_ Dr. Albrecht Rothacher, former EU diplomat. Vienna, 21 May 2022.*
Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States from 1901-09, whose imperial expansion he did his best to promote, adhered to the motto: “Speak gently and carry a big stick”. The current EU is exactly the opposite. A myriad of moralizing resolutions and statements on all world problems and countries from A for Albania to Z for Zimbabwe is faced with a striking inability to implement even the most elementary geopolitical interests – not even in its immediate vicinity in the Balkans, in Eastern Europe or in North Africa . The democracy activists in Hong Kong and Belarus, for whom the big EU heart supposedly bleeds, are basically fobbed off with pious sayings and kind words. The very vague threats of sanctions and warnings from the EU before February 24 did not seem to deter Putin from attacking Ukraine either.
But first things first. Because although every new Commission and Council President acts as if he has reinvented EU foreign and security policy, common EU external relations have existed for some time. To be precise, they came into being in 1957 with the signing of the Treaty of Rome of the EEC. At an age that is approaching the retirement age, one can no longer speak of teething problems, God knows, given the ongoing problems.
The origins: common trade and development policies
In the beginning there was the failure of the European Defense Community (EDG) in 1952/3. Faced with the Soviet threat and fears that the Americans would withdraw from Western Europe, the basic idea was to place German soldiers under the command of French officers. But only 7 years after the war the time was not yet ripe. Gaullists and communists rejected the EDC in the Paris National Assembly.
The Rome Treaties of 1957, on the other hand, aimed to create a customs union within the framework of the new EEC (as opposed to the EFTA free trade area). With a common external tariff, the need arose to conduct a common foreign trade policy (and to reconcile the protectionism of France and Italy and the free trade interests of West Germany and the Netherlands) and to negotiate tariff agreements and market openings in third countries, as well as the agricultural protection of the common agricultural policy in the world free trade agreement Defend GATT against USA, Australia, Canada etc.
To this end, the EEC began a common development policy – paralleling national development aid policies: supporting mainly Africa (the 2Arica-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) “association” agreements of Lomé and Yaoundé) as part of the colonial heritage of most of the founding members, yet possessed France and Belgium still had numerous colonies there at the time the EEC was founded.
After the first enlargements in 1973 to include Great Britain, Ireland and Denmark, the EEC discovered the Commonwealth and Asia, and after 1986 Spain and Portugal also Latin America. At the same time, the later EU also gained in global stature with this and later enlargements and aroused corresponding expectations and fears (“Fortress Europe” – unfortunately it was to remain a sandcastle). Overall, however, from the mid-1970s the EEC left the world of Francophonie with its protectionist temptations and oriented itself towards the rest of the free world.
At that time, the main partner for security and trade was the USA, which was involved in the Vietnam War until 1975. Despite occasional trade disputes over agricultural products such as the “chicken war”, the USA still viewed the development of the EC as its potential junior partner with some benevolence.
In addition to the main military threat posed by the nuclear-armed Soviet power, Japan was considered an economic enemy in the 1970s and 1980s until its economic boom in 1990 – similar to China today. At that time, communist China, weakened by the Cultural Revolution, was still economically underdeveloped and meaningless.
Under Cold War conditions, there were no formal EC contacts with the USSR and Comecon (other than highly subsidized exports of EC agricultural surpluses).
After the collapse of the Eastern Bloc (1989/90).
the first steps towards a common foreign and security policy (CFSP) following the apparent failure of the EU in the Yugoslav civil war (1991-2001).
In the 1998-99 NATO bombing campaign against Serbia to gain the independence of Kosovo (which violated international law because it took place without a UN mandate), the EU’s ongoing disagreement was once again evident: while 10 then or future EU states, including the red-green-led Germany with great pseudo-moral posturing, those involved in the fighting, Spain, Slovakia and Romania (because they fear problems with separatists at home) as well as Greece and Cyprus (out of solidarity with their Serbian orthodox co-religionists) reject the recognition of the Kosovo continues strictly.
