Challenges in Geopolitics of EU to The Atlantic: The Portuguese Model

Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Advanced Research in Social Sciences

Year: 2019


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Challenges in Geopolