EU must develop 'appetite for power' says foreign policy chief Josep Borrell

Access to the comments Comments
By Pauline Bock  with AP
EU must develop 'appetite for power' says foreign policy chief Josep Borrell
Copyright  Christof STACHE / AFP

The European Union must develop an "appetite for power" and must be more willing to intervene in global crises, the bloc’s chief diplomat said at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday.

"We should be able to act, not everyday making comments or expressing concern," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told the audience.

"I think we are going too slow. We are not doing enough and the world is changing very quickly. Our security and defense policy is not in accordance with the big changes in the world."

He added: "If a big crisis comes, we will not be prepared to face it."

European states should be willing to intervene in global crises, Borrell said, otherwise their foreign policy risks political paralysis. "Europe has to develop an appetite for power."

Borrell said he requires a "deeper, better construction" for the EU's security policy, stressing that it isn't only the European Commission, but "the EU as a whole" that must "learn to use the language of power".

"If we are not able to take decisions that constraint others, we don't have power. Influence, but not power", he said.

Borrell also discussed the EU's principle of unanimity, in which all countries must vote for a proposal for it to be validated.

Taking the example of a naval mission in Libya that would be supported by 26 out of the 27 member states, he said: "Then what do we have to do? (...) We cannot be attached to unanimity in extreme cases like this one."

The European Union's consensus requirement indeed complicates things. Many EU states are divided on geopolitical issues, from the Venezuelan to the Libyan crisis.

"When there is no unanimity, the remaining majority have to act," Borrell said.