søndag 19. september 2021

Aukus: Defence pact an awkward wake-up call for Europe

How do you even pronounce Aukus? Something along the lines of "awkward" came the wry suggestion from one Brussels diplomat this week. And while France has condemned the Australia-UK-US security pact as a "stab in the back", it is certainly awkward for the European Union too.

Firstly, because not only were they not in the room for discussions, they barely seemed to know the room existed. Josep Borrell is the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. A big title but one that had not, in this case, gained him any privileged access. Aukus is being seen as a significant attempt to counter Chinese influence in the South China Sea. And as Mr Borrell stood at the podium for a press briefing this week, to launch the EU's own Indo-Pacific strategy, the incoming questions were not so much about his announcement, but someone else's.