22nd Jan 2022

Bosnia and Georgia pose threat to EU security, US intelligence chief says

  • The EU police mission in Bosnia: The US highlighted the Balkan country as being the least stable in Europe (Photo: EUPM)

Potential instability in Bosnia and violence in South Caucasus will pose the main threats to EU security in 2010, the US' intelligence chief has said, while depicting the EU's largest neighbour, Russia, as stuck in a Cold War-era mentality.

The US' Director of National Intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, put forward his assessment in a testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in Washington on Tuesday (2 February.)

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"Events in the Balkans will again pose the principal challenges to stability in Europe in 2010," he said, singling out separatist tendencies in ethnic Serb enclaves in Bosnia and Kosovo as the key problem.

"I remain concerned about Bosnia's future stability. While neither widespread violence nor a formal break-up of the state appears imminent, ethnic agendas still dominate the political process."

The frozen conflict between Russia and Georgia over control of the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions and between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh could more easily lead to bloodshed, he warned:

"The unresolved conflicts of the Caucasus provide the most likely flashpoints in the Eurasia region. Moscow's expanded military presence in and political-economic ties to Georgia's separatist regions of South Ossetia and sporadic low-level violence increase the risk of miscalculation or overreaction leading to renewed fighting."

Mr Blair noted that US-Russia relations have sweetened up in the first year of the Barack Obama presidency. But his portrait of the EU's giant neighbour highlighted several worries.

"I remain concerned, however, that Russia looks at relations with its neighbours in the former Soviet space - an area characterized by President Medvedev as Russia's 'zone of privileged interests' - largely in zero-sum terms," he said.

"Russia continues to use its military in an effort to assert its great power status and to project power abroad, including through the use of heavy bomber aviation patrols, out-of-area naval deployments and joint exercises," he pointed out.

"[It] continues to strengthen its intelligence capabilities and directs them against US interests worldwide. Moscow's intelligence effort includes espionage, technology acquisition, and covert action efforts to alter events abroad without showing its hand."

The intelligence assessment, an annual exercise, also warned about Islamist terrorist activity in Europe.

"Al-Qaida is still plotting attacks against European targets and it has encouraged its affiliates to target European citizens in countries in which the affiliates operate," Mr Daniel explained.

"Networks of Islamic extremists in Europe represent a continued threat because of their access to fighters and operatives with training in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia."

Lawyers threaten action over new EU gas and nuclear rules

Environmental lawyers are threatening to take legal action against the European Commission if gas is included in the EU guidelines for sustainable finances. But the draft taxonomy has also triggered discontent among some EU national capitals and MEPs.

MEPs urge inclusion of abortion rights in EU charter

MEPs have recalled their demands to include the right to legal and safe abortion into the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, a day after French president Emmanuel Macron pledged to open such a debate in the EU Council.

EU orders Poland to pay €70m in fines

The case is one of many disputes between the EU and Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which have started to cost money for Warsaw.

Dutch mayors protest strict lockdown measures

Thirty Dutch mayors have asked the national government to rethink its corona pandemic measures amid protests from museums and cultural centres against continued lockdown.

Macron promises strong EU borders

Obligatory detentions, more security-screening, and faster deportations - these are the French EU presidency's migration priorities.

MEPs to crackdown on digital 'Wild West'

MEPs will vote on new rules setting out transparency obligations for online players and holding Big Tech giants accountable. But some issues proved to be divisive after EU lawmakers tabled over a hundred amendments on the file.

News in Brief

  1. 'No embargo' on meetings with Putin, EU says
  2. Austria to fine unvaccinated people €3,600
  3. MEP: Airlines should start paying for CO2 sooner
  4. Twitter forced to disclose what it does to tackle hate speech
  5. EU watchdog calls for ban on political microtargeting
  6. MEPs adopt position on Digital Service Act
  7. Blinken delivers stark warning to Russia in Berlin
  8. Hungary's Orbán to discuss nuclear project with Putin


Hydrogen - the 'no-lose bet' for fossil-fuel industry?

The EU plans to label natural gas as 'green' in sustainable investment rules. From 2026 it will have to be blended with low-carbon gases like green hydrogen - but many scientists warn this is inefficient, costly and damaging to health.


Macron's vision will hit EU Council veto buffers

President Emmanuel Macron's address to the European Parliament championed a bold and ambitious pro-European agenda. There is one problem though - the plans rely on a system of governance that has gridlocked the EU for over a decade.

Latest News

  1. Lawyers threaten action over new EU gas and nuclear rules
  2. MEPs urge inclusion of abortion rights in EU charter
  3. EU orders Poland to pay €70m in fines
  4. Dutch mayors protest strict lockdown measures
  5. Macron promises strong EU borders
  6. MEPs to crackdown on digital 'Wild West'
  7. Macron calls for new security order and talks with Russia
  8. Macron's vision will hit EU Council veto buffers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us