Nga Francesco De Palo
Problem solving, before the emergence of ideological obstacles and debates. A new awareness may emerge from the recent EU-Western Balkans summit, which took place on Wednesday in Brdo, Slovenia. Certainly dominated by frustration, given the delays and logistical problems recorded on a range of important issues such as enlargement, energy and geopolitics.
But at the same time accompanied by that pure pragmatism that is characterizing Mario Draghi’s agenda at Palazzo Chigi: problem solving before controversy over them. At the center of the summit was NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan, the submarine agreement between the US, Great Britain and Australia, the new political geography of the Balkans, a region of great interest to Brussels due to its close proximity to the EU. , and obviously the geopolitical consequences of energy challenges.
In favor of enlarging the union, but as a strategic path long followed by the EU, but with the awareness that the obstacles (political, bureaucratic and ideological) that still lie ahead must be removed. Relations between the EU and the Balkans are currently at a crucial juncture.
For future geopolitical issues such as energy, Italians are already involved in local investments, with Rome’s special ability to interact with all the Balkan coastal states, where Germany has in fact long taken concrete action.
Thus, on the one hand, the EU leaders have announced their open support for the 6 Western Balkan countries to join the union, while on the other hand, they have not hidden the delays that are occurring in the membership process.
This element was also underlined by the President of the European Council Charles Michel: “It is no secret that today there is an ongoing discussion between the 27 member states on our ability to recruit new members. On this issue it is more than clear that we should
to still make progress ”. Not forgetting Kosovo, another important regional player, whose Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, stated that he wanted to welcome Brdo’s final statement, but “with some reservations”.
Inhibition of the process
The issue of the membership of Northern Macedonia and Albania remains hostage to Bulgaria’s behavior, despite the green light given by Brussels. As it is known, the problem has to do with conflicts of a historical and linguistic nature, which consequently affect the process of Tirana and Skopje.
According to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen: “The Western Balkans is first and foremost part of the same Europe of the European Union. We share the same story, the same interests, the same values and I am deeply convinced that we also share the same fate. “And the European Union is not complete without the Western Balkans!”
It is clear that the Slovenian summit was in a way a preparatory one, for the next big event that is expected to be held this fall, the G20 summit to be held in Rome at the end of this month, which will be preceded by others, the summit on Libya on 12 November.
Draghi discussed the issue with French President Emmanuel Macron (who has just signed an alliance with Greece in the field of defense), and the Brdo summit was an opportunity for both leaders (as diplomatic sources note) to discuss issues that would be on the G20 table, like vaccination against Covid-19, solidarity with Africa, Libya, with a precise goal for Rome, Paris and Berlin: to proceed through a very close coordination, which bypasses delays and uncertainties.
It is no mystery that the issue of the energy crisis, although not openly mentioned, is directly related to the Balkan and Euro-Mediterranean regions, intertwined with the fates of countries and governments bordering the Mediterranean such as Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Egypt and Israel, not forgetting the big players who are geographically further away (like Russia and China), but who still have their influence in the area.
“The Atlantic Alliance seems less interested in Europe, shifting its focus to other parts of the world,” Draghi told a Slovenian summit, adding that joint EU defense would not weaken NATO at all. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, but would complement it, and “strengthen NATO and Europe.”
Regarding the Afghan issue, he noted that: “Withdrawal from Afghanistan, in terms of how it was deployed, communicated and carried out, and the cancellation of the contract between Australia and France for the supply of nuclear submarines, to buy manufactured submarines from America – and here I am referring not only to the substance, but also to the way in which it is communicated – are two very strong messages, which show us that NATO seems less interested in Europe from a geopolitical point of view and Europe’s areas of interest. “moving its areas of interest to other parts of the world.”
Draghi stressed that in order to make progress in the field of defense, the EU needs a more cohesive and unified foreign policy. “We hear a lot of talk about strategic autonomy in defense. But if there is no common foreign policy, it is very difficult to think of a common defense.
That point can be reached in 2 ways. The first is within the European Union. And if it does not work, you can get there in the traditional way, through alliances between the many countries of the European Union. It is clear that the first way is much more preferable. “Undoubtedly, the time has come to think seriously about it,” said the Italian prime minister.
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