The result of this loss has led Egyptian authorities to seize the Ever Given pending payment of damages by Evergreen. An Egyptian judge ruled that Egypt and the Suez Canal Authority suffered both physical damages as well as “reputational damage” and should therefore be compensated in the region of $1 billion. As of writing, insurers for Evergreen are already contesting this claim stating “The [Suez Canal Authority] has not provided a detailed justification for this extraordinarily large claim, which includes a $300 million claim for a ‘salvage bonus’ and a $300 million claim for ‘loss of reputation”. With such a mess caused, it will be an interesting case for the future. However, a bigger question should relate to the Suez Canal itself, as clearly its importance, for international
he Suez Canal has for over a century been the pathway through Africa, connecting the Mediterranean with the Red Sea, making it the shortest maritime route from Europe to Asia. The 24th of March saw the entire operation come to a halt, as a ship blocked the Canal and led to an enormous build-up of container and cargo ships. The ship in question, named the Ever Given, is owned by the Taiwanese shipping company Evergreen and registered in Panama. On its way to Rotterdam the ship fell victim to strong winds, knocking it off course and causing the boat to spin and ground. Dr Sal Mercogliano, a maritime historian based in North Carolina, stated that this was the “largest vessel to ever go aground”. The enormous cargo ship is 400m long and weighs massive 200,000 tonnes and is relatively new, being built in 2018. The crew has all been safely accounted for.
trade, is enormous. But first its history needs to be understood. The Canal was finally opened, after 10 years of construction by the French and Egyptian governments, in 1869. The Canal was controlled by the Egyptians for around 6 years before they were forced to sell it to the British after financial problems occurring from debt and a financial crisis. The British had around a 44% share of the canal, with the rest sitting with French investors. Britain being Britain decided to invade Egypt in 1882, taking charge of the Canal and its finances and operations. In 1888, the Convention of Constantinople stated that the Canal is a neutral territory under the control of the British and should be available internationally in both war and peace. The 20th century came along and certainly challenged
this agreement with conflict fought for control of the Canal in both the First and Second World Wars. After the Second World War, Britain’s Empire was dissolving and their hold over the Canal was dwindling, combining this with the increased use of oil and the Egyptian Revolution meant that the power of the Canal was changing hands. This culminated in the 1956 Suez Canal Crisis. France, Britain and Israel invaded Egypt late in 1956 with the aim of regaining control of the Canal and removing Gamal Abdel Nasser from power, as he had just nationalised the Canal. On the 29th October, Israel invaded Egypt and both Britain and France issued an ultimatum of cease fire, which was ignored, and, on the 5th November, the two nations sent in paratroopers to land at the Suez Canal. The invasion only lasted a week and two days but in that Nowadays, the Canal’s importance is widely known, resulting in it being called the ‘artery of world trade’. On average, 50 vessels pass through the Canal a day, accounting for around 12% of global trade and is particularly valuable for those trading in oil and gas. The closure of the Canal from the grounding of the Ever Given has demonstrated how vital this trade route is, as ships have had to take for example a 10, 500 nautical mile journey around the Cape of Good Hope rather than a 4,400 nautical mile trip through the Suez, from Italy to India. Due to the importance of the Canal, the Egyptian authorities underwent an expansion project and it was opened in 2015. More parts of the Canal have been deepened and a 35km parallel channel was provided. However, this clearly wasn’t enough.
time 40 ships had been sunk in the Canal, blocking it for trade and making it useless even if the three nations achieved their military objectives. The US, the USSR and the UN placed significant pressure on Israel, France and Britain to withdraw and it worked. Later it was discovered that the three nations had conspired their actions beforehand and then the backlash really started. This resulted in President Eisenhower threatening Britain by selling US government pound sterling bonds and the public turned on Prime Minister Anthony Eden, resulting
in an embarrassing resignation. Historians have pinpointed the Suez Canal Crisis as the end of Great Britain being a world power. It was also one of the first international incidents for the United Nations and resulted in the creation of the UN Peacekeepers and their first job was to monitor the Egypt-Israeli border. Since the crisis the importance of the Canal has only grown with globalisation, as now 80% of world trade is done via the oceans.
Therefore, questions should be asked surrounding the control of the finances and operations of the Canal. It is still difficult to traverse, and considering the consequences of recent events, perhaps it would be better if it were controlled by an international body that could devote all of its time and bigger resources to ensuring the constant flow of trade through the Canal. With the size of ships like the Ever Given becoming more and more popular it appears that the state owned Suez Canal Authority could have done more despite their valiant efforts and it should be expected that the international community should aid the improvement of the Canal.
and fix areas that are too difficult or risky to traverse. Massive cargo ships are only going to become more and more common with globalisation and problems like this will continue if management either improves significantly or another body takes over. Perhaps pressure from interested actors, such as insurance companies like Allianz (the largest shipping insurance company) and shipping companies themselves, will lobby for such a body, as no company will want the consequences that Evergreen are currently receiving. Plus, if Egypt wishes smooth transport and less hassle from the international community, it is maybe in their best interest to hand over control of the Canal so it can focus its resources on other parts of its country. It is likely that control over the Suez Canal will be a constant discussion for many years to come and will only lead to more and more debate about who should be in charge of maintaining and managing the Canal.
