Since Romano Prodi began this meritorious practice two decades ago, the political course of the European Union begins with the speech known as SOTEU (State of the European Union), a nomenclature that refers to the speech on the state of the Union delivered before a joint session of Congress in Washington. In her second SOTEU, the President of the European Commission has focused as much on the weakness of the EU on the global stage as on internal disagreements.
Speaking to a decimated plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Ursula von der Leyen insisted on achieving greater military autonomy from the United States. And with this objective he has announced that for the first
Semester of next year, during the French presidency, a European military command with decision-making capacity will be promoted. A first step on the road to a true European Defense Union, which takes up the ill-fated project of the European Defense Community raised in the 1950s.
Faced with the challenge of materializing true strategic autonomy, Europe is the victim of a history marked for centuries by a litany of warfare. Any excuse has been good to go to war in the Old Continent: religion, empires, dynasties, colonial competition, borders, ideological clashes and the construction of States as a key piece of the international order. After the First and Second World Wars, the United States helped to clear the use of force from the European equation, assuming a military role that has ended up being unsustainable.
Kissinger, in his magisterial World Order, argues that the same Europe that enjoyed almost a monopoly a century ago in the design of the global order is now in danger of being irrelevant precisely because it confuses its internal construction with its highest geopolitical purpose. In his view, the problem is that Europe remains “suspended between a past that it seeks to overcome and a future that it has not yet defined.”