Nevertheless, it was possible to strengthen the EU economically and in its political potential through further expansions. This began with German reunification and continued through the “European Economic Area” (EEA) as a large customs union with EU internal market standards, which Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein still belong to today, the equivalent special contractual status of Switzerland, through the “EFTA extension ’ around Austria, Finland and Sweden from 1995, followed by the major eastward enlargement of 2005/7, until finally Croatia’s accession in 2013, which probably marks a temporary end. Undoubtedly, the EU reacted much more constructively to the collapse of the Soviet empire – in contrast to the collapse of Tito’s coercive regime – also because the liberated peoples, their values and their mentalities from Estonia to Croatia, despite all the devastation that half a century had been more communist dictatorship that were and are identical to those of Central and Western Europe.
It started with the EU Eastern Europe programs: Phare (for the accession candidates of Central Eastern Europe) and Tacis (for the ex-USSR), with the goals: Strengthening of democracy, privatization, the market economy and administrative reforms in those thoroughly run-down countries. The closer they were to the then EU external borders, i.e. also those of Austria, the better the reforms and modernizations worked, the further away, the less…
Of course, attempts were then made to continue the apparently infallible recipe for success of enlargements, for example to include in the future: Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania (also to curb the growing Russian, Chinese and Turkish influence in the Western Balkans), as well as the absurd drama surrounding the Turkish accession negotiations themselves, which have been ongoing since 1999 with no visible progress or interest on either side. The whole expensive drama – as the EU pays €740 million a year in “preparation aid” to Erdogan, who has never said “thank you” – was a result of selfish US and British pressure: the Americans for breaking away from an EU member Turkey had somehow promised to strengthen the south-eastern flank of NATO and the former Israel ally, and the British were even more cynical because they imagine the final weakening of the EU and the end of all hopes of integration by a major member that is unable and unwilling to integrate and has full freedom of movement rights for its soon 90 million inhabitants hoped for. Both motives have long since disappeared. But nobody in the EU has the courage (and Erdogan has no interest) to end the absurd tragic comedy.
The turn of the millennium was still the time of great illusions. Democracy and capitalism had triumphed and would prevail worldwide as the so-called “Washington consensus”. Communist dictatorships such as those of China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba and Belarus are obsolete, as are the despotisms in the Third World. Islamic fundamentalism was not taken seriously. As late as 2002, then-Commission President Romano Prodi announced that the EU was “surrounded by friends”. Each member state hoped to eat a “peace dividend” and unilaterally abolished its territorial defenses in favor of global intervention troops. Indeed, Zbigniew Brzezinki’s 1978 prophecy of the EU’s ‘arc of crises’, stretching from Morocco to the Middle East to Russia, Central Asia and the Indian Ocean, soon came true.
The new world situation
From around 2000, the rude awakening took place: Putin came to power with the second Chechen war and began collecting post-Soviet soil. Frightened by the color revolts in Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan against old communists, he tried to gain Russian spheres of influence. So in the war against Georgia in 2008, in the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and in the small war in Donbass. As is well known, his war of aggression against Ukraine began on February 24, 2022, which was originally planned as an acclaimed invasion of Kyiv.
Under George Bush Jr, the United States, for its part, began devastating small-scale wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which in turn destabilized the entire Arab world. The Arab “Spring” of 2010/11 saw coups in Egypt and Tunisia, civil wars in Syria and Libya. In Libya, NATO (under pressure from France and Britain) intervened to overthrow Gaddafi, only to absolve itself of all responsibility in the ensuing chaos. Overall, we continue to experience massive destabilization in the European environment, accompanied by a US disinterest in the region that began under Obama and was blatant under Trump, the economic and military rise of China (and less spectacularly India) and the population explosion in Africa.
Meanwhile, the EU undeterred, according to the motto “Everybody’s good and no one woe”, produced long strategy papers that were just as good as they were meaningless, resolutions on all world problems and aimlessly distributed their development aid in order to remedy all the world’s ills with money and kind words. Fundamental reforms were obviously necessary in order to become a relevant actor on the world stage again after this embarrassing permanent failure and to be able to assert European interests (as before the Second World War) powerfully again. But the mountain writhed and gave birth to a mouse.
In the Treaty of Lisbon (2009), which was drafted in 2004 as a grandiose EU “constitutional treaty” but was rejected by a majority of the citizens of France and the Netherlands in 2005, the EU actually wanted to strengthen its foreign and security policy competencies. However, heads of government and their foreign ministries continued to insist on the paralyzing principle of unanimity and thus on the preservation of their individual national decisions, with which they could continue to bring down all joint undertakings with a simple veto. Admittedly, the reforms announced in great detail remained piecemeal and got stuck in a complicated organizational reform of dubious efficiency and effectiveness.
