The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell urges the EU members to shoulder more responsibilities themselves instead of relying on other countries like Russia for Energy, China for the Market or the US for security.
“Our prosperity has been based on cheap energy coming from Russia. Russian gas – cheap and supposedly affordable, secure, and stable. And the access to the big China market, for exports and imports, technological transfers, for investments, for having cheap goods,” he said.
“Our prosperity was based on China and Russia – energy and market. Clearly, today, we have to find new ways for energy from inside the European Union, as much as we can, because we should not change one dependency for another. The best energy is the one that you produce at home. Access to China is becoming more and more difficult. The adjustment will be tough, and this will create political problems,” he said in his opening speech at the EU Ambassadors Annual Conference 2022.
He noted that “We delegated our security to the United States. While the cooperation with the Biden Administration is excellent, the transatlantic relationship has never been as good as it is today. We are in a fantastic relationship and cooperating a lot; who knows what will happen two years from now, or even in November? What would have happened if, instead of Biden, it would have been Trump or someone like him in the White House? What would have been the answer of the United States to the war in Ukraine? What would have been our answer in a different situation?”
“These are some questions that we have to ask ourselves. And the answer for me is clear: we need to shoulder more responsibilities ourselves. We have to take a bigger part of our responsibility in securing security. The United States – take care of our security. China and Russia – provided the basis of our prosperity. This is a world that is no longer there.” he further said.
He stressed that “There is a messy multipolarity. There is the US-China competition. This is the most important “structuring force”. The world is being structured around this competition – like it or not. The two big powers – big, big, big, very big – are competing and this competition will restructure the world. And this will coexist with a broader “democracies vs. authoritarians”, a big divide. I would not insist a lot on it because on our side, there are a lot of authoritarian regimes. We cannot say “we are the democracies”, and the ones which follow us are also democracies – that is not true.”
According to Borrell, there is a fight between democratic systems and authoritarian systems. But authoritarianism is, unhappily, developing a lot. Not just China, not just Russia. There is an authoritarian trend. Sometimes, they are still wearing the democracy suit, but they are no longer democracies. There are some who are not democracies at all – they do not even take the pity to look like democracies.
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“The world is not purely bipolar. We have multiple players and poles, each one looking for their interests and values. Look at Turkey, India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, and Indonesia. They are middle powers. They are swing states – they vote on one side or the other according to their interests, not only their theoretical values. But these people – I mention them again: Turkey, India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, Indonesia – are players and poles. This creates this messy multipolarity. These people – and there are a lot of people inside – are there, and not always following us,” he added.
He pointed out that “the rising nationalism, revisionism plus identity politics. Putin does not want to restore communism. He knows that nobody wants communism again. Putin is using a resource, which is an everyday resource, very powerful and they never disappear. And this is radical nationalism and imperialism.”