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What Europe after the elections?
   
 
 
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What Europe after the elections?

 
Saturday, 07 November 2009 14:41
 
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by Alessandro Politi (EPOS)
EPOS Insights

The recent safe release of Pompey’s dredge crew members, abducted nearly three months ago in the wave of early spring attacks, reopens the debate over piracy in the Horn of Africa and some (namely human) of its implications.Europe would be a happy island if its problems were just caused by the recent conservative parties victory or by the low turnout for the European Parliament elections. Also the painful ratification process of the Lisbon treaty is not a terrible problem and in itself is not a real cloud on the future of the EU.

Unfortunately the problem is a structural one as it can be easily shown by the situation of the ESDP (European Security and Defence Policy). On one hand progress has been simply impressive.Who dares to quote any more the words of Henry Kissinger during the Cold War “What is the telephone number of Europe?”. The EU has, despite the warnings and threats of the then State Secretary Madeleine Albright, set up real crisis management structures and, look, NATO has not crumbled.

In 1991, when the first coalition reappeared after almost a century with the objective of expelling Saddam Hussein from Quwait, the CSIS think-tank derided the insufficient European contribution in Desert Storm (forgetting that troops were also engaging in Yugoslavia and Somalia). Today the equivalent of two divisions coming from EU countries is deployed in different areas both under European flag or in Lebanon in a UN mandated, but EU dominated mission (UNIFIL II).

EULEX in Kosovo is the biggest civil mission ever launched by any international actor and also until now one of the most ambitious undertakings in the field of state consolidation assistance.On the other hand the situation is far from reassuring. If you talk with diplomats, politicians, academics and top-grade European civil servants, all acknowledge major problems and difficulties, but they share an attitude as if, in due time, all problems will be solved. Militaries instead think that ESDP is a “pol-diplo virtual thing” and have much more immediate worries.

Problem is time is not endless and it does not work for European integration. The main handicap of ESDP is political leadership, vision, initiative, doctrine: they all sorely lack.We agreed to set up real battle groups for real contingencies and until now they have never operationally deployed. Probably they were not needed until now, not even when Goma (Democratic Republic of Congo) appeared under rebel threat, but when you hear some British ideas that battle groups are mainly a transformation means of Eastern European armies, you have serious misgivings.

The Solana Strategic Concept is outdated, because it is so heavily marked by the jihadi terrorist threat, but no one talking about seriously revising it: in the meantime the world has gone forward. The US has lost in Iraq, Iran is a possible negotiation partner, NATO could lose in Afghanistan and North Korea has detonated twice a nuclear device, but we are stuck in the 11th of September time warp.The French presidency has been more French than European, Barroso is unimpressive and Solana is a spent force: do we really believe there are politicians able and willing to carry decisively the ESDP forward? In the six major EU countries there do not exist.

“In due time”, these people were the same talking about the Soviet Union as if it was eternal in 1989. They do not see that in less than a decade the window of opportunity to integrate Europe and make it a worthwhile international power, i.e. a self-determined free union of democratic citizens, will inexorably close. Then we will not be a boring, high quality of life, ageing and rich continent, we will end as any geopolitical entity that is incapable to take its future in its own hands.

We will be partitioned again. There will be no Wall, no barbed wire, no Vopos, just a soft economic partition with nice golden chains. And no real freedom of course for this mega-Florida in the Old Continent.

 


Last modified on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 14:45
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