For too long the EU’s prosperity has been dependent on China and Russia, while security has been outsourced to the US, top EU diplomat, Josep Borrell, has said.
The statement comes amid soaring energy prices and attempts to curb Russian oil and gas supplies as part of sanctions over Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.
“Our prosperity has been based on cheap energy coming from Russia. Russian gas – cheap and supposedly affordable, secure, and stable. It has been proved not [to be] the case,” Borrell said in a speech at an EU ambassadors’ conference on Monday.
The diplomat added that the 27-member bloc also relied too much on trade with China, as well as Chinese investment and “cheap goods.”
“I think that the Chinese workers with their low salaries have done much better and much more to contain inflation than all the Central Banks together,” Borrell argued.
So, our prosperity was based on China and Russia – energy and market. Clearly, today, we have to find new ways for energy from inside the European Union, as much as we can, because we should not change one dependency for another.
Borrell added, that while growing economically dependent on Moscow and Beijing, “we delegated our security to the United States.” The over-reliance on Washington creates a sense of uncertainty in Brussels, especially if the next US leadership would be less favorable to the EU, he said.
“Who knows what will happen two years from now, or even in November? What would have happened if, instead of [Joe] Biden, it would have been [Donald] Trump or someone like him in the White House? What would have been the answer of the United States to the war in Ukraine? What would have been our answer in a different situation?”
“And the answer for me is clear: we need to shoulder more responsibilities ourselves. We have to take a bigger part of our responsibility in securing security,” Borrell stated.
Concerns over gas prices and fears of possible shortages have also prompted some major companies to shift production from the EU to the US. Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest carmaker, revealed last month that it was considering relocating manufacturing plants from Germany due to rising energy costs.