Energy crisis: Europe’s geopolitical emergency | Atalayar

Europe is advancing at a crisis pace. The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated this, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine has once again put the cards on the table. The EU-27 already has a common response, sanctions against Russia, but the resulting problems, such as inflation or the energy crisis, pose new challenges to the Community as it hopes to achieve the long-awaited strategic autonomy.

It is in this spirit that the conference entitled Geopolitical Europe: the European Union as a world power, organized by Miguel Ángel Benedicto, president of the Ideas and Debates Association of the UCM and professor of international relations at the same university, has begun. This cycle of dialogue, held at the Toledo campus of the University of Castilla La Macha (UCLM), began with the presentation of Benedicto and Fátima Guadamillas, academic coordinator of UCLM.

The rotating presidency of the European Commission is knocking on Spain’s door. On 19th September the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, presented the Spanish ambassadors to the European Union. María Lledó, Secretary General of the European Union, spoke of a presidency that could bring many benefits to Spain. “This is the fifth time that we have taken the lead, and it is a historic opportunity”said Lledó, hinting at the innovations that Spain intends to offer.

The main motivation of the presidency will be to encourage involvement within the European Community, both as citizens and within the Autonomous Communities, Congress and Senate. “The history of European integration is the history of citizen integration”added Lledó, even though the company is already “resolutely pro-European, because we are all aware of the advantages of the European Union”.

PHOTO/ATALAYAR – Presentation of geopolitical Europe, with Lucas González, Cristina Manzano and Fátima Guadamillas, on the Toledo campus of UCLM

However, the presidency also points to other burning geopolitical issues, such as energy reform, renewable energies and the diversification of hydrocarbon suppliers, especially after the notorious dependence on Russian gas. This diversification is also intended to be economic, with the search for new markets such as those in Latin America. “The heads of state have not met since 2015. In 2023, with our presidency, we will try to meet Mexico and Chile, with Mercosur,” said the secretary general of the European Union.

At the moment, the whole initiative begins with the planned annual meeting of foreign ministers, which will be hosted by Toledo itself. This is what the mayoress of Toledo, Milagros Tolón, boasted about herself. “Cities are also geopolitics”, she said, citing as an example the humanitarian aid offered to Ukraine, channeled through all the town halls of Spain. “Tolerance is an indispensable element between peoples,” she added.

However, for the Deputy Director of the European Commission in Spain, Lucas González, geopolitics in Europe is urgent: “We are talking about a foreign policy of coordination. We must create a European Union with solid pillars to try to create a geopolitics: what we want to do, and then how we should relate to the outside world”. “Geopolitical Europe and strategic autonomy are totally linked”, he added.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine revealed the continent’s dependence on the Russian giant. The Deputy Director of the European Commission in Spain stressed that the continent must “either reorient towards energy autonomy, or seek reliable partnerssuch as Latin America or the Maghreb”.

An opinion also shared by Cristina Manzano, director of Es Global, who gave the example of European dependency even in the coronavirus pandemic: “When Europe does not produce a single gram of paracetamol, we realize that we have a huge problem”.

In a dialogue between these last two speakers, the first part of the conference concluded with the need to improve European geopolitics, without neglecting the progress made. “We Spaniards do not depend on Russian gas, but countries like the Czech Republic do. We are 27 Member States and each has its own vision. Even so, deals come in and regulations go out“.