European External Action Service (EEAS)
In essence, the European Commission’s former Directorate-General for External Relations was transformed into a “European External Action Service” (EEAS) with special agency status. These were joined by a number of colleagues and desk officers who had previously dealt with foreign and security policy under Xavier Solana in the European Council Secretariat, plus plenty of hoary hoary diplomats from member states looking for well-paid jobs as EU ambassadors and EEAS directors began to knight and these posts, which mostly had their own national interests in mind, soon began to almost monopolize. The EEAS is further loosely linked to the Commission in the person of its chief, the “High Representative”, as he is also Vice-President (“double hat”) of the College of Commissioners. In addition, all spending programs of the EEAS must be managed as European tax funds by Commission officials in a structure called “Foreign Policy Instrument” (FPI): Only here can the European Parliament intervene in its control function and, if necessary, turn off the EAD’s money supply (which, however, has never happened ). Apart from that, the wishes and views of the gentlemen and ladies of the parliamentarians in the EP’s Foreign Affairs Committee are of no real interest to the EEAS. Much more important are the instructions of the national diplomats in the Council working groups, to whose cacaphonous whistles the EAD laboriously dances or gropes around its own axis in the manner of dervishes.
The top political personnel
Until around 1999, the commissioners responsible for EU external relations defined their job as foreign trade negotiators: defending EU economic interests worldwide and opening up foreign markets for EU products, from flower bulbs to Airbus aircraft, and services. Most of them did so very enthusiastically and successfully. So far so good.
Then the foreign commissioners began to define themselves more politically, the first being Chris Patten (1999-2004), a highly intelligent Tory who, as the last British governor, had no illusions about China, but was very reluctant to travel as an EU commissioner.
This was followed by Benita Ferrero-Waldner (2004-2010), ÖVP, who, as the former chief of protocol at the UN, attached great importance to good manners, even received the last Deputy Foreign Minister of Samoa with a beaming smile, and the doctrine of “comprehensive security” (comprehensive security) that would range from the end of domestic violence, to traffic, to minorities, to nuclear war. All very nice and politically correct, but operationally useless and nonsensical.
Then there was Lady Catherine Ashton (2010-2014), a Labor lady as the first EAD chief who, as a historic merit, negotiated the Iran nuclear deal with US remote control (who did not want to negotiate directly with the mullahs), but otherwise nothing and showed no one interest.
And Federica Mogherini (2014-2019), former socialist short-term foreign minister, nice, friendly and trying not to leave a lasting mark.
And finally, from 2019: Josep Borell, a Catalan socialist with rich academic and diplomatic experience, who sympathetically forms his own views – and not just reads those of the apparatus – and does not seem to have too many illusions about his possibilities.
In fact, the job of EU foreign policy representative is always assigned according to party, gender and national representation after the presidencies of the Commission, Council, Parliament and ECB have been filled. This was most evident in the case of the totally underqualified Lady Ashton (at the EP hearing, for example, she announced that she spoke French, only forgot the vocabulary). Nevertheless, with its dependence on unanimous council mandates of the 27 and with an enormous, by the way quite cheerless, worldwide travel effort, one cannot please anyone in this post.
Organization of the EAD
It employs 3,700 people, which is equivalent to a medium-sized foreign ministry. 1,600 work at the headquarters in Brussels, 2,100 in the 138 delegations with diplomatic status in third countries, which were originally press and information offices of the EU Commission. There is also close cooperation with the embassies of the EU member states on site, from the monthly meetings of the ambassadors to the trade councils and the cultural, scientific and consular attaches.
The tasks of the EAD are internally the coordination with the Directorates-General of the Commission, above all for trade (“Trade”) South East Europe (“Near”), development (“Devco”), but also the sectoral DGs, all of which also negotiate international agendas such as industry, agriculture and fisheries. Since the EU’s foreign policy is intergovernmental, the responsible, regularly meeting Council working groups must always be informed and engaged on all important topics and world regions – and so that the foreign policies of the member states are also coordinated as far as possible in Brussels, followed by the decisions of the ambassadors (in “Coreper”) and the ministers in the Council of Foreign Ministers. You can see that the ideas of the EAD do not have the last word in EU foreign policy, it is the foreign ministers and, ultimately, the heads of government themselves on important issues and partners.
