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We are preoccupied with the state and future of NATO. How about the state and future of the EU?
From the Editor

Constantin IACOBIŢĂ

24/06/2020 Region: Global Topic: Geopolitics

     Beyond the way of putting it, the recently reiterated warning of the president of France reflects long-lasting dissensions and discontent within the military alliance that was established with the aim of defending the Euro-Atlantic area against armed aggression. It also reveals that some of the member states use or try to use, through their leaders, NATO for their own interests – usually domestic, since that is where threats deemed to be important (for the respective leaders’ objective to stay in power) exist and persist.      

 

     This warning regarding NATO is neither the first nor the last. We should not forget that the Alliance was recently labelled „irrelevant”, and consecutive American governments have been increasingly vocal in asking the Europeans to do more for their own security (and defence).  

     The post-Cold War years have shown us, though, that the main threats to EU citizens’ existence, security and prosperity are no longer of a military nature.    

     For this reason and given the specifics of an international environment dominated – as most of us acknowledge - by the competition between great powers, I believe the time has come for us to focus on building a European Union that is united, self-confident, coherent and, most of all, strong – a union empowered and able to ensure the security and prosperity of its own citizens just like the nowadays great powers do for theirs – according to their own concepts, approaches and standards.     

     This is where I propose, to those who wish and believe they can contribute to the debate included, a number of objectives and topics aimed at building such a European Union:

  • Identifying, as well as effectively and fairly prioritizing a common answer to threats to the common security and prosperity;
  • Finalizing the separation of Great Britain through an agreement between two partners with equal rights, that respect each other and remain dedicated to the major principles and objectives that made possible the birth of EU itself and the current levels of development of each of the parties. Moreover, the EU should not forget that Great Britain has been one of its “engines”, that one of the reasons for separation was the lack and the acute need to reform the Union, and that the continent’s security and prosperity can only be provided together;    
  • Finding, or reinventing the EU’s unity and solidarity when facing the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly by agreeing on, approving and implementing as soon as possible the Union’s economic recovery package. This will be an essential test for the EU’s ability to mobilize itself against a range of other challenges and priorities; 
  • Properly financing the common defence through a long-term budget of the EU that will prove to be stretched more than initially thought, given the effects of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This necessity becomes even more urgent given Washington’s stated intention to reduce the size of American troops stationed in Germany;  
  • Last but not least, the tough trade and investment competition with US and China – here is where the EU is significantly disadvantaged, given the lack of unity within the bloc (the lack of unity regarding the vision, approach and policies on energetic security has been exploited by Russia and – recently – penalised by the US, as is the case of Nord Stream 2), as well as the American and Chinese subsidising policies towards national companies operating on the EU market (to which, so far Union does not have an effective response).