The UK left the European Union on New Year’s eve, after the end of the transition period that maintained the status quo for 11 months after Britain formally left the EU on January 31, 2020. While it would mean that the UK’s reclaiming of national independence from the EU and its rules, several challenges remain for the future to be addressed. The post-Brexit trade deal has brought in new restrictions and left several key issues unresolved, leaving the possibility of tense ties between the UK and the EU.
“I may not agree with what you say, but I shall defend until death your right to say it” is one of the most profound arguments for freedom of speech and expression. This quote has never been more relevant than under current circumstances when a series of Islamic terror attacks in France has reignited the debate between freedom of speech and blasphemy. These attacks were a response to an offensive depiction of Prophet Mohammad by a satirical magazine. The recent terror attacks and the freedom of expression and religion followed in France have spilled over to the international arena, with several Muslim majority countries like Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia and others criticising French President Macron’s strategy to reform Islam in France in accordance with its constitutional principles.
In early July 2020, An extract of the final award of the ad-hoc tribunal constituted to settle disputes related to the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) regarding Italian marines Case between India and Italy was published by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). It has ordered to cease all criminal proceedings against the two Italian Soldiers in Indian courtrooms by rejecting India’s contention that the soldiers, who were accused of killing Indian fishermen, could be trialled in Indian courts. Following the order, Centre has made a plea in Supreme Court seeking the closure of cases against the Italian soldiers. But the Supreme Court has refused to pass any such order without hearing victims’ kin and getting them paid the compensation.
The relations between Greek and Turkish states have been marked by alternating periods of mutual hostility and reconciliation ever since Greece became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1830. The two NATO allies’ relations are currently marred by increasing military presence of both countries at the Eastern Mediterranean, where both claim oil-and-gas exploration rights.
Almost 12,000 US troops are to be pulled out from Germany by the Trump Administration, adding to the tensions within the NATO. This is in response to Berlin’s non-compliance to increased defence spending. This decision resulted in widespread criticism as it is undermining a strong symbol of Washington’s commitment to its European allies, creating a rift among the NATO members and emboldening Russia and China, the adversaries of the US, to increase their presence in Europe.
The 15th India-EU Summit, which was held virtually, saw very little progress in the boosting of the bilateral relationship. Previous summits, since 2000, have failed to address the differences between India and the European Union because, though they have had vast areas of discussions, they lacked political commitment from both sides. Notwithstanding numerous differences, the shared principles and economic potential can not only bringing change to the bilateral relationship but also the international order that is dominated by US-China tussle.