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EU FOREIGN AFFAIRS COUNCIL MEETS TO DISCUSS SECURITY
Europe’s security environment is the worst is it has been since the end of the Cold War. This means there will be much to discuss today when the EU Foreign Affairs Council convenes.
Russian revanchism threatens the Union’s eastern flank, and neighbouring states from Libya to Iraq leak terrorists and migrants into Europe’s visa-free zone.
Brexit means that the EU will have to negotiate new security arrangements with the UK, which contributes one of the Continent’s strongest militaries. Washington’s new hard-line approach to military spending – it said it would “moderate” its alliance commitment if European NATO members fail to spend 2% of GDP on defence – makes things even worse.
To address this strategic instability Brussels is trying to deepen its member states’ security cooperation. Defence ministers will assess their progress to date, and they will hope they can agree on concrete measures – the potential election of a French ultra-nationalist or a doveish German coalition this year could make military collaboration even harder.
THE LIE OF THE LAND: WAGE PROTESTS IN ZIMBABWE
Zimbabwe’s civil servants will strike on Monday to protest the government’s failure to pay bonuses. The action may result in a complete government shutdown.
Tensions between the state and unions are intensifying; critics say the government has engaged in union-bashing and deliberately shifted meeting times to hinder workers’ claims. Despite unions saying workers want their bonuses delivered in cash, the government insists that surveys must be undertaken to see whether workers would prefer non-cash bonuses, like land.
Shifting meeting times could be a stalling tactic – the government may be unable to deliver cash bonuses due to a shoe-string budget. Although Zimbabwe used to be one of Africa’s most advanced economies, an acute cash shortage and failure to secure new international loans have crippled the economy.
While Monday’s protests are likely to be a blow to the government’s daily operations, they are unlikely to force the state to back down non-cash bonuses.