The EU-Africa summit is taking place in Libya. The country’s lengthy history of human rights abuses put EU leaders in a difficult position over simple questions such as whether to attend. EU leaders should now put pressure on Colonel Gaddafi by posing difficult questions and backing this up with meaningful sanctions rather than just lip service.
Director, European Power programme
Areas of expertise
European foreign and security policy strategy; politics, political movements and cohesion within the EU; Flexible Union; European refugee and migration policy; human rights, democracy, and justice
English and French
Susi Dennison is a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Her topics of focus include the strategy, politics and governance of European foreign policy; migration, and the toolkit for Europe as a global actor.
At ECFR, Dennison leads the European Power programme, which explores how to protect European interests in the post-corona era, balancing the tensions between building European sovereignty and shaping a rules-based international system. She previously led ECFR’s foreign policy scorecard project for five years and worked with the MENA programme on North Africa. Before joining ECFR in 2010, Dennison worked for Amnesty International, on advocacy towards the EU institutions. She began her career in HM Treasury in the United Kingdom. There she held a range of positions, including with the EU Co-ordination and Strategy team during the Convention on the Future of Europe. She advised on prison, probation and migration policy in the run-up to the 2004 wave of accession to the EU, on enterprise in disadvantaged regions and served in the Private Office of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
China’s anger over the award of the Nobel peace prize to Liu Xiaobo leaves the EU with a hard question to answer: Should it stick to its human rights principles or should it look to compromise on its values in pursuit of the world’s most important rising power?
If the EU wants to be a credible promoter of democracy, it needs to highlight the achievement of holding elections in Afghanistan, rather than dwell too long on the undoubted imperfections. Many Afghans are taking part in the elections despite the danger of violence and concerns about corruption, and the polls are not just being imposed by the outside world.
The economic crisis has unquestionably dented the credibility of the liberal international order and caused a Europe-wide identity crisis. But, Susi Dennison argues, it would be a dangerous time for the EU to abandon its values, principles and approach to international relations. The economic crisis is already big enough; the last thing Europe needs is an existential one too.
The EU’s position on Cuba will be discussed at the upcoming Foreign Affairs Council, and the debate is likely to be heated. But beyond the arguments the EU can learn lessons from its relations with Cuba: strong-arm tactics don’t work, realism is important, and the EU’s approach is out of date.
The EU’s common position on Burma is up for renegotiation. Sanctions might not be effective, but are they the only option the EU has?
Attention turns once again to Sri Lanka this week as the country gears up for its parliamentary elections. The EU recently decided to stop treating Sri Lanka as a preferential trading partner. What does this mean for Sri Lanka, and does it affect the EU?s clout in standing up for human rights around the world?
Public faith in EU institutions has declined due to their handling of the covid-19 pandemic. However, citizens still believe in the need for greater cooperation.
Member states are not divided into two diametrically opposed camps. This makes the implementation of the European Green Deal an intricate puzzle – yet achievable.
The Trump years galvanised Europeans’ efforts to strengthen their own sovereignty; they now need to agree concrete offers they can make to the new administration
The reputation of Austria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden as ‘frugal states’ does not reflect public sentiment in these countries
The Portuguese EU presidency should handle issues in line with European voters’ perceptions of the new reality created by the coronavirus
A new survey shows that, after the onset of the covid-19 crisis, there has been a rise in public support for unified EU action to tackle global threats
Europe should not confuse development aid’s role in reducing forced migration with that of reducing migration more broadly
The Portuguese hope that the EU can help them tackle the challenges of globalisation: from climate change to cooperation on the impact of freedom of movement
European voters want to see the European Union come of age as a geopolitical actor and chart its own course
The results of the European election confront EU leaders with a considerable challenge: navigating a new, more fragmented, and polarised political environment
This could be the moment to build a more balanced transatlantic relationship, with Europeans showing the US where we need it to engage, and how – rather than simply waiting for cues from Washington
EU leaders need to show that they are not only capable of reaching an agreement between themselves, but also of shaping the post-coronavirus world
The post-corona recovery threatens Europe’s cohesion, but Spain’s attempt to bridge the north-south divide is likely to fall short
European governments can only defend their citizens effectively if they cooperate at a European level and reinforce multilateral structures based on openness and information sharing
Nationalist parties are increasingly ready to portray climate change as another refugee crisis – an occasion for Brussels to impose standards on member states.
It will be difficult for the member states that are most invested in the EU’s global role to prevent a reduction in the external portion of its budget
The EU’s global role matters to member states, but investing in it is not political leaders’ top priority
Billed as a safe pair of hands, Ursula von der Leyen is about to find out that caution can only take her so far
With two thirds of Europeans voting for a pro-European party, the big challenge now is for the political groups to move beyond their status quo ways of working
The European Parliament elections take place next week – our latest pan-European polling reveals voters are deeply concerned about what the future holds
New ECFR/YouGov research reveals huge fluidity in current voting intentions: 70 percent of Europeans certain to vote are yet to make their choice. Nearly 100m swing voters are up for grabs.
Summary With anti-Europeans on their way to winning more than one-third of seats in the next European Parliament, the stakes in the May 2019 election…
Great power competition is increasingly shaping Europeans’ security environment, while other security threats are also on the rise, from terrorism and cyber attacks to climate change
Edited by Ulrike Esther Franke, Manuel Lafont Rapnouil & Susi Dennison
European leaders are underestimating the danger that Trump presents to the transatlantic alliance and assuming too much continuity in the event of a Clinton presidency
In the midst of a Schengen crisis, how do Europe's member states see the future of Europe's visa-free travel area?
Almut Moeller and Susi Dennison discuss the Britain in Europe Renegotiation Scorecard, and how the fourth basket around migration can be moved forward
Diplomat Robert Cooper, UK PSC Ambassador Angus Lapsley and ECFR's Susi Dennison, explore where and how the UK has influenced European foreign policy decision making in 2014
What are the regional implications of the Tigray conflict and the prospects for transatlantic cooperation around the issue?
When Biden enters the White House, he will look for a Europe that brings solutions rather than problems. Europeans should show they can be an equal partner & offer him a new transatlantic bargain.
Even before the pandemic, Europeans had much to worry about: slow economies and polarised politics, rising global tensions and disorder, an unstable neighbourhood, and a…
What does the corona crisis mean for economic coercion? How does it amplify some of the problems stemming from punitive economic measures Europeans have worried…
How will the tensions around the response to the coronavirus play out through the recovery from this crisis? Can EU states, with their diverse perspectives…
Last week’s episode saw our experts dissecting the coronavirus’ implications for Europe. In today's episode, we’re breaking down how the crisis is unfolding in the…