In Bratislava, two European visions of the relationship with the United States

It’s not easy to evangelize in faithless land. The heads of the French and German diplomacy experienced it together, Thursday, October 8, by preaching in Bratislava, Slovakia, in front of irreducible Atlanticists, the need to strengthen Europe in the face of an American ally who is moving away , according to Paris and Berlin, inexorably.

The duet, to tell the truth, was improvised. The Frenchman had certainly carefully prepared the operation: it is part of the Elyos offensive, deployed across the European Union (EU) both by President Macron and by his right arm on Europe, the Secretary of State Clément Beaune, and by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, to promote the concept of“Europe power” and a more assertive EU in a world that is unraveling. The Baltic countries and central Europe, ex-communist countries that have been members of the EU for only 16 years, are a prime target. A year after his visit to Prague, where he gave a remarkable speech on the weight of history in Central Europe, Mr. Le Drian came to drive the point home in the Slovak capital, at the podium of the Globsec international forum.

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The German was not on the program but decided to come at the last moment. So Heiko Maas first listened ” Jean Yves “ present the vision of a sovereign Europe, “Proactive”, proud of her “Humanist model” and ready to project it into the world. This Europe, explained Mr. Le Drian, has to face “The triple disease of multilateralism”, of which he designated each time the culprit: “The temptation of unilateral withdrawal” (Trump), “Systematic blocking” (Russia) and “The instrumentalization of our common institutions” (China). With the United States, Europeans must“Assert more”, to answer to “The prospect of a profound change in the guarantee of security that America offers to its allies.” And this, regardless of the president who comes out of the polls on November 3.

Germany’s moult

This is a speech with which the French are familiar, but which is still a bit sacrilegious in this region where, for historical reasons, the United States is still considered the only real guarantors of the security of Europe. Germany itself has had a hard time making progress on the subject under Trump’s presidency, but today it seems to have completed its transformation. Because in Bratislava, Heiko Maas added to the words of his French colleague: “We live in a world of great power rivalries – the United States, Russia, China, he said. I agree with Jean-Yves: we need a common approach from the United States – and I do not believe that the election [du 3 novembre] will change things. “ The German minister warned the audience against “Illusions” who can rule a flashback to Washington: for him, “The United States will withdraw a little more from the world, and Europe will have to take more responsibility”.

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