The future of Europe, between strategic autonomy and alliance with the United States

The future of Europe, between strategic autonomy and alliance with the United States

The world has become multipolar, so there is not much automation left regarding the role of the United States or other powers. A different president or a different geopolitical situation, for example deteriorating relations with China, would lead America to distract itself from Europe. At the structural level, there are also differences in energy policies, because the Americans are independent and we are not, and in monetary policies, with a strong dollar and a weak euro (with different inflationary prospects). If we do not want to risk being abandoned, we must continue the process of integration, because we are well aware that European countries alone do not have the necessary critical mass to manage these global processes.. This new spirit was already there after the pandemic, with the next generation of the European Union, which was a Hamiltonian moment in which something truly constitutional was created in Europe, with the unprecedented idea of ​​being able to make common debts of goals and common expenditures. Now it will be appropriate to move from the next generation of the European Union to energy and security policies, so that we can defend ourselves against the economic and military threats that may come from Russia even after the weapons remain silent. These policies require new decision-making mechanismsThere can be no veto power when faced with a conflict or geopolitical crisis. Looking at the latest Eurobarometer, it can be seen that more than three-quarters of Europeans want European foreign and security policy and energy policy to move beyond carbon into the hands of Europe. Public opinion has a clear will, imperfection on the part of governments.

The world has become multipolar, so there is not much automation left regarding the role of the United States or other powers. A different president or a different geopolitical situation, for example deteriorating relations with China, would lead America to distract itself from Europe. At the structural level, there are also differences in energy policies, because the Americans are independent and we are not, and in monetary policies, with a strong dollar and a weak euro (with different inflationary prospects). If we do not want to risk being abandoned, we must continue the process of integration, because we are well aware that European countries alone do not have the necessary critical mass to manage these global processes.. This new spirit was already there after the pandemic, with the next generation of the European Union, which was a Hamiltonian moment in which something truly constitutional was created in Europe, with the unprecedented idea of ​​being able to make common debts of goals and common expenditures. Now it will be appropriate to move from the next generation of the European Union to energy and security policies, so that we can defend ourselves against the economic and military threats that may come from Russia even after the weapons remain silent. These policies require new decision-making mechanismsThere can be no veto power when faced with a conflict or geopolitical crisis. Looking at the latest Eurobarometer, it can be seen that more than three-quarters of Europeans want European foreign and security policy and energy policy to move beyond carbon into the hands of Europe. Public opinion has a clear will, imperfection on the part of governments.

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From Maastricht until February 24, 2022, we lived on luxuries that are no longer repeatable and sustainable. The total military spending of the European Union in 2020 is 134 billion, twice that of Russia, but with enormous waste due to the repetition of 27 national defense policies. If instead there was a common policy, this investment would be really large and would contribute to the strategic autonomy of the European Union. If Europeans then reach the 2 per cent of GDP they committed to a few years ago, an extra 90 billion would probably be enough as insurance against the surprises of this new and dangerous multipolar world. The European Union was also slowed down by the failure of the locomotive idea, with Germany showing less leadership than in the past. At the start of the war, it started very well with the great turnaround from the passive pacifism of the postwar period and with the promise of a massive investment in redoubling defense investments. At the same time, Germany seems to have stalled, and promises remained a dead letter. Germany has fallen behind France, and Macron has become more assertive of late. But France is not Germany, and this created an opportunity for Italy which, together with the Draghi government, was seen flexibly in the trip of the three leaders to Kiev. Let’s hope that Meloni’s government can get to this point, even if we are still far from that moment when Italy was leading France and Germany in oil and military aid.

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The mode is more streamlined, and in this fluidity, what’s new is that The solidarity of the countries of the East has collapsed. Poland and Hungary are certainly the opposite today. Currently, Poland is among the countries most aligned with Ukraine, while Hungary is instead a major obstacle to all this, which is why it is impossible to imagine a joint future without overcoming the veto. The wisest system is the one in which the convinced advance, as has already happened with the euro and the Stability Agreement, while others will arrive later. The European Commission would prefer to try to reach consensus, but it is less risky to move forward at a higher speed than to risk standing by because of the veto power of some.. The EU will also have to deal with Putin after the end of the war, as his regime is now inextricably aligned against the West, while US support cannot be taken for granted, either for domestic reasons, such as the revival of Trumpism, and both for strategic reasons, such as the escalation of tensions with China. .

Thus, European strategic autonomy is essential so that it can advance its own interests And not out of a supposed desire for equality, as Macron appeared during his trip to China. Aggression must be fought everywhere to avoid the barbarism of the international system, in Ukraine as well as in Taiwan. It is clear that Europe is more oceanic than the Pacific Ocean, but this does not mean that it should give up the wing of the Americans and other allies in the region. Strategic autonomy does not isolate Americans, but rather brings them closer by convincing them that Europe can play its part Contributing to the production of security and not being satisfied with consuming it, as in the time of the Cold War. At the same time, Europe can have the strongest positive impact on the war, as it can reassure Ukraine of its security. With a reliable ability to protect Ukraine in the long term, Europe may be able to persuade the latter to reach a compromise with Russia.

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Philip Andreata He is Professor of International Politics at the University of Bologna

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