Wolfgang Ischinger, head of the Munich Security Conference, has published an op-ed in the German newspaper Bild regarding the current state of international affairs and the changes that the EU needs to undergo in order to adapt to the new situation. According to Ischinger, the world has become a less stable place and is engulfed in crises and conflicts. At the same time, the EU is gradually losing support from the US.
The chairman of the Munich Security Conference suggested several steps that the EU could take in the current situation. Namely, he proposed a double strategy in relations with Russia — to have "as much dialogue as possible and as much defense as needed." He stressed the necessity to "keep the door open" for Moscow and added that "peace or security are only possible with, not against Russia."
Moreover, he urged limiting the veto right of EU countries when discussing the bloc's foreign policy. He noted that when any EU country can veto a foreign policy-related decision, neither Washington, nor Moscow, nor Beijing can take "500 million Europeans seriously."
Ischinger also stood for the idea of creating an EU military in order to reduce dependence on the US. He further added that Germany should no longer turn a blind eye to conflicts east and south of the EU's borders and that Europe must actively engage with them.
The report came amid rising security concerns in Europe caused by uncontrolled migration into the EU, which started in 2015 and allegedly allowed many extremists to sneak into the Schengen zone undetected. Another point of concern for Brussels is Moscow, which the EU accuses of allegedly initiating the conflict in eastern Ukraine and of a military build-up on its western borders. Relations between NATO members and Russia have been deteriorating ever since. Moscow has denied the accusations and noted that it was reinforcing its borders in order to prevent the Ukrainian conflict from spilling over onto its territory.
At the same time, a conflict has arisen within NATO following the election of US President Donald Trump in 2016. Trump pressured America's NATO allies to step up their donations to the alliance's military budget, allegedly threatening to pull the US out of the military bloc otherwise. Furthermore, he questioned why the US should spend so much on defending the EU from threats, while European spending on security remains so low.