Policy Briefs

R. Perissich: Why the EU needs a common foreign policy (and what it would take to have one)

As a result of an ill-advised military intervention by some European countries, Libya has been in a state of bloody civil war for many years. It is now achieving a modest degree of stability thanks to the military intervention of Russia and Turkey, which are backing opposite sides of an internal conflict; the two countries are not particularly friendly with the EU. And yet, Libya is a critical factor for the control of immigration flows into Europe and for the stability of the Sahel region. That same Turkey is also blackmailing the EU on immigration and threatening EU members Greece and Cyprus with territorial claims. The Russian foreign minister has publicly humiliated Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative, during a visit to Moscow and declared the EU “non reliable”. The former President of the United States, of all people, has addressed us Europeans in terms that are usually reserved for foes and not for friends and allies. The confrontation between China and the US is becoming the defining factor that will shape world affairs for the rest of this century. And yet, EU member states don’t share the same view of how to react. Other examples could be added. One should therefore not be surprised if both European citizens and foreign powers will ask why the EU, for all its accomplishments, has so far failed to develop a common foreign policy. In short, where is Europe’s telephone number, the one that Henry Kissinger had once famously asked for?

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