Blog AnalysisEU Defense (Doctrine)

Juppé: Europe must assert itself in the face of crises. Stop the all-inclusive “soft power”

(credit: European Parliament)

(BRUSSELS2 in Strasbourg) Alain Juppé, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, was present today (February 15) at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Speech before a packed Foreign Affairs Committee (standing, sitting on the steps,... difficult to find a place), then interview with the Commissioner for Enlargement, Stefan Füle; the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, then with the deputies of the EPP.

In a very European discourse, ranging from the economic crisis to the Arab Spring, passing through the conflict in Syria (see brief), and European defense policy, he called for a European leap forward, for a " great European ambition ", for Europe to assert itself more in the face of crises. “ A real investiture speech for a post of High Representative » remarked the MEP of the Greens, Hélène Flautre, adding in a mischievous tone. “ Although this is not a position for which you are applying. ".

Europe must assert itself more in the face of crises...

The European Union must be allowed to “sassert yourself in the face of crises explains Alain Juppe. " I have continued to advocate for concrete progress for European defense and in particular for the European Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP). The Union must draw all the consequences of defense budget reductions by moving towards greater pooling. Faced with security threats that primarily target it, it cannot be satisfied with soft power. »

For the minister, the example of Libya is obvious “ The intervention in Libya has shown the limits of CSDP. It also highlighted real European leadership in NATO. » After listing some results (new mission in the Horn of Africa, OpsCenter, etc.) obtained by the Weimar Triangle initiative, the French minister believes that it is necessary “ continue to move forward, including towards a permanent capacity for planning and conducting operations of the European Union " based on " the excellent report by Catherine Ashton » he underlines.

Learning about the Arab Spring

The Minister also acknowledged a certain complacency in the past with compromising regimes. The Arab Spring " showed us: We were wrong to believe that stability, security and the fight against terrorism justified a certain complacency towards regimes which ignored the aspirations of people for freedom and respect for rights of Man. Today, if we know that the path to democracy will be long and demanding, we also know that the aspiration for democracy is universal.” “Without ever compromising on its values, the European Union must support Arab transitions with all the instruments at its disposal. »

Against a Europe turned in on themselves

More generally, the Minister pleaded for a Europe that does not withdraw into itself, while " Europe is today in turmoil ". " France does not want a European Union that falls back on crisis management alone. If Europe has finally discovered that it is no longer the center of the world, it must not forget that it remains the world's leading economic power: in the world of tomorrow, it will have a major role, to play as a pole democracy, prosperity and stability. »

… but strongly recommend a reciprocity clause

However, the minister wanted to be realistic. “In the dialogue between the European Union and its major strategic partners, (France) wants the reciprocity clause to be at the heart of our relations. Our objective is to ensure that the European Union is now concerned about fair competition with the major emerging countries and that it ceases to consider somewhat naively that the unilateral or asymmetrical opening of the European market would be beneficial in self. This may have occasionally helped countries emerging from crisis. But this would be a mistake with large, very competitive emerging countries like China, India or Brazil.. " he added. " We await the upcoming presentation by the Commission of a reciprocity instrument for access to public markets »

Read also:Bashar will fall and give an account (A. Juppé)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).