DEFENCE DIPLOMACY

SIE’s Ungureanu: Europe should be more united, stronger, more attractive to cope with future challenges

The European Union should be more united, stronger and more attractive in order to cope with a series of challenges in the future, Director of Romania’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu said Friday.

“In the medium and long run, the EU will face three big political and strategic challenges. Russia will take profit of instability at the EU borders. The majority of countries in the neighbourhood are politically unstable, close to fragmentation. There are challenges related to demographics and disparities among religious cults. Then, there is the economic decline of Russia, which could become one of the main challenges to face the EU,” Ungureanu said in a speech to the Bucharest Forum 2015.

He then mentioned the potential of China and the fact that China is EU’s indispensable partner, especially when it comes to the liberalisation of world trade.

“The United States of America will continue to be the most important player in the world, but securing the stability of the entire world will be too big a challenge for the US to face alone. The EU should be ready, no matter what the part of the US will be on the world stages. The EU should step in because its security depends on doing so,” added the SIE director.

Ungureanu also said that although the combined resources of the European Union and its member states create one of the strongest economies in the world, the EU cannot always act as a global power, but it is rather seen as a fragmented group.

“The EU should be more united, stronger at the same time and, in the words of [President of the European Commission Jean-Claude] Junker, sexier, more attractive. It has to invest in efficient institutions,” added Ungureanu.

He said the European Union can approach commercial exchanges more than like a source of prosperity, but as a source of foreign policy. “Access to the economic markets entitles consolidating other foreign policy objectives as well, such as political stability and reform,” added the SIE chief.

In his opinion, “reform should be successfully completed in the Balkans and relations with Turkey should be strengthened, as a strategic partner and a candidate country.” “At the same time, individualising relations with each state instead of a wholesale approach could be more useful to help transition countries like Moldova and Ukraine,” said Ungureanu.

The SIE chief officer said the “US will continue to be EU’s most important partner, but their relations should become more permissive so as to attract more countries.” “I believe setting up partnerships with other democracies, such as Brazil, Australia, Japan, South Korea, would be a regionalist approach, and the EU is a promoter of regional forums being created,” said Ungureanu, according to Agerpres.

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