Speaking at the 2018 Munich Security Conference, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel specifically focused on the EU’s security priorities, pointing out that apart from developing joint foreign policy tools, the EU should also “generate internal cohesion” pertaining to the bloc’s common interests.
Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz, for his part, insisted that a top priority should be the issues related to securing the EU’s external borders and stopping irregular migration.
“Challenges in the European Union are there [and] sometimes it feels like we took a wrong turn somewhere. Without the proper protection of external borders, internal borders are in danger as well,” he told attendees at the 2018 Munich Security Conference.
According to him, “we must return to the original concept of the EU… only then will we gain our strength on the international stage.”
In contrast, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that the EU’s common security policy should be based on grappling with the “root causes” of the bloc’s security-related risks, including migration.
“The threats to European security go beyond questions of defense or law enforcement. Europe needs to get used to interdependencies. We feel the tensions in the world,” Philippe stressed.
He also made it plain that “France wants to take a leading role in the transatlantic alliance” amid the ongoing “political chaos,” which Philippe said EU countries are “experiencing together.”
In this vein, Deutsche Well’s Lewis Sanders has urged the EU leaders to pursue what he described as a “truly holistic security policy” which should focus on a whole array of challenges, including terrorism and radicalization, which will help strengthen the EU’s “popular legitimacy across the continent.”
However, the range of differing views among the EU politicians attending the 2018 Munich Security Conference are a sign that creating such a comprehensive “security union” will be a tough nut to crack, Sanders concludes.
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