Washington has become an increasingly unreliable partner for its European allies, Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has said, adding that the European Union remains a “weak” player on the world stage.
“The balance of power is shifting internationally,” Kurz told lawmakers as he presented his new government, formed after his conservative People’s Party struck a coalition deal with the Greens.
The US still remains the strongest military and economic power in the world but it has become an unpredictable partner for us.
The chancellor admitted that America’s global dominance is continuously being challenged by other resurgent powers like China. Ties with Russia, Austria’s “largest neighbor to the east” have been also stirred up.
Yet, Europe, which is still tightly aligned with its partner across the pond, would hardly win anything in this situation if its relations with America’s rivals stay the same, he noted.
Speaking of Europe’s position on the global stage, Kurz said that despite being “unbelievably successful,” the EU still lacks courage to act decisively and independently with regards to international relations.When it comes to these international issues, the European Union is sometimes “weak and not fully capable of acting,” he said.
The Austrian chancellor’s statements came less than a day after the US President Donald Trump once again claimed that his country “defends” Europe against Russia while also lambasting the European nations for their alleged reluctance to pay their NATO bills.
In fact, relations between the US and its allies in Europe have been sour for some time. Washington has been attempting to force Europe to back away from the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project with “extremely pro-European” sanctions, sparking resentment in Berlin in particular.
Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal and aggressive policy towards Tehran also did not sit well with the Europeans, who desperately sought to keep the agreement, although with little success.The assassination of Iran’s top general did not make relations between the US and Europe any easier.
The US strike, which almost pushed the two nations to the brink of war, prompted the European leaders to call for calm and restraint as well as to try and distance themselves from the potential conflict.The stance was met with an angry reaction in Washington. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “the Europeans haven’t been as helpful as I wish that they could be,” while stating that they “need to understand” that Washington acted in their interests as well.