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Has the European Union become a diplomatic superpower?

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Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko stressed on Tuesday that he wants to prevent the migration crisis at the border with Poland, which he is accused of orchestrating, from turning into a « fiery confrontation » with the European Union. The setback says a lot about the resilience of the 27 in response to this crisis, and about the strength of the threats the union has been able to pose.

All this is not over yet. The Twenty-seven seemed to play at first their classic score, i.e. respond in choppy order, when Poland rejected Brussels’ proposal to send Frontex guards to its borders, preferring to build a wall. But after the usual trial and error, the response suddenly became collective and coordinated, as the twenty-seven were seldom able to do.

Provoking his opportunity and victory

The European Union has achieved a geopolitical victory that should not be underestimated. Néanmoins, on peut se demander ce qu’il se serait passé si Lokachenko n’avait pas reculé, ou si la Russie avait mieux soutenu Minsk », estime Joséphine Staron, docteure en philosophie politique à et la rice des et es internationale relations The think tank summary.

Admittedly, Europe had favorable conditions for its victory, but « it was an opportunity provoked by its frank and organized response, » the doctor notes. Above all, it is an affirmation of more than one new unity in terms of foreign policy, which has already been seen this year with the crisis in Afghanistan, the submarine crisis or Brexit.

Realpolitik finally comes to Brussels

This year, Europeans learned the hard way to confront foreign policy. The European Union was not known for carrying political will on an international scale,” notes Josephine Staron, and was content with being a purely economic and commercial power until then. “Today, European countries see clearly that they can no longer ignore a common foreign policy,” says the doctor.

For Sylvie Mattelli, Deputy Director of the IRIS (Institute for International and Strategic Relations) and a specialist in Europe, the beginning of awareness dates back to 2016. Between the election of Donald Trump who was so hostile even towards his allies, Brexit and his emergence from China, “The European Union realizes That he will have to choose a side, and that the best side is himself. » This increasingly close union is also at work in areas other than geopolitics: the European recovery plan in the face of the coronavirus crisis also shows here, according to the deputy director, how Europe knows how to do better and better.

Another visible effect of this geopolitical maturity is the speed of the union. A few days ago, Poland and Brussels were at odds. In less than a week, a joint response emerged. Two or three years ago, it would have taken several weeks, if not months,” recalls Sylvie Mattelli. The speed she attributes to the ruthlessness of other international powers: “Europe realized that in the face of the wolves, quick, resolute and strong responses were needed”, The Deputy Director supports the economic, demographic, commercial, and inevitably even military strength of Europe, the combined responses of the 27 nations have what it takes to win the geopolitical battles.

Europe is strong in the backbone

This is a real internal revolution of the Union, facilitated by the departure of the British, explains Sylvie Mattelli: « Of the 28, they were the most closely connected with a purely trade and economic union. Now that they are no longer there, Europe can more easily play on the foreign and defense political map. « 

If Brexit had played a role, then the many crises that the European Union has gone through will above all be able to strengthen and unite it as never before in its history as a huge force, as Josephine Staron concludes: “The European Union advances only through crises. It is a dangerous game, as it can either break the common structure or make it grow. Europe has shown itself to be so powerful that it has never disintegrated, showing everyone’s desire to preserve this union at all costs. »

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Written by mbenfoddil

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