Multipolarity and Connectivity
Is the EU Falling Apart Over Foreign Policy?

A fault line in the EU member states’ foreign policy is becoming increasingly clear, not only with respect to the Ukraine issue but also in the Gaza conflict. It is about the supremacy of the United States and NATO as well as the role of international organisations. In view of the ongoing division of a multipolar world with new “cold” and “hot” wars, it is essential to realign the overall direction of international geopolitics on a joint basis, writes Ulrike Reisner.

Spain, Ireland and Norway said in late May they want to recognise a Palestinian state, followed by Slovenia. Malta is also considering this move. It means that a total of ten EU states, most of them in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, already accept Palestinian state sovereignty, as do two-thirds of the United Nations states. For Yolanda Díaz, coalition partner of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, recognising the Palestinian state is a question of human rights and international legality: “The situation in Palestine forces us not to stay here. We must continue to work to end the genocide and achieve a ceasefire.”

Dissent on the arrest warrant

As if this disagreement did not exist in Europe, the foreign ministers of the “Weimar Triangle” recently agreed on security policy priorities for the upcoming legislative period. These include strengthening the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, establishing an integrated European External Action Service and expanding EU defence capabilities:

“We reaffirm the importance of stronger and more capable European defence capabilities that make a positive contribution to global and transatlantic security and are complementary and interoperable with NATO. In this context, we underline the importance of a strong European pillar within NATO for maintaining and strengthening our collective defence and security as allies.”

However, this does not change the fact that Poland recognised Palestine as an independent state as early as 1988, while Germany and France — like almost all states of “old” EU Europe and the Baltic states — have refused to do so to date.

The request by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for arrest warrants against the leaders of Hamas and Israeli officials was therefore bound to cause a rift among the EU member states. As expected, Germany in particular reacted critically. The Foreign Ministry stated that the simultaneous application for arrest warrants against the Hamas leaders on the one hand and the two Israeli officials on the other gave the incorrect impression of an equation: “The Israeli government has the right and the duty to protect and defend its population against this. It is clear that international humanitarian law and all its obligations apply.” France, on the other hand, has accepted the Chief Prosecutor’s requests, as have the governments of Ireland and Spain. The latter two states have also recently called for the Association Agreement between the EU and Israel to be reviewed.

For a long time, the EU states have tried to present a unified image to the outside world on the issue of Ukraine. However, this image is also beginning to crack: only recently, the Italian government rejected NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s call to allies to lift the restrictions on the use of weapons supplied by the West against targets in the Russian Federation. For almost a year, Hungary has been blocking the pro rata reimbursement of weapons earmarked for Ukraine under the European Peace Facility.

In fact, the foreign policy rifts between the EU member states are becoming ever deeper. On the one hand, it is about the role of international organisations and the question of what role they can and must play in an increasingly multipolar world.

Multipolarity and Connectivity
The Dark Side of Brussels’ Energy Policy: The Green Deal’s Death Knell
Ulrike Reisner
Pursued under the concept of the Green Deal, the energy transition has been one of the strongest and most damaging factors influencing the economy of the Federal Republic of Germany, and therefore the economy of Europe. This policy is primarily being pursued by Ursula von der Leyen's European Commission and Olaf Scholz's cabinet. Economic figures are poor, energy prices are a burden on the economy and society alike, and yet important political decisions continue to be subject to the dictates of the energy transition.

Energy as an instrument of power

Secondly, it is about the hegemony of the United States and NATO in Europe. This becomes particularly clear in the orientation of the “Weimar Triangle”: while Germany continues to serve the interests of its transatlantic ally in Europe for well-known reasons, this plays into the hands of Poland, with its historically grown aversion to Russia. France, on the other hand, is clearly dreaming of a United States of Europe under French leadership.

However, it should not be overlooked that there are tangible economic and, above all, energy policy interests behind the solidarity of the three major continental European states: In line with Brussels‘ Green Deal, Poland now wants to bring forward the phase-out of coal and is planning to start using nuclear energy in 2033. Six units with a total capacity of 6 to 9 gigawatts are to be built at two locations and will be ready by 2043. Half will be constructed by US companies, the other half by South Korean companies — countries from which Poland has recently ordered weapons, military vehicles and fighter planes.

With its radical exit from coal and nuclear energy, Germany in turn has become an electricity importer. Among the largest supplier countries, France was just ahead this time. It can therefore be expected that France and Poland will pincer Germany and make it dependent on their energy supplies.

New rules are needed

However, this does not change the fact that the fault lines in the European Union are widening into clear fissures. The latest moves by countries such as Spain and Ireland should be seen less as an unfriendly act against Israel and more as a clear signal against the hegemony of the United States and NATO in Europe. As the “old grandees” of European foreign policy, France and Germany will have to weigh up carefully whether they want to continue to support the hegemonic claims of their transatlantic ally. In doing so, they are actually risking the disintegration of the European Union.

In view of the ongoing division of a multipolar world with new “cold” and “hot” wars, it is essential to realign the overall direction of international geopolitics on a joint basis. This includes an expansion of international legal regulations as well as global international organisations. Recently, there has been criticism that non-state actors are more and more often interfering in the politics of international organisations and turning them into tools for their own, often capitalist, agenda.

However, we know that non-state actors are not subject to international law. They can therefore not be held accountable for their actions, or only in a roundabout way. This fact must be taken into account in the restructuring and reorientation of international organisations. The new, multipolar world needs rules and structures to which state and non-state actors alike can submit because they feel that their interests are being recognised.

Multipolarity and Connectivity
The Dark Side of Brussels’ Energy Regime: Lobbying Interests
Ulrike Reisner
Brussels is reinforcing “energy emergency” and prolonging it. What is being sold to the population as an “energy transition” is part of an economic war that is being waged at the expense of Europe’s future, writes Ulrike Reisner. The first part of her analysis is available here.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.