Franco Frattini for the 25th issue of Europe’s World

In a world where security threats are transnational, the EU’s foreign policy commitments are going to be needed more than ever

Europe’s world: The Journal

Until a few years ago, the world was a very different place. Europe had for so long played a key role in most spheres, developing new foreign policy capacities and becoming a more global player economically, culturally and socially. Then the financial and economic crisis struck, forcing the EU’s member countries to reflect on the need for new priorities.

We are, of course, still embroiled in a political and economic crisis that is changing the role of Europe; but at the same time we Europeans cannot use this as a pretext for re-thinking our foreign policies, or still worse, for cutting back on our security goals and defence strategies.

In a world where security threats are transnational and where foreign policy has a direct impact on the security and prosperity of our continent, the lesson we must never forget is that the EU’s foreign policy commitments and our strategic defence planning and investment in modern capabilities today are going to be needed more than ever, for all the austerity pressures for cuts as a result of the global crisis.

Put another way, the worldwide economic crisis must not be allowed to affect the primary goal for the EU of the security of its member states and their citizens. That security is what will ensure that although Europe is changing, it will remain competitive and will continue to be reliable in terms of prospective new members, strategic partners and NATO.

NATO is the embodiment of the transatlantic partnership between Europe, the United States and Canada. It’s a partnership based on shared and enduring values of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. It also represents our shared interest in ensuring the defence and well-being of all our countries by projecting security and stability internationally.

That’s why defence cuts, whether unilateral or not, would undermine the security of our citizens and our privileged relation with Europe’s transatlantic partners. Europe will certainly undergo much change by 2038, but change doesn’t mean we should abandon the policy cornerstones and priorities that have served us so well in the years of Europe’s unity and strength.

Franco Frattini
President of the Italian Society for the International Organisation (SIOI) and Italian Foreign Affairs Minister (2008-11)

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