The EU’s defense ministers met in Paris Thursday to coordinate their response. This is a time when Europe seems to be shifting away from its security focus. Moscow and Washington are negotiating at Geneva. It feels like Europe is being overlooked again at the foreign affairs committee. When Macron became the rotating chairman of the group, the European Defense Sovereignty Strategy was Macron’s big bet. For Europe, the key question is whether Putin can sabotage. This security structure has been instrumental in maintaining peace on the African continent ever since World War II.
Josep Borrell, European chief of foreign affairs, made it clear that the EU would never “negotiate in pressure” and interpreted Russia’s military action at the Ukraine border as a factor of tension. Borrell also said that coordination with America is essential.This is absolutely perfect Brussels was also assured by the Americans that “nothing” will be done without them.
Paris’ ministerial meeting was informal and concluded without making any announcements. Borrell has stated that no decisions will take place on the day but that it is a meeting to “articulate” the EU’s common position. This is something that does not seem to be apparent in this instance. This is because the Ukraine crisis in the NATO framework has once more revealed the weakness of one, powerful European voice for foreign policy. It has no place at all in the majority of the negotiations which are all about European Security after all
The EU-Moscow relationship has many edges. It includes traditional French diplomatic doctrine, dialogue with Moscow due geographical proximity, and the Baltic republic’s fear of Russia. Putin also has some useful tools. Other occasions are a good opportunity to apply pressure. Now, the situation is even more complicated after Angela Merkel’s departure, which was a valuable Kremlin intermediary. Olaf Scholz (Foreign Minister) is the successor to him and leads an alliance that is much more critical of Russia. Europe has a significant trade relationship to Russia. If new sanctions are imposed on Russia, Europe will be much more vulnerable than the United States.