Growing distrust between Europe and the US government has led European governments to renew their commitment to building an autonomous and common defense policy. The idea of building a European military is as old as the idea of European integration itself. But in 1954, France refused to vote in favor of the European Defense Community project it initiated.
This is why the idea of European defense had been abandoned until 1992. The Treaty of Maastricht has created a “Common Foreign and Security Policy” to help Europe to build its own military. But this project is no longer necessary to keep Europe secure.
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In an address to the German parliament on April 27, Chancellor Angela Merkel had tough words for the British government. The European Union’s most powerful leader told the Bundestag that the United Kingdom, “cannot and will not have the same rights” after it leaves the union. In other words, the British government should expect European leaders to refuse to negotiate and grant total access to the European market.
These words have been harshly criticized by British Prime Minister Theresa May, who accused the EU of “lining up” to oppose the United Kingdom. While one may disagree with the punitive attitude of European leaders, May’s naivety is to be deplored: The European Union’s behavior was predictable.
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Long regarded as the guardians of the international liberal order, developed countries are now submerged in authoritarian ideologies. The first major country to be hit by this authoritarian wave is the United States, whose president was elected on a radical nationalist and protectionist discourse. France is probably the next country on the list. Even if Marine Le Pen is not elected, the far-right National Front Party has already won the cultural battle, leading mainstream parties to radicalize their stances on social, economic, and security issues. Right-wing authoritarianism is moreover challenged by radical left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Marxist rhetoric. If we add up the total votes for the far-left and the far-right during the first round of the presidential election, these are at least 40 percent of French voters who have praised authoritarian agendas.
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