Of course there is also a lot of information exchange and discussion with EP committees (AFET, Trade, Devco). However, the EEAS does not draft any regulations, so Parliament’s codecision powers are ineffective in foreign policy. At most, it could cut off his money supply once a year (which has never happened before).
Then there are military missions, e.g. “Atalanta” to hunt down pirates in the Horn of Africa (where Russian methods are most efficient), Mali (to train the army there, no, not to coup but to fight Islamist insurgents), Somalia (to train a non-existent Coast Guard) etc.; further civil-military missions: For border controls between Moldova and Transnistria, to observe the ceasefire in Georgia, to train the Palestinian customs in Refah (for a border that will never be opened), as well as for endless police training in Kosovo. Some ventures are very meritorious, such as in the Horn of Africa, in Moldova or Georgia, others are downright absurd.
After all, there is a joint “general Staff” without tanks and grenadiers. Tinsel-covered desk officers plan diligently at the sandbox and act very secretive when it comes to the secret service exchange.
In the pre-Corona times, a very lively Brussels think tank scene with German party foundations KAS, HSS, FES, the Breughel Institute, the European Policy Centre, the Open Society (Soros), etc. was influential. Well-organized diplomatic missions are also occasionally present from third countries. Heavy spying is evident from Russia, China, the US, Israel, Iran and perhaps in the future Britain.
As mentioned, the main crux is the unanimity principle in the Council, because unlike internal market issues, there are no qualified majorities. And so little or nothing moves. From Lapland to the Algarve there are naturally different strategic interests, historical experiences (Baltic and Poles suffered sociocide from the Soviets under Stalin, for Bulgarians and Greeks the Russians were the historical protectors against the Turks), as well as “unsafe cantonists” among the 27 who are happy to lend a willing ear to external great power interests (like the British do to the Americans). Compromises are rarely rewarded.
However, there are also real problems, for example in military cooperation: from the highly professional French army under the command of the President (in contrast to the German parliamentary army, where the defense committee palaveres every operation) to the palace guard of Luxembourg. 21 EU countries are NATO members, 4 neutral (among which Ireland is particularly doctrinaire) and 2 non-aligned (Malta and partitioned Cyprus), all with different threat scenarios, defense strategies (if any), military professionalism and armaments. The European Defense Agency is still in an embryonic state, while the EU’s strategic analysis institute, the ISS in Paris, is producing very useful, readable studies. But they are only on paper.
What does an apparatus do that can only deliver political results of the lowest common denominator? Well, he produces strategy papers of all kinds, which do not prioritize content and which cannot define geopolitical interests for everyone, in other words garrulous verbiage that does not get any better from being recycled every few years – because the Ministers have agreed to the whole thing before. So subordinate officials cannot simply reject the texts.
The result is predictable: there is an inflation of the undefined term “strategic partners”: from the USA to China to South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia. They are simply countries that are big enough and that the EU is keen to work with.
For each continent and partner country, this is followed by a largely identical hodgepodge of target catalogs pro bono contra malum: world climate, poverty reduction, freedom from nuclear weapons, ban on the death penalty, women’s rights, promotion of gays et tanti quanti.
The result is an influential because unconditional checkbook diplomacy. Every developing country gets nice budget subsidies as soon as it only halfway credibly claims that it wants to renovate schools, hold women’s seminars and only cut down trees sustainably….
Instead of political actions, EU diplomacy exhausts itself in a mass production of inconsequential, moralizing public statements that are laboriously negotiated among the 27 foreign ministries and the EEAS.
To this end, she constantly gives moral sermons in the regular human rights dialogues with all partner countries and lectures on fighting corruption (as if the EU were corruption-free). Yes, the EU also insists on human rights clauses in agreements with Canada and Australia, although these have a much longer democratic tradition than most EU countries.
The basic orientation of the CFSP: It is based on a rules-oriented multilateralism and the promotion of the UN institutions (whereby the EU occasionally behaves like a regional agency of the UN or an overly large NGO), respect for international treaty, trade and international law, including the relevant human rights declarations (which prudently do not contain any ethnic group rights!). The fixation on international law and multilateralism corresponds to the politics of the little man who is not able to form a pact and cannot assert his own interests, and is completely appropriate for countries like San Marino, Monaco or Liechtenstein.
The unilateral power politics of the major and medium-sized powers, which, like the USA, China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and India, are striving for hegemonic global or regional spheres of influence in their national interest, is the EU way of thinking (of France once apart from) completely alien. One gets the impression that most of the leading players can no longer even think strategically.
Are there still allies for EU foreign policy? Oh yes, you can count them on the fingers of one hand: Norway, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.
Reaching into the sanctions box has been one of the favorite instruments of both the EU and the USA for some time. Agitators always demand maximum sanctions, which are then watered down by others. So every state gets its money’s worth.
Traditionally, the EU (usually in conjunction with the USA and other western partners) imposes sanctions on war criminals or particularly corrupt and cruel heads of state in the third world, imposing entry bans, confiscating villas and freezing their accounts. There are also export embargoes that the UN Security Council has imposed on rogue regimes such as the murderous Kim dictatorship in North Korea. Since 2014, following the illegal annexation of Crimea and the occupation of parts of the Donbass by Russia, which had previously pledged Ukraine the inviolability of its territory, the EU has blocked military and strategic technology exports and transactions to Russian state banks, as well as individual high-profile malefactors individual sanction lists set. The Kremlin responded with an annual €6 billion embargo on EU food imports, but this hit Russian consumers hardest in the form of higher prices and lower quality.
After the West quickly got back to business as usual after Russia’s 2008 war in Georgia, the unexpected use of the sanctions weapon had deterred further aggression for just 6 years. With the new Ukraine war, the EU has already passed 5 packages of sanctions that will damage the Russian economy and the rearmament potential in the long term – but still omit the oil and gas imports that would endanger the economy and energy supply of Eastern/Central Europe – and yet predictably failed to stop the Russian war of aggression (after all, the Russian military was being upgraded with past oil revenues).
Foreign policy consequences of Brexit
The exit of the United Kingdom at the beginning of 2020 meant a significant loss of power and reputation for the EU, especially in the Commonwealth and the Anglophone world, a minus of 56 million inhabitants, the third largest economy in the EU, the 2nd best army and navy in the EU, British nuclear submarines, a seat on the Security Council, British intelligence and British cultural influence worldwide, a loss the EU has not yet mentally digested, for which some seem to believe that the accession of Albania and North Macedonia can make up for it . On the other hand, it could be positive that a hardliner and difficult partner, often loyal to the US and occasionally disloyal, drifts into insignificance in world politics as Little England.
The current foreign trade policy
The WTO (as GATT’s successor) and with it the world free trade system have been in crisis for a decade. World trade rounds are deadlocked thanks to China and India. The US blocks WTO arbitration by not appointing judges, and Russia does not care about any of the organization’s arbitral awards.
The alternative – not just for the EU: Comprehensive bilateral free trade agreements with investment protection etc. with all neighboring and important overseas trading partners, including the EEA with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, Switzerland, the Western Balkans, the customs union with Turkey, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Canada, Australia, Mercosur (which is still in limbo) etc. NAFTA with the US has been dumped by Trump, as has the TPPA across the Pacific – there to the delight of China – for the time being. Joe Biden also follows protectionist instincts as president.
The variety of those hundreds of bilateral free trade agreements with often very different rules has now become very confusing as a so-called “spaghetti bowl”, especially when the value chain includes several countries of origin.
Universal WTO rules would make it easier and less expensive and burdensome.
At the moment, the most important thing vis-à-vis China is to prevent the takeover of strategic European industries, Chinese industrial espionage and the continued theft of intellectual property. With regard to Russia, the EU must reduce its dependence on Russian gas and crude oil supplies even after a possible armistice through increased diversification. In relation to both, access to public procurement, which is illegally blocked by the WTO, and the privileged role of state-owned companies must still be enforced through the concentrated negotiating power of the 27, which is still the largest economic power in the world.
The achievements of EU economic diplomacy, propagating and often successfully enforcing EU norms and safety standards worldwide, are unsung, which makes work much easier for our exporters and investors and helps to secure industrial jobs in the export economy.
