European Union: Situation of Asymmetric Chaos

The European Union still does not have the possibilities and capabilities of its member states to speak with one voice.

On January 29, 2016, the Valdai Discussion Club presented its annual report entitled War and Peace in the 21st Century. International Stability and Balance of the New Type. Ambassador Wolfgang Petritsch, Member of the Board of the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue and former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, took part at the presentation and made some comments:

It was a big mistake, that after the peaceful breakup of the Soviet Union the West was thinking that it was a done deal without any extra attention. At that time the European attention was more focused on the Balkans. And the European Union did not have tools and instruments to deal with crisis situations.

25 years later the European Union still does not have the possibilities and capabilities of its member states to speak with one voice, to act as one instrument. The EU is in a situation of asymmetric chaos. And chaos is one of the key words in the new proposal for a European global security strategy. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has described the situation with those 3 C’s that now dominate international politics - Crisis, Chaos and Competition.

The EU is trying to establish a sort of a fundamental basis of its new strategy, and when we talk about much more interconnected world, we talk about a more contested world, referring to the competition, and we talk about a very complex world - much more complex than it ever used to be. This is the outcome of globalization which was basically economic and now is starting to take also other paths.

We need regional organizations to make this globalization more structured. In spite of all the problems connected with the Cold war heritage, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is a very good example how under very difficult circumstances a dialog can be established. The main message is that in spite of strong ideological confrontation a diplomatic and political dialogue is possible.

Now we are in a situation which is very much different from the times of the Cold war and the post-cold war era. We have failed states, we have ungoverned territories, we need to talk about conflicts in Syria, in Iraq or about 60 mln displaced persons around the globe. We need to talk about Africa, where in the next fifteen years the number of additional unemployed young people will grow up by 35 mln annually.

That is why the regional cooperation is very important. OSCE should be considered as a footnote – it was the first international organization to deal with the Ukraine crisis. In the Middle East we need a regional solution not only for Syria and Iraq. DAESH was very quick in pushing away the colonial borders. Unless there is a regional structure to deal with these issues it will be difficult to single out critical problems and resolve them.
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.