Europe takes very seriously Trump’s rhetoric about limiting US commitment to NATO and Old Continent’s defenses. In view of that, Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, speaking at a conference entitled “The Future of EU-NATO Cooperation“, found a great opportunity to address the dawning US alienation from Europe. She went as far as to state that “on the European side, for the first time ever we are moving towards a real European Union of security and defense”. Last Monday, the European String observed that Trump’s questioning of the US – EU kinship will change the world as we know it.
Mogherini appeared alarmed about Washington’s fundamental change of policy towards Europe and said that “I know there are some, both in Europe and America, who are worried today about the future of NATO and of the future of the Trans-Atlantic bond”. No need to say that she and many more in Brussels and the other EU capitals are included in those who ‘are worried’. That’s why Germany, France and other EU countries are now quickly adapting to the new global environment.
Europe to sail alone?
If it was just for the Brexit, the EU could have found a way to absorb the British casualty, without grave harm caused to the defense and security structures of Europe. Even Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary and leader of the Brexit campaign, has stated that his country will wholeheartedly continue to fully participate in the EU defense and security edifice. There is no problem at all with Britain’s participation in NATO and the other European security structures. What is at stake is the American nuclear coverage of Germany and practically of all the other central European countries and of course of the Baltic Republics.
Reportedly, Brussels and more so Paris and Berlin, have grasped by now that the European powers have from now on to cater for themselves in the dangerous and very expensive field of defense and security, and this not only for their own account. They are obliged to stand for the smaller EU states and also be able to protect the Union’s (mainly France’s and Germany’s) interests in the neighborhood and beyond Europe’s borders. Ukraine will be the first test of EU’s new strategy.
North Africa and Middle East
Undoubtedly, when the fate or more likely the dismembering of Libya and Syria will be decided, the European governments will consider their participation in the negotiations table as a must. Understandably, both the US and Russia won’t favor Europe’s presence in deciding the future of all the above mentioned war-torn countries. So Europe has to back its aspirations there with serious political and military assets, if it is to be accepted in the feast of the powerful.
To this effect, Mogherini last week unveiled the EU’s ambitious plans on defense and security. She said “We have an ambitious agenda to present to the Council on the 6th of December”. Reportedly, on that day the 27 EU leaders will adopt the pillars of the new EU defense structures. On 19 September, the European Sting described in details this EU defense and security package, which France and Germany ‘sold’ in Bratislava to the other 25 EU member states. On that occasion “Tusk clearly stated that the EU will create now a new and obviously much stronger and more flexible defense structure than the existing one”. Understandably, it will be built on the premises of the European Union Military Committee.
New military structures
To this effect, Mogherini reassured the world that the 27 EU leaders on 6 December will adopt the already drafted ‘Union’s Global Strategy Implementation Plan on Security and Defense’ and EU Commission’s ‘European Defense Action Plan’ to be presented in the next weeks. Both these plans are obviously meant to enable the EU – in reality France and Germany – to sit on the table of the powerful and thus participate in the partition of the ‘spoils’ in North Africa and the Middle East.
The question is if the two mainland European powers, France and Germany, will go tightly packed together all the way through on the rough path of world politics. Trump’s US and Putin’s Russia will try to break the European front and thus neutralize the role of the Old Continent in world affairs. Already Britain is out of the game, totally absorbed by the precarious handling of the Brexit, alienated from both Germany and France. In conclusion, Trump and Putin are now obliging mainland Europe to effectively back its economic might, with the needed political and military leverage. If they fail the world will continue turning around without them.