It follows the cycles of development fashions without a country ever having developed without its own efforts as a result of development aid. Currently, instead of the project orientation of earlier decades, when wells were drilled, dams, hospitals, schools and roads were built, direct budget payments to the recipient countries and transfers to the various UN agencies are booming, which then, after deducting their administrative costs of 10 to 20 percent each, Pass on money to NGOs for the implementation of noble millennium, climate and women’s promotion goals – which at the same time should of course somehow combat the causes of migration. The entire EU (including Member States) spends around 0.4 percent of its GDP (€55 billion) annually on its global do-gooders. Even without any visible success, this amount is to be increased to 0.7 percent of EU GDP. About €8 billion comes from the EU budget. For the Commission bureaucracy (“GD Devco”), passing on to downstream UN agencies, NGOs and direct transfers to the ministries has the great advantage that the whereabouts of the funds can no longer be verified by the EU Court of Auditors, and parliamentary questions are answered with a shrug of the shoulders can, the budget simply disappears as spent without much effort and one can adorn oneself with fictitious success stories and the unverified statistics of the recipient countries without being responsible for it.
The unresolved issues with the main partner countries
US neo-isolationist unilateralism did not start with Trump: US security guarantees have become just as unpredictable as American compliance with international trade law, which Congress and/or the President can overturn at any time through unilateral sanctions. The American public has the not unfounded impression that the Europeans are essentially free riders in the US armaments effort. It is more than uncertain whether US foreign policy will change substantially under a President Biden who, like Obama, must primarily serve a local underclass and migrant clientele.
A difficult partner: The dreams of a free trade zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok under Yeltsin are long overdue. In an unequal alliance with China, Putin is playing an anti-Western card to implement his neo-imperial and personal ambitions for power by 2036. At the same time, Russia remains a raw material supplier dependent on wildly fluctuating world market prices with enormous weaknesses in industry, in services and in the social and transport infrastructure. In addition, the Kremlin leadership has the fatal tendency to react to signs of Western weakness with carefully calculated aggression that was limited until recently, but now also with unpredictable military aggression in the wake of Putin’s obviously serious illness. Militarily, the EU still has nothing to offer as a deterrent. Only NATO remains.
China successfully launched the Corona virus (it was not the first and will not be the last) and is now – 10 times economically stronger and more populous than Russia – flexing its muscles: With limited border skirmishes with India and in the South China Sea, the Hong Kong’s imminent coming into line, military threats against Taiwan, systematic investments in the transport and energy infrastructure of Central and South Asia, Africa and the Balkans, it is trying to expand its borders and spheres of influence to the south, west and the Pacific as a future world power. Despite the ongoing dispute with the USA, EU resolutions on good conduct go unheeded at best.
Since 1999 it has been chosen as a “accession country” under pressure from the US and the UK. Since 2005 it has been “negotiated” with no prospect of an end. Neither the Islamist Erdogan nor his right-wing coalition partner want EU accession, but they are happy to continue to accept the “pre-accession aid”, the EIB loans, and the extorted refugee aid amounting to tens of billions a year without words of thanks and without caring about pious EU wishes: yes Even before Erdogan, Turkey saw itself as a proud regional power that ruthlessly pursued its own interests with a variety of partners: from the invasion of northern Cyprus in 1975, the closing of the border with Armenia to regular military excursions to Syrian Kurdistan.
The EU wants a two-state solution without annexations between Israel and Palestine. She also wants to save the nuclear-waiver agreement with Iran. She wants a ceasefire in Syria without Assad, also a pious wish due to a lack of masses and political will, and finally also a ceasefire in Libya, where the Italians and French, however, support hostile warring factions. In short, it’s not distant countries like Venezuela, Hong Kong, Burma or South Sudan where the EU has nothing to report, but literally its own backyard too. Is there a greater indictment?
There are light and shade in EU foreign policy. The solid foreign trade policy of the EU, which is geared to its own economic interests, was and is positive for export jobs and European competitiveness. The expansion cycles are also a success story, most recently the eastward expansion to include the reform states from Estonia to Croatia. But already it. The development policy pursued so far seems a caricature of itself, and a foreign and security policy based on the principle of unanimity can only continue to fail, even if Brussels finally starts to think in real and geopolitical terms instead of thinking in terms of global moralizing, money-distributing charity and constantly congratulating oneself for “achievements”.
*Presentation given on 21 May 2022 in Vienna, Austria at the third module of the Europe academy of the Freedom Educational Institute (FBI).