Josep Piqué during his speech / Photo: Real Instituto Elcano
Eduardo González. 11/10/2018
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs Josep Piqué warned yesterday that Europe is risking its “future as a political project” in the European elections of May 2019, especially in the current context of “de-westernization” that exists in the world in favor of China and other emerging powers.
“There is a clear displacement of the center of gravity from the meridian of Greenwich, according to the Eurocentric vision, to the Strait of Malacca, natural connection of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific and where 60% of the world population lives and more than half of the world GDP and business transactions in the world”, said Piqué during a conference at the Diplomatic School, co-organized by the Elcano Royal Institute, the Club de Madrid and the Embassy of Latvia.
“The West is not a geographical concept, it is the defense of freedom, representative democracy, the free market and the open society”, and today there is “a vertiginous process of de-westernization” that has relegated Europe to “the periphery” of this new world map”, he continued during his speech at the conference The Future of Democracy in Europe, organized to mark the centenary of Latvia and which was presented by the director of the Diplomatic School, Fernando Fernández-Arias, and the Latvian ambassador, Argita Daudze.
This “de-westernization” is fundamentally an “Anglo-Saxon withdrawal”, especially from the United States, which has renounced “its role in the world order,” declared the former Minister of Foreign Affairs during the first term of José María Aznar.
“Nature has a horror of emptiness, and when someone retreats, another unfolds”, Piqué warned. “China was the most important country in the world for a thousand years and has a clear strategy to recover that historic role”, he continued. “It has abandoned its self-containment and has made it clear that it wants to become the biggest global power in the middle of this century”, he said.
“Europe is like democracy, you have to water it every day”, warns former foreign minister
In the framework of this new “post-western world”, he said, “Europe is like democracy, you have to water it every day”. “If we diminish the solidarity and the free movement of people and we are not able to agree on the euro, security or migration, it is possible that we will only be a commercial and customs area and stop being a political project“, alerted.
The European project was possible thanks to France and Germany, but it is not enough anymore, according to Piqué. “France wants but can’t and Germany neither wants nor can because of the weakness of the Government”, warned Piqué. “Europe is made up of small countries and countries that have not realized that they are small. No European country, not even Germany, would be in a hypothetical G7 within ten years just for its GDP”, he said.
Besides, in Italy there is “a Eurosceptic government at least, with some cases of Europhobia”, and in Spain, “the political instability and the parliamentary weakness of the Government” do not allow us to play “a more proactive and proactive role” in Europe.
Therefore, in the current context of the rise of “left and right populisms and nationalisms, starting with the one we have in Spain itself”, and without forgetting that “17 of the 28 member states have populist or populist-backed governments”, the next European elections are going to be “fundamental”.
“They are going to be very important elections, more important than those of Andalusia, Catalonia or possible general elections in Spain”, he said. “We must explain to citizens that they should not see them as an iconoclastic experiment to punish the governments of the day”, he warned. “It has a cost that can be very serious, since we risk the future of Europe and the European conception of Europe’s own citizens”, he concluded.