David Blackburn

Europe rises from its slumber

Europe rises from its slumber
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Emblazoned across the Times is the headline:

‘Europe warns Obama: this relationship isn’t working.’

The piece is teeming with quotations from diplomats and representatives of major European governments, voicing their concern that post-Cold War America no longer offers Europe a privileged relationship. The goodwill that Europe offered Obama has entirely evaporated.

Few diplomatic spats are ever one-sided, and the Americans are deeply frustrated with the European Union. A White House official condemned the EU’s ‘non-existent foreign policy apparatus’, and Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations said:

‘Europe created these posts (EU President and EU Foreign Minister) to speak for the collective as a whole. But from the perspective of many Americans, rather than building up someone of the stature of [the former Nato Secretary-General] Javier Solana, it looks as though Europe has retreated.’

That should be a warning to all European leaders. The White House wants to see co-ordinated European action on trade, climate change, aid and defence; is uninterested in the talking shop and its ciphers.