Sexta-feira, 3 de Setembro de 2010

The Lisbon summit strikes the Lisbon Treaty

By Vasco Martins

 

US President Barack Obama will be joining other heads of state of NATO allied countries in Lisbon for the signing of the new Strategic Concept, between the 19 and the 20 of November. On this occasion, the EU will organise an EU-US summit, seizing the opportunity of Obama’s presence in the continent.

However, the fact that Obama will only spend two days in Lisbon, which during a summit roughly translates to a day, may constrain negotiations and overload the agenda. The sheer amount of work and compromise NATO’s new Strategic Concept entails is more than enough for Obama and European leaders to decide on. Adding a summit on top of this serves only to overburden expectations, disregarding the meagre capability of both sides to actually reach concrete results.

On the other hand, the EU-US summit - with no clear agenda as of yet - only demonstrates Europe’s limitations in setting its own foreign policy agenda. The Obama administration has been drifting away from the European alliance, after having cancelled a summit in Madrid scheduled for May 2010, a humiliating setback for the EU’s foreign policy and the new Lisbon Treaty. Nonetheless, organising an EU-US summit on such short notice will further submit the new foreign policy prism to international wishes, instead of presenting a clear definition of its intentions and place in the world.

More importantly, the EU should stop organising summits which achieve nothing in concrete. If the US is more interested in NATO and in mutual defence issues, the EU should send a CFSP team to attempt to converge efforts while drawing common lines with NATO’s new strategic concept. Instead, organising yet another summit emphasizes not only Europe’s need for US support, but its own internal divisions and inability to sail solo in international affairs. By setting the tone in such a way, the EU is telling the world it is completely incapable of managing its own issues without the support of a powerful ally. It is only too ironic that the 2010 Lisbon EU-US summit amounts to one of the many defeats the Lisbon Treaty will have to endure.

 

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