BRUSSELS – When problems accumulate, as in Europe – where the failed coup in Turkey comes hard on the heels of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union – attention is often focused on the most recent issue to arise. Earlier problems, now seeming less urgent, are neglected. For many years, we Europeans have seen how this plays out: in the end, none of the problems ever seems to be resolved.
The Turkish coup appears now to be resolving itself, though no one yet knows what long-term implications it will have for that vital country. Brexit is, without doubt, a veritable blow to the European project. A member state has regrettably chosen to move ahead alone. But this mustn’t lead the EU into the most damaging situation of all: paralysis.
The many issues that the Union must still resolve won’t disappear merely with the passage of time. And one of the most urgent is Europe’s security: each day that passes without taking joint action is an opportunity lost and leads to greater risk.
Addressing such issues effectively, rather than falling into the trap of the immediate, requires adhering to accepted strategies. By identifying challenges, establishing long-term objectives, and designing collective action to achieve those objectives, strategies provide a framework for initiatives to address problems in a more far-sighted, coherent way.