Europe is no longer innocent and the violation of a European country’s maritime space by Turkey is “absolutely unacceptable,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a speech in Paris, attended by German Foreign Minister Haiko Maas at a seminar for French ambassadors to European countries.
“It would be a serious mistake to leave our security in the Mediterranean in the hands of others,” he said.
“Europe is at a crossroads, in an increasingly harsh world that is being reconstituted, under the influence of clear power struggles and the systematic dismantling of multilateral frameworks. Europe must finally leave behind the age of innocence and shape its own destiny. Otherwise, other forces will shape it instead,” he continued.
“It’s the big revelation of 2020. This year has dispelled some illusions: We are now forced to act. This awareness has either already taken place or is taking place now. All Europeans must take part in an ambitious project,” he said, stressing the importance of defending European security and understanding our strategic environment.
The French minister referred to the developments during August, which were – as he stressed – tense, “perhaps even to an excessive degree.” When one of us is faced with a policy of accomplishment, an aggressive and unjustified policy, we must respond collectively, because it is a threat to the sovereignty and interests of the Union,” he said, referring to the Eastern Mediterranean where Turkey is violating the continental shelves of Greece and Cyprus.
“The EU is ready for dialogue. But it is also ready to express itself unequivocally, through sanctions, if this is deemed necessary,” he said, adding that this was decided at the informal meeting of foreign ministers in Berlin last week.
“We are mobilizing all available diplomatic and operational means, aiming to create conditions that will allow a constructive dialogue with Ankara. Here, too, there is a convergence of views between [French] President [Emmanuel] Macron and [German] Chancellor [Angela] Merkel, namely between France and Germany. Our goal is permanent and twofold: Stability and sovereignty,” said Le Drian.
“For a long time now, Europe has been giving the impression of a retreating force, even though we are the bearers of universal values and we must aim to influence developments by defining the rules and the necessary control mechanisms, rather than suffering the consequences. My position is clear: We must let go of the setbacks of the past, act according to our power and ensure that our internal composition is paired with our external determination,” he concluded.