who have been harmed by an exclusive globalisation that is presented as
the source of all their problems.
At the same time, although the welfare state (education, health, pen-
sions etc.) has resisted the crisis and retains the support of citizens, it has
been eroded throughout Europe as a result not only of economic policies
but also due to the phenomenon of tax avoidance/evasion, which under-
mines the tax base and fuels the growing debt problem of some states.
It also seems clear that the change of administration in the US is not
good news for Europeans. In the short time that Donald Trump has spent
in the Oval Office, he has threatened to upset many of the well-established
lines of US foreign policy, whether with regard to NATO, the EU, Mexico,
the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran, China or Russia. The
outlook for trans-Atlantic relations is far from rosy. Despite this, there are
new opportunities for the EU in the international sphere. One of these is
Latin America. Trump’s policies towards Mexico represent an attack on the
entire continent, and it would be a mistake to allow the vacuum that this
may create to be filled by other powers who do not share our values.
Instead, we should grasp the opportunity to strengthen ties with Latin
America, finalise the agreement with Mercosur and support positive devel-
opments in Cuba.
Defence and security is another area where the EU needs to make
progress. Even if we ignore his declarations regarding the obsolescence of
NATO, Trump’s proposals boil down to making US support for the alliance
conditional on greatly increased financial contributions from Europe while
policy decisions would remain firmly in American hands. The EU is already
committed to developing its own initiatives in this area – despite the prob-
lems that may arise from Brexit – in order to ensure that it does not find
itself defenceless or obliged to back policies that it does not agree with.
Acquiring greater strategic autonomy is therefore essential.
One encouraging development was the signature of the Paris
Agreement on climate change. Implementing this agreement is essential
for our future, and we must do everything possible to prevent any of the
major countries from disavowing the agreement, because other large
states would almost certainly follow suit. In this area, the EU still needs to
tackle the creation of an energy union. Despite the fact that the EU has its
origins in the European Coal and Steel Community and in the European
Atomic Energy Community, we have not yet created a common energy
market. Encouraging the development of a clean energy union and pro-
moting a digital agenda that would place the EU at the cutting edge of the
new technologies are two short-term objectives that would not require
THE STATE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION