European Union governments need to be willing to intervene in international crises or risk prolonging paralysis in their foreign policy, the EU’s top diplomat said on Sunday.
Addressing the Munich Security Conference, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that the body – divided on issues from Libya to Venezuela – is failing to speak with one voice on many issues because its policy-making requires consensus among its members.
“When there is no unanimity (in the EU), the remaining majority have to act,” Borrell said.
The foreign policy chief added that “Europe has to develop an appetite for power,” stressing that his remarks did not only mean military power.
“We should be able to act… not everyday making comments, expressing concern,” he told leaders, lawmakers and diplomats.
The remarks come as the EU has been experiencing increasing rifts with its long-time backer, Washington, over a wide range of issues.
The decision of United States President Donald Trump to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as well as the Paris climate accord, his declaration of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital and his criticism of NATO are among a number of key issues which have put the EU at odds with the US.
With new leadership in Brussels, the EU has stepped up diplomatic activities since January, particularly focusing on the Middle East.
The bloc is, however, still divided on key issues such as how to react to Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” proposal for Palestine last month.
Efforts to revive a maritime mission off Libya to uphold a UN arms embargo have also run into difficulties, diplomats say.