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Remarquable !


Le discours prononcé à Bruxelles le 10 octobre 2022 par le Haut Représentant Josep Borrell devant une centaine d'ambassadeurs de l’Union européenne dans le monde était véritablement remarquable : tant par la clarté de son analyse sur la position de l’Europe face aux nouveaux défis internationaux - que par le ton déterminé de son adresse directe au personnel diplomatique du SEAE (Service Européen d’action extérieure).


Il est d’ailleurs dommage qu’au moins la première partie de ce discours sur la situation internationale n’ait pas eu un écho médiatique comparable, par exemple, à celui du Président Macron à l’intention de la « Conférence des Ambassadeurs » français. Dommage aussi que cet exposé n’ait pas été prononcé sous cette forme devant le Parlement européen.


Quant à la deuxième partie - où Josep Borrell s’adresse directement à son staff - elle se caractérise par un ton franc et direct, peu habituel dans les cénacles diplomatiques. Elle traduit une certaine impatience et exigence vis à vis des services externes du SEAE.


Ce discours mérite une lecture ou une écoute complètes (1) et ne sont ici repris que quelques extraits résumant le propos :



« I am in charge of building a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the [European] External Action Service – and in particular you - are supposed to support me on doing that.


The ‘what’ questions [are]: What is happening? What is coming? What should we do?

And the ‘how’ questions [are]: How do we operate? How do we work? How do you work? How can we get more and better results?

This is a moment to talk among ourselves about what we do [not do] well enough, why I am not always happy with the way my [EU] Delegations work, and to send clear messages about how I would like you to improve.



WHAT IS HAPPENING ?


But uncertainty is the rule. Events that one could imagine that they will never happen, they are happening one after the other.

At this pace, the black swan will be the majority. It will not be white swans – all of them will be black.


We have decoupled the sources of our prosperity from the sources of our security.


Our prosperity was based on China and Russia – energy and market.


Our prosperity has been based on cheap energy coming from Russia. Russian gas – cheap and supposedly affordable, secure, and stable

And the access to the big China market, for exports and imports, for technological transfers, for investments, for having cheap goods


On the other hand, we delegated our security to the United States


You - the United States - take care of our security. You - China and Russia – provided the basis of our prosperity. This is a world that is no longer there


Some things have happened in the past that we knew they could happen, but some of them have been a surprise


Ukraine : we did not believe that the war was coming - we had not foreseen (either) the capacity of Putin to escalate

The deep US-China competition. That was not a surprise. But the escalation of tension in Taiwan – yes, it was not in the agenda

The world food and energy crises. It was predictable, it was predicted but not with the severity it has taken

(Economy) This is a perfect storm (prices/interest rates)

There is the US-China competition : there is a fight between the democratic systems and the authoritarian systems.

The world is not purely bipolar. We have multiple players and poles, each one looking for their interest and values. Look at Turkey, India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, Indonesia. This creates this messy multipolarity.

The (third) characteristic of this world is the rising nationalism, revisionism plus identity politics

WHAT SHOULD WE DO ?


We have to think more politically. I think that we need to be more proactive, more reactive. We have to make a link between all these problems. We still operate in silos

We [have] still a lot to do to be one power, someone that acts on behalf of the Union as a whole.


Yes, we have the “Brussels effect” and we continue setting standards, but I believe that, more and more, the rest of the world is not ready to follow our exportation of model.


We tend to overestimate the rational arguments. “We are the land of reason”. We think that we know better what is in other people’s interests


We underestimate the role of emotions and the persisting appeal of identity politics.

Remember this sentence: “it is the identity, stupid”. It is no longer the economy, it is the identity. More and more, some identities are raising and willing to be recognised and accepted and not to be fused inside the “West” approach.

TO THE STAFF


I want to be informed by you, not by the press.You have to be on 24-hours reaction capacity.

I do not want to continue reading in the newspapers about things that happened somewhere with our Delegation having said nothing.

You have to be in the crisis mode. Explain what is happening - quickly, immediately

Having all of you around the world, I should be the best informed person in the world – at least as much as any Foreign Affairs Minister. I am “Foreign Affairs Minister of Europe”


Behave as you would behave if you were an Embassy: send a telegram, a cable, a mail - quickly. Quickly, please, react.


Take more initiative. Be ready to be bold.

Please, be prepared for better explanation of what we do with a time schedule. We should look for a balance between what we announce and what we implement, because sometimes some announcements discredit us if they are not being followed by concrete actions

Communication is our battlefield : you have to be a network that is repeating, transmitting, insisting.


All of you have to do much more on communication. We provide you with materials and I have the feeling that you do not transmit the message strongly enough.


I need my delegations to step up on social media, on TV, in debates. I need you to be much more engaged in this battle of narratives.

And bring to me, to my service, to the External Action Service Headquarters what you feel, what you understand, what you see. Inform us. You are my eyes, my ears around the world.


The task is not easy, and certainly we can do it much better. »



Ce discours traduit bien la forte détermination de M. Borrell (troisième Haut Représentant de l’UE depuis la création de ce poste par le Traité de Lisbonne - à la fois Vice-Président de la Commission, Président du Conseil des Affaires Etrangères et « Ministre » des Affaires étrangères de l’Union). La clarté de son analyse sans détours de l’évolution - et de la dégradation - de l'environnement international de l’UE est salutaire. La frustration - mais en même temps l’ambition et l’exigence - qu’il manifeste à l’égard des Ambassades européennes dans le monde est bienvenue.


On pouvait ressentir - en creux, dans ses propos - la difficulté de conduire une politique étrangère commune face à la « diversité » des diplomaties nationales dans une UE 27+ - alors même que les crises qu’il analyse concernent bien, et de la même façon, tous et chacun des Etats membres. La gravité sans précédent de la guerre ukrainienne sera-t-elle l’occasion d’un renforcement de la politique extérieure et de sécurité de l’Union ? Il est difficile de concevoir un test plus révélateur de l’unité et de la solidarité des 27 que cette guerre sur le territoire européen lui-même.




Jean-Guy Giraud 12- 10 - 2022

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NB voir aussi :


https://www.lesamisdutraitedelisbonne.com/post/josep-borrell-entre-l-union-et-le-monde

https://www.lesamisdutraitedelisbonne.com/post/joseph-borrel-un-plus-haut-représentant-de-l-union

https://www.lesamisdutraitedelisbonne.com/post/le-seae-vigie-du-droit-international