Although the European Union has remained an influential economic power, the bloc has failed to act as a united front on a number of foreign policy issues, including Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal. The EU’s attempts to re-launch a mission off the coast of Libya and France’s proposal to create a united army have faltered, as well.
The EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell has told politicians and diplomats at the Munich Security Conference that the bloc has to do more than express concern and make comments in international crises.
“Europe has to develop an appetite for power. We should be able to act … not every day making comments, expressing concern”, he said, pointing out that this does not refer only to military power.
The bloc’s foreign policy chief stressed that even a lack of consensus among EU governments, which have failed to agree upon a unanimous position on a number of issues, from policy in the Middle East to Venezuela, should not stop them from acting.
“When there is no unanimity (in the EU), the remaining majority have to act”, the EU high representative said.
Although the EU remains an economic giant, the bloc has struggled to find common ground and act in the face of US President Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy.
His decisions to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord prompted criticism from European leaders but did not entail any substantive consequences for the US. Trump’s move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital despite the lack of a peace settlement in the Middle East, was harshly criticised but no action was taken to counter Trump.
On top of this, EU governments are struggling to form a unanimous position on Donald Trump’s recently revealed “deal of the century” to resolve the decades-old conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis.
The revival of a maritime mission off the coast of Libya to guarantee a UN arms embargo or the idea of creating a joint European army, lobbied by Emmanuel Macron, have not made it past the discussion stage yet as well.