Whilst it is in Egyptian territory, the Canal is too important for one government alone to suffer the burden and potential criticism of how the Canal is managed. For the 19,000 vessels a year that travel through the route, it is important to establish an international body that can review
GROUP OF 20
enewable energy is no longer a pie in the sky. The past decades have brought about a societal awakening and the realisation that the traditional fossil fuel-based energy production cannot continue indefinitely. Technological advancements have made renewable energy sources accessible, affordable and efficient. There have been major political breakthroughs, most prominently the Paris Agreement. Since the energy sector is responsible for more than two thirds of global CO2 emissions, a reduction of global warming as pledged in this Agreement is impossible without substantial reform of the industry. When the Covid-19 pandemic brought an overheating global economy to a halt, many expressed their hope that this would be the chance for a new start. The drop in energy demand threw suppliers of fossil fuels into financial trouble and exposed how fragile the global energy sector is. On top of the technological means, funds, and political sup- p o r t , the pandemic gave the international community an occasion for a fundamental change of the energy market from fossil to renewable sources. But between all the international accord and shiny green leaflets, one aspect remains overlooked: Renewable energy plants require a lot of space, be it wind
farms, solar farms, hydro-electric dams, or biofuel production; up to ten times more land than coal or gas for the same energy output. This demand of land often comes into conflict with the interests of local inhabitants. Wind farms are infamous for the not-in-my-back-yard (‘nimby’) opposition they provoke among organic-buying, middle-class suburban residents. They may oppose developments for various reasons, from health concerns and aesthetical purism to general scepticism towards change. Although the word has a negative connotation, nimbyism as a phenomenon is not necessarily a bad thing. It can put a control on governments and investors who are not familiar with the area. Consulta tion with the local population can greatly improve the social and environmental impact of projects. Whether legitimate or not, nimby movements can cause renewable energy
development to fail. This happened to the Cape Wind Project, one of the United States’ earliest offshore wind farm proposals. Despite several surveys finding a majority of the local inhabitants in support of the project, it was litigated to death by a well-funded minority opposition. What is more, regulations adopted under political pressure can make it almost impossible to build renewable energy plants. State laws in southern Germany require wind turbines to be built at a distance at least ten times their height from the nearest settlement. In such a densely populated region, this blocks as much as 99.85% of the area suitable for generation of wind energy. Nimbyism does not only slow down the development of renewable energy sources, it can also reinforce social inequalities. Marginalised communities often lack the means to organise protests or to take legal action. In addition, a renewable energy plant in a less privileged area may face less opposition simply because it is not the most pressing concern of the local inhabitants. Under these circumstances, even legitimate opposition to developments is not always raised or not taken into account. That leads not only to the relocation of projects to such areas, but also to an attitude to avoid more affluent areas in the first place. This attitude, in the United States most often affecting black communities, has been termed ‘pibby’ (‘place in black’s back yard’)
Who put the ‘unequal’ in ‘renewable’? by Peter Pelzer
by Robert D. Bullard, the ‘father of environmental justice’. Bullard’s research and advocacy is not primarily directed at renewable energy plants, but quite the opposite: waste dumps, petrochemical plants, and similar facilities. But although renewable energy plants are cleaner than the typical waste dump, they still come at a price for local communities, especially where both the products and the profits are exported. And the way they are planned and developed shows striking similarities to traditional, ‘dirty’ pibbyism. One example is the sprawl of wind farms in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, in Mexico. The Isthmus provides ideal topographic conditions for wind farming, attracting many foreign investors. Since the early 2000’s, the cities of La Venta and La Ventosa have been engulfed in more than 1,600 windmills, with double the amount planned. Some are as close as 30 metres away from dwelling houses. Claims that windmills are responsible for a variety of diseases – the windmill syndrome – are scientifically unsound, but what is sure is that the farms changed the social structure of the region. Although the wind farms are cleaner than the extraction of fossil fuel would be, their construction impacts natural resources in similar ways. Animal habitats are cleared, the soil is compacted, and concrete foundations are built into groundwater reservoirs. Even oil spills are reported. Promises that the investments would provide employment and a higher living standard for the native population remain for a large part unfulfilled.
Large landowners profited the most, and the immigration of wealthier foreign workers have increased the prices for land, food, and – ironically – electricity. In another instance, Swiss company Addax leased 10,000 hectares of farmland for 50 years from small farmers in Sierra Leone to grow sugar cane for a new biofuel factory. The plant was funded with €400 million, in part by several African and European development banks. It was supposed to produce bioethanol for the EU. The project was marketed as a model in sustainability, providing substitute farmland, equipment, and seeds for those who demised their fields. But the bioethanol output fell short of expectations and, after only a few years, Addax sold the majority of shares to a British-Chinese investor who sold them on to yet another investor. The new owners do not honour the commitments made by Addax, and since the loans by the development banks are all paid back, no oversight remains. The local population is left deprived of their traditional farmland and with much fewer paid jobs at the ethanol plant than promised. Within one year, food insecurity has dramatically increased in the area. The Addax Bioenergy plant was sanctioned by the chief of the region and by the then-Sierra Leonean president Koroma, but those who have to suffer its ill success were not included in the development process. They were tricked or bullied into signing the lease agreements without fully understanding the consequences. This is a recurring strategy in cases of land grabbing and was also seen in the context of the wind farms in Mexico.
Pibbyism happens on a global scale. Industrialised nations place the land-consuming wind farms and biofuel plants that are necessary to achieve their CO2 emission goals as far away from their backyards as possible. To be clear, nimbyism, pibbyism, and their consequences are not exclusive to renewable energy projects. Similar examples can be found in mining, oil extraction, and all sorts of industries. But renewable energy started on a promise, the promise of sustainability. If it is to keep that promise, it must not become complicit in existing patterns of social oppression. It is indispensable that humankind reduces its carbon emission substantially, but CO2-neutrality must not be an excuse for social unsustainability. To further acceptance and legitimacy of renewable energy plants, the affected local communities, no matter the colour of their skin and the size of their purse, must be given a strong voice and a stake in the process of planning, construction, and operation. Successful social integration cannot only prevent nimbyism, it can completely reverse the picture, as the overwhelming public support for the Ardrossan Wind Farm in Scotland shows. If at least a share of the products and profits of the power plants stays within the communities, they may even empower previously marginalised groups. Breaking up old, coal dust-heavy economic hierarchies, renewable energies have the potential to make the world a more equal place. Therefore, the Covid-19 crisis is not only an opportunity to head towards a renewable energy market, but a truly sustainable one.
W E L C O M E TO E U R O M U N !
Meet our Secretariat and Organising Team! Secretary-General and Conference Manager Julian Schneider Deputy Secretary-General Bartosz Roman
Under Secretary-General for Registrations Anna Lehnert Registrations team Aari Helmelaid, Alexandros Kazakos, Julia Stölben Under Secretary-General for Logistics Catalina Schlienger Logistics team Emily Olsen, Greta Fantoni, Chao Wang
Under Secretary-General for Socials Charlotte Heinrich Socials team Livia Kümpers, Gerben Koopman, Max Griera, Iulia-Ioana Radu Under Secretary-General for Marketing and Communications Emili Stefanova Marketing and Communications team Dominique Lopez, Sophia Ludwig 26
Under Secretary-General for Academics Maria Elena Tsitsiloni Academics team Lena Takvorian, Javier Mayora, Esther Neville, Julia Perendyk, Olivia Lindell, Zuzia Zmuda, Sofia delle Cese, Darius Kölsch, Tetiana Tovstenko Under Secretary-General for Finances and Fundraising Milena Bräutigam
Cook with us!
One Pot Pasta
Ingredients Optional 350g of pasta 150g dried tomatoes in oil 5 tbsp olive oil Fresh basil 150g of small tomatoes 1 small chili pepper 1 tbsp of balsamico creme 1 onion 900 ml water 2 cloves of garlic Pinch of sugar 3 tbsp tomato paste Salt, pepper, oregano
Ingredients 200g cooked chickpeas 50g couscous/quinoa/bulgur 1/2 cucumber 8-10 cherry tomatoes
Adapted from Sallys Blog
Instructions 1. Cut the tomatoes in half and finely chop the onion and the garlic. 2. Add this to your (not yet cooked) pasta in a pan. 3. Add the tomato paste, olive oil, balsamic creme, sugar, pepper, salt and oregano and pour about 800ml of water over it. 4. Cover the pan with the lid, and let it simmer on medium heat for about 5 minutes. 5. Then stir to make sure that the pasta is not sticking together. Repeat this after another 5 minutes. 6. In case the sauce is too liquidy you can let it simmer a few more minutes without the lid, in case the pasta is not ready yet, add some more water and continue letting it boil. 7. After a total of 15 minutes the pasta should be al dente and the dish is ready, enjoy!
Recipe from Milena Bräutigam
Choice of dressing Tahini Dressing 2tbsp Tahini or other nut butter Juice from half a lemon 1 tbsp Water Salt and pepper
Optional 8-10 Olives 75g Feta cheese Chopped parsley Half an avocado Olive oil dressing 3 tbsp olive oil Juice from half a lemon Salt and Pepper Optional: 1/2 tsp mustard 0.5 tsp agave/maple
Instructions 1. Cook the couscous according to the packaging in a large bowl. 2. Chop the cucumber, tomatoes and additional toppings in small pieces and add them to the cooked couscous. 3. Drain the chickpeas and add them as well. Mix everything. 4. Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a small bowl, add water until you have a runny consistency. (For the tahini dressing add water until you have a runny consistency). Taste with salt and pepper. 5. Toss the dressing over the salad and enjoy!
Thursday 13 May
Friday 14 May
Saturday 15 May
Sunday 16 May
Committee Session 3
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Committee Session 6
Committee Session 2
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Committee Session 1 Chair debrief
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