News > JEF: The last drop in an explosive cocktail: we need military de-escalation and a common European foreign policy now

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  • 9th January 2020 - 10:45 GMT

JEF: The last drop in an explosive cocktail: we need military de-escalation and a common European foreign policy now

The Young European Federalists (JEF) Europe are extremely concerned about the conflict escalations around the world, particularly in the neighbourhood of the European Union. From Libya to Iraq, Yemen to Syria, European borders are burning. The absence of a European common foreign policy and a European defence policy is today even more clear and worrying, in the face of a geopolitical framework characterised by the return of nationalism, increasing international chaos, and the overall crisis of the multilateral order.

The international geopolitical setup born after World War II is in deep crisis and the geopolitical balance in the world is changing: from the bipolarism of the Cold War, to a fragile system with the US as a hegemonic superpower, to complex multipolarism dominated by continental powers. The US with Trump is gradually abandoning its historical role as keeper of geopolitical stability in the world, and is ceasing to support the international organisations whose creation it initiated. The geopolitical vacuum in this context, particularly in the Middle East, has been filled by other regional actors following their own narrow interests, creating and feeding more conflicts.

The Young European Federalists firmly underline the urgent need for a common European foreign policy and a European Defence Union to uphold international law, multilateralism, the promotion of peace and the respect of universal human rights.

The EU as a whole represents the third entity in the world for military expenses. Instead of 28 different national defences, we need a holistic approach to foreign and defence policy, in which civil and military tools are integrated in a structural and coherent way to protect people from external threats and stabilise the situation in countries experiencing violent conflicts.

Leonie Martin, President of JEF Europe, explains: “The US’s unannounced retreat from Syria lead to a fragile peace enforced by Turkey and Russia; Iran’s backtracking on the nuclear deal and most recent retaliation against bases in Iraq, following the US’s uncoordinated drone strike that resulted in the death of Quds Forces General Suleimani, now further threaten stability in the Middle East. It’s obvious to everyone: the return of vile nationalistic tendencies in continental powers such as Russia, India, Brazil, China and the US sadly are the perfect ingredients for an explosive geopolitical cocktail.”

Ms Martin continues: “We need stability. But who can guarantee it? President Macron may have ruffled some feathers when he announced the ‘brain death’ of NATO, but can we honestly still blindly rely on the security structures of the last century, when the EU lacks the power to stabilise or influence the course of events in its own neighbourhood? 28 separate, and frequently contradicting foreign policies of Member States have shown their limits all too often, as they do today. The EU must rise up to the geopolitical reality of the 21st century, or resign itself to global irrelevance: we need a common, assertive EU foreign policy. And we need it now”.

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