The European Union's foreign policy chief has issued a hugely provocative statement, urging the bloc to "develop an appetite for power" to better chart its own independent course and navigate various crises especially with Trump in the White House.
"European Union governments need to be willing to intervene in international crises or risk prolonging paralysis in their foreign policy, the EU’s top diplomat said on Sunday," Reuters reports. The EU’s foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell made the statements at the Munich Security Conference, while underscoring he doesn't only mean military power.
The comments appeared tailored to the Trump era and the potential for another four years of him in the White House, which has witnessed the US administration tear up the Europe-backed Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA), impose record tariffs on European goods, take drastic unilateral action on the question Israel-Palestine peace, pull out of the Paris climate accord, and 'meddle' in Europe's energy affairs.
“Europe has to develop an appetite for power,” Borrell stressed. “We should be able to act... not everyday making comments, expressing concern,” he told leaders, lawmakers and diplomats gathered for the annual forum on international security policy.
Borrell called for the bloc to speak powerfully with one voice, as opposed failing time and again on building consensus, in order to boost its “soft power” in the face of Trump's “America First” policies. “When there is no unanimity (in the EU), the remaining majority have to act,” Borrell said. Borrell is former European parliament president and recently served as Spain's foreign minister.
One immediate pressing EU foreign policy question which the continent has remain paralyzed on is coordinating to implement and monitor an arms embargo on Libya. Despite new recent commitments of EU members to uphold a United Nation arms ban, it's lately been described as "a joke" due to Europe's practical inability to implement it in the Mediterranean.
“The arms embargo has become a joke, we all really need to step up here,” UN Deputy Special Representative to Libya Stephanie Williams said this weekend in Munich. “It’s complicated because there are violations by land, sea and air, but it needs to be monitored and there needs to be accountability,” Williams added.
The EU has watched with increased alarm as the crises in both Idlib and Libya heats up, leaving the potential for a repeat of the migrant and refugee crisis of 2015 and 2016, when hundreds of thousands flooded Europe's shores in record numbers.