EU’s security needs rethink after Brexit （He Zhigao）
High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini presented the EU Global Strategy titled "Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe" at the European Summit in Brussels on June 28.
It was the second strategic report on EU diplomacy and security after the one titled "A Secure Europe in a Better World" in 2003. Though the new report on strategy was drafted before the UK's referendum on its exit from the EU and therefore did not take the country's decision into account, Brexit will bring about numerous challenges to implementing the union's strategy.
The strategy concerns the capacity of the EU to interpret priorities and development policies on the one hand and to use policy tools on the other.
The EU is confronted with the problem of consistency in decision-making, which is impacted by multiple interests, that is to say, the organization lacks sufficient cohesion to prop up fast development.
An EU without the UK will not only have its foreign policy weakened but also its power to select policy tools. Furthermore, constraints among the EU member states will continue hampering the union's diplomatic capability when it comes to security and defense issues.
The Cold War architecture endowed the EU with a relatively favorable environment. On the one hand, the collapse of the Bretton Woods system provided opportunities for the EU to develop foreign economic and trading relations.
On the other hand, the rest of the world had higher expectations for the US and the Soviet Union than for the EU. In the 21st century, the rise of emerging countries has led to a decline in the relative power of the EU and now Brexit has made a dent in its absolute power. Consequently, an external environment which hinders the union from taking action has gradually taken shape. In addition, Russia's influence on the EU's eastern border poses a challenge to the regional security order constructed by the EU and a threat to its diplomatic and security context.
Brexit has overshadowed the EU's global strategy. As Mogherini pointed out, "The purpose, even existence, of our Union is being questioned." Indeed, the EU is being questioned as both a model of regional integration and an example of regional security governance, which will cripple its international reputation.
In a nutshell, Brexit has severely impaired the EU's identity and position as an international actor, which involves four major dimensions including recognition, authority, cohesion and autonomy.
In turn, this is also reflected in the EU Global Strategy, which, for example, says that the EU should transform its normative power and civilian power to a combination of soft and hard power, reinforce cooperation with its strategic partners and the role of NATO instead of underlining its own strategic autonomy, turn its normative guidelines toward an integration of realism and idealism and especially stress principled pragmatism. Moreover, its focus has also changed. It has started to closely follow the stability of eastern and southern Europe, which means its strategic emphasis has shifted to peripheral regions.
The report also mentions East Asia and China but the content related to Sino-EU cooperation is mainly embodied in documents like "China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation" and "Elements for a new EU strategy on China." Both China and the EU recognize security and defense as significant elements or even priorities in their bilateral cooperation, which displays China's increasing political and military presence in the world as well as illustrates that today's major international conundrums cannot be resolved by unilateral actions.
China and the EU play an increasingly pivotal role in safeguarding regional and global security. Nonetheless, the model, fields and dynamics of Sino-EU cooperation remain to be seen in the post-Brexit era.
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