‘Reestablishing the Atlantic link (I): Security and Defence’


    _ Piqué: “A dramatic de-Westernisation process, because the planet’s centre of gravity is very far away from here”

    _ Guttenberg argued that the lack of a leader in the EU that assumes the defence policy is a problem for the Transatlantic partnership

    _ Rybachuk: “The only way Ukrainians can survive is by adopting European reforms and not only by joining the EU”

The 2014 FAES Campus ‘The Atlantic basin: Challenges and Opportunities course’ finished with the roundtable ‘Reestablishing the Atlantic link (I): security and defence’. Oleg Rybachuk, former Ukranian Deputy Prime Minister, Josep Piqué, former Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, former German Ministry of Defence, took part in it.

Josep Piqué stated that “a dramatic de-Westernisation process is opening up, since the planet’s centre of gravity is very far away from here”. “We are not aware of one of the North American political axis yet”, he warned, because, according to him, “Europe is already irrelevant and we have to turn towards Asia”. Another of the axis he referred to is that “now, the USA opts for being self-sufficient in terms of energy”.

In the light of the foregoing, Piqué stated that Europe has to advance “as a common entity”, not only commercially, and, to do so, we have to keep “transferring sovereignty to the European Union”. Thus, he considered necessary “to strengthen the Transatlantic link”. In order to do so, “EU-USA trade agreement” has to be completed.  

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg argued that the lack of leadership in the European Union and the need to have a leader who is willing to assume the foreign and defence policies is a problem when it comes to renewing the Transatlantic partnership, “which is not at its best”.

In this respect, he requested that “we keep in mind some issues that we usually undervalue” such as USA’s foreign policy, which he defined as “a modern form of isolation” and communication between powers. He also stated that “even if intelligence is still in the hands of governments, there has been a very important change”. According to him, this change implies a cyber-security problem, which he suggested to address “by starting with what makes us different instead of with the values we share”.

Oleg Rybachuk argued that “the only way Ukrainians can survive is by adopting European reforms, a European-like democracy, and not only by joining the EU”. “Has anyone ever heard of the future Russian model?” he asked when claiming that Ukraine should be completely independent from Russia in terms of economy and energy.

Rybachuk warned as well that, due to the developments in his country, “global security has disappeared for Europeans” and highlighted that “if there are any breaches between the Atlantic union and the old Europe we will no longer have a period of peace like the one we have had since the Second World War”. For that reason, he called upon the European Union to “never lose faith on what they are doing”.