Detlef Bimboes, Jochen Scholz: Key points for a sovereign Europe – in favour of the strategic autonomy of the EU

The EU has reached a dead end in its geopolitical policy having decided for subservience to US interests. Here an alternative.

Detlef Bimboes and Jochen Scholz are members of the Peace and Security Policy Discussion Group of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Berlin

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The EU’s sovereignty and strategic autonomy encompasses both the economy and related
areas such as science and technology, as well as foreign and security policy.
/security policy. The following key points essentially deal with foreign and security policy:

• For centuries, the European continent has been shaken by violence, crises, wars and
several world wars with enormous human casualties and destruction. After the
Second World War, détente and Ostpolitik provided a brief period of reflection. In the
meantime, the war in Ukraine threatens to become the harbinger of new calamities.
The first and foremost principle of a realistic security policy must be the prevention of
war. Now, more than ever, we need to prepare for peace, not for war. Any alternative security
concept must focus on the unsuitability of European industrialised societies for war,
because in the event of a major conventional or nuclear war, industry and the
infrastructure necessary for survival will be largely destroyed and the environment will
be poisoned, destroyed and rendered uninhabitable over large areas. In industrially
densely populated high-tech regions, the complete failure of telecommunications
networks for wired and wireless data transmission is foreseeable.

• After the dissolution of the Warsaw Treaty system and the emergence of new states
in Eastern Europe, the desire and will for a Common European House once again
offered one of the few historical opportunities to finally bring about lasting peace. The
Charter of Paris (1990) provided the foundation for this as a fundamental international
agreement to create a new peaceful order in Europe. Europe’s interests lie objectively
not only in the peaceful, co-operative coexistence of the peoples and states on the
Eurasian continent, but also with those of Africa, Latin America, and North America.
Only in this way can the global transition to a multipolar world be sustainable and
peaceful. Only in this way can threats be prevented and no longer – as is often the
case with ethnic/religious differences – be instrumentalised for crises and wars. This
will not only require a complete change in EU foreign and foreign economic policy,
but also in the policies of many member states, including their domestic policies.
There is no other way to build global trust.

• Developments since the failed implementation of the Paris Charter show that,
despite co-signing it, it was diametrically opposed to the USA’s claim to global
hegemony. Europe’s interests cannot be pursued as long as the EU subordinates itself to the US. For Developments since 1990 with NATO’s eastward expansion, the Indo-Pacific strategy, the NATO-EU cooperation agreement in January 2023 with NATO’s primacy are striking evidence of this.

• We need global economic cooperation for mutual benefit, both with the USA and
with the Eurasian Economic Union, the BRICS states, the African states and
those of Mercosur, and not decoupling from China.

• China’s efforts to achieve closer economic cooperation with the EU will remain
unsuccessful if the EU continues to subordinate itself to the global hegemonic
interests of the US to its own detriment. Hegemonic endeavours, one-sided
dependencies and trade relations without mutual benefit must be rejected. They
also contradict the spirit and content of the principles of the UN.

• No peaceful Europe without democratisation of the economy and society. European
economic policy must be freed from “shareholder value” and the dictates of the
neoliberal financial sector. European sovereignty also means more autonomy with
regard to the control and disposal of digital technologies, communication and
payment systems.

• Internationalist policy is based on four principles: Peace through collective (UN)
and common security, disarmament and structural non-aggression.

• Structural non-aggression capability at EU level means the withdrawal of
individual member states from the military structures of NATO, strict defence
doctrine, absolute adherence to international law and therefore strict
compliance with the ban on the use of force in international relations laid down
in the UN Charter, commitment to disarmament, arms control and the
abandonment of nuclear weapons.

• In the longer term, replacing the NATO military alliance with an independent,
nationally organised European alliance and defence system without the USA.
Defence planning, equipment and the structure of the (partially) armed forces in the
individual EU member states follow the principle of structural non-aggression
(principle of land defence instead of an offensive war army) and the principle that the highly
industrialised states cannot ultimately be defended by military means, but only by
non-violent, civil and social means. A defence system without the USA therefore
does not mean rearmament in Europe, an EU army or an EU nuclear power.

• An independent peace and security architecture centred on the Eurasian continent
is indispensable for a sovereign Europe. It must be based on a renewed and
expanded OSCE 2.0 without the USA and Canada, but with the other existing members in accordance with the principle of common security. The OSCE’s current focus on the Eurasian continent should be expanded to include the neighbouring Mediterranean region (North Africa, Middle East).

• Against the background of the history of power and violence on the European
continent and the major powers responsible for this, it is essential that the interests
of small and medium-sized states are given special consideration in a renewed and
expanded OSCE 2.0 and that these are reconciled. Cooperation with the “UN
Economic Commission for Europe” (UNECE) has an important role to play here.

• The political goal of an OSCE 2.0 is geared towards a common security and
economic area “from Lisbon to Vladivostok”. In the course of this process, mutual
threats, military and armaments will gradually lose relevance and become
meaningless upon completion.

• The monopoly on the use of force on earth must be centred on the UN, i.e. removed
from national or alliance interests. To achieve this, the UN must be democratised, as
it is currently dominated by nuclear weapons states, some of which are economically
powerful and the largest arms and arms exporting powers. Consideration should be
given to expanding the UN Security Council in view of the growing role of the Global
South. The central task of the United Nations remains the safeguarding of world
peace, i.e. prevention, dispute resolution and sustainable civil conflict resolution on
the basis of international law. Troops for dispute resolution are only deployed on the
basis of decisions by the UN Security Council without automaticity.

• The United Nations and international law are the most important institution for
peaceful understanding between the states and societies of the world. Conflicts are
an obstacle to a common future on the globe for peace, security, the environment,
climate and sustainable development. The world must be completely freed from wars and armed violence. The UN General Assembly and NGOs must be given more authority. The UN institutions must be strengthened financially through state contributions so that they do not become dependent on
individual states or private institutions.

• It is not yet possible to predict how and where the EU will develop politically and
structurally in the future. The failure of an “ever closer union” is also conceivable
against the backdrop of a possible loss of global influence by the USA and the
development of a polycentric world order. In the future, the question could then arise
as to whether the EU should be structured as a natio n-centred system or as a cooperative confederal system. This question is beyond thescope of this paper and is reserved for a separate debate.

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