Words are not sufficient. For too long, the EU has satisfied itself with a diplomacy of words, often moralistic and idealistic, but powerless in front of chaos and atrocities, as we saw in Yugoslavia and in many subsequent instances, with consequences, which Europe is the first to suffer from. The reason is that Member States, rather than integrating defence into a democratic construction where they would have a say, prefer to accept the humiliation and subservience that
are the price to pay for American protection. Doing so, not only do the Union and its Member States earn the contempt of other powers, but they also lose the respect of their own citizens.
The citizens of Europe are tired of the strategic babble of their leaders and the alphabet soup of acronyms they have been throwing around over the years under the pretence of building a “Europe of Defence”. They should stop talking and start acting. If they truly mean it, they should lose no time in creating the much-touted “European Defence Union”, another word for the “common defence” heralded in 1992 in the Maastricht treaty, for which Europe has been waiting for too long. Only then will they finally conquer the strategic autonomy they confusedly aspire to.
At a time when the pandemic forces us indoors, there are fewer cars on the road, brands are selling and producing fewer vehicles, many companies in the demanding automotive industry are forced to rethink their activity and positioning. Simultaneously, across the Atlantic, the north-American elections finally indicate a new direction for the country and for the relations it has maintained for many years, namely with the NATO partners.
The West, and in particular the USA, has a long history of often violent and usually unsuccessful attempts at regime changes. After the Cold War the US-neo-conservative global strategy was based on US supremacy and exceptionalism and its goal was global control. The act of terrorism of 9/11 was a consequence of the role of the USA in the Middle East; blind support for the State of Israel, the first Gulf war, activating Muslim activists to get the Russians out of Afghanistan and support for dictatorial regimes.
The transatlantic has once again become a critical foundation for securing democracy and freedom in Europe. This time around, the threats are more diverse and ambiguous than the Soviet tanks of the past generation. Our adversaries, primarily Russia and increasingly China, continue their attempts at subverting democratic institutions and societies. Their toolkit ranges from now-familiar disinformation campaigns to cyber attacks, from political warfare to corruption, as they use economic leverage, energy dependence, and critical infrastructure vulnerabilities to coerce, bribe, or corrupt business and political elites.
The European Commission has underlined several times how strategic autonomy should encompass a variety of sectors, ranging from economy to security. With the election of Joe Biden in the United States the pillar of security and defense, fundamental to European strategic autonomy has received growing attention.
Following Macron’s speech at the Sorbonne in September 2017, announcing a strong push for the future of the Europe of Defence, a new Franco-German dynamic, which was later joined by Italy and Spain, has been pursuing, progressively and more rapidly, greater integration of European security and defence. The key to this initiative has been placed on the principle of cross-border defence cooperation in the development of priority military capabilities, which fulfill the main gaps in the defence sector, and in reducing the fragmentation of the current supply and demand dimensions, to ensure economies of scale, as well as to strengthening the competitiveness, innovation and efficiency of the European defence technological and industrial base.