Federica Mogherini and the future of the European Union
Last Wednesday, I attended an extremely interesting lecture given by the EU Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies at the University of Malta. The lecture focused on the EU, the Mediterranean and globalisation
Dr Simon Mercieca is senior lecturer, Department of History
On that same day, The Malta Independent reported Alfred Sant’s stand against the EU’s new defence policy, which he dubs as ‘totally ill-advised’. On the other hand, Mogherini spoke highly in favour of this Defence Action Plan and confirmed something, which we already know - all EU Foreign Ministers are in favour of this new military policy.
Mogherini declared this in front of George Vella who was present for the lecture. By supporting Mogherini’s military action, Dr Vella has abandoned Alfred Sant’s position regarding issues of military defence. It should be remembered that when George Vella was Minister of Foreign Affairs during Alfred Sant’s Government, he withdrawn Malta’s participation from NATO’s Partnership for Peace.
Now Muscat wants a closer alliance with the EU and the Labour Government wants Malta to be part of the EU military alliance, which Mogherini is advocating forcefully. The official reason being given is for the EU to remain a global player. Having a military force, Mogherini insists, the EU will remain credible and reliable on the international scene. In truth, the EU wants to get closer to NATO.
The creation of a military force in Europe will definitely find the support of European centreright parties. What cannot be taken for granted is the support of the Left.
It is here, where Muscat is playing his cards well. He is lobbying with the Socialists in Europe to join Clinton’s bandwagon. In all this, he also has the support of the Italian Partito Democratico, which partly explains why Muscat is being seconded by Brussels.
In return, Mogherini, who comes from the Italian PD, is a strong supporter and defender of Muscat in the EU.
Muscat was definitely speaking on behalf of the PD when he told The Economist that the Socialist Parties in Europe should become the political extension of the American Democrats.
As rightly noted by the former Labour candidate, Mark A. Sammut in his new book about the Panama Papers, Muscat is not much for the American Democratic Party but, for all intent and purposes, he wants the European Socialists to ally themselves behind Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
It should be noted that this idea originated more than two decades ago among the Italian Left. After dismantling the Communist Party, Italy’s Left started to equate itself with the American Democrats, even if European Socialism is not equal to American Democrats.
However, the Left is now more at home with the Democrats for cultural rather than economic reasons. There were times in European political history when Conservatives considered themselves to be more on the same wavelength as the American Democrats and the Socialists were more on the Republican side. This shows the fluidity of the American party system.
In truth, these are all symptoms of European fatigue. Unfortunately, Europe is slowly losing her political identity. Perhaps, this is also a result of globalisation.
Nevertheless, this European fatigue is in part due to Europe’s futile culture wars. The Left wanted to use Brussels to impose on Europe a new cultural agenda, purposely aimed at destroying Europe’s Christian culture. In all this, Europe got the full support of the Obama administration.
This explains why a section of the historic Left, like the one in Malta and Italy, are today militant in favour of the Obama administration.
What the Left has failed to note is that the laws of physics are extremely clear: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. As an MEP, Sant has sought to safeguard what can be saved. He tried to offer Europe another Socialist model, which was popular among the Leftist groups in the seventies and eighties – the concept of Unit Corps to undertake social work. This model was suggested by Sant in lieu of the military model that is being pushed by Mogherini.
But Sant’s model was killed by the Left itself. These social models were created to accommodate the Left’s claim for conscious objectors not to be conscripted during the Cold War. Paradoxically, as the controversy of the morning after pill in Malta has shown, it is now the Left that is attacking this basic principles, when it ridicules the right of pharmacists to refuse to sell such a pill on principles of conscience!
Personally, I do not have a problem with the European Union having its own army. My fear is that this army will become an extension of NATO. I don’t believe that Europe wants to revitalize the concept of what was formally known as the NonAligned Group.
The Non-Aligned Group was created to balance the two postwar blocks of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. This was thought to be the third way forward for international politics. If Europe is seeking to follow this up, then the creation of such a military force begins to make sense. But the fact is that the European Union is considering Russia as its enemy.
But, is Russia, Europe’s enemy? Are there not many others we ought to consider as enemy? If by this military force, Europe is creating an army to do NATO’s dirty work, then this same military force will generate more confusion than do any good to the European cause.
Like the Phoenix, Russia has risen from the ashes. The problem today is that the USA cannot destabilize the rest of the democratic world, as it did in the past, by using the pretext of Communism and Russian state supported atheism. Russia has purported to re-embraced Orthodoxy and the Orthodox countries in Eastern Europe are today starting to feel more at home with Russia than with the rest of the European Union.
When an Orthodox country such as Greece faced an economic catastrophe, she it found very little solidarity from the now totally secular and agnostic West.
In truth, amongst the things that modern Europe lacks, is a geo-literary identity. This is why Europe feels that there is need for a cultural-political agenda. During the Cold War, Western Europe stated that Russia was not European because it was atheist and embraced gender diversity, while the West was Christian and hetero. Now the situation has changed. Today Russia does not have European values, because she has abnegated her principles of atheism and gender diversity.
Though Mogherini denied in her speech that Europe has a cultural agenda, in truth, her discourse speech exposed Europe’s clear cultural agenda. She referred to the Anna Lindh Foundation, which is used by certain Arab countries in the Mediterranean to attack Christianity - including the Vatican while assisting Islam.
More importantly, Mogherini spoke of a Europe that spreads from the Atlantic to the Baltics. In her own words, Mogherini’s Europe has shrunken. Until twenty or thirty years ago, we spoke of a Europe that ran from the Atlantic to the Ural Mountains. Indeed, during the Cold War period, Russia was considered to be part of the continent of Europe. Since in Mogherini’s view, Russia is no longer, this falls neatly within America’s agenda. The Obama administration is harping on the idea that Russia is not European in terms of values. Now not even in geographical terms does Russia seem to belong to Europe.
In her introduction, Mogherini stated that before coming to Malta she visited Tunis, which is a country nearer to the heart of the European mainland than Malta. But Tunis is not in Europe while the island of Malta is in Europe. This demonstrates Brussels’ way of thinking: Europe is a cultural construct and the concept of Europe is fluid. It can be constructed and deconstructed according to the whims and wishes of any ‘big brother’.
While situations are changing fast in Europe, the paradox of it all is that now, it is the Left that wants a return to a Cold War scenario, wanting us to belief that Russia is not part of Europe by deconstructing our past European values - on which Europe was founded - to recreate new ones to justify the Left’s political agenda. But this time, this strategy is going to fail miserably. The reasons are demographic.
The Malta Independent Monday 7 November 2016