In November last year, 23 member states of the European Union (EU) made a historic decision to move defense cooperation from a mere political commitment to concrete action, through awakening what has been called “the sleeping beauty” of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty.
Beijing’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea is putting Europe’s economic interests in the area at risk. More than one third of Europe’s external trade takes place with the Indo-Pacific region and any escalation of tensions in this area will undoubtedly have a direct impact on Europe.
After Brexit, there is no guarantee that the major powers in NATO and the EU will agree on how to respond to future crises.
At a summit in Brussels on March 22, EU heads of government will issue a statement of solidarity with the United Kingdom following the recent nerve agent attack on double-agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury. This statement of support follows similar strong declarations by NATO and the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council.
The question for Europe now is whether it needs to de-couple its strategy toward regional great powers from that of the United States.
Geopolitical competition has made a roaring come back in recent years. Russian President Vladimir Putin, always on the cutting edge of new fads, welcomed the new era with flair last week by introducing an entire new generation of nuclear weapons aimed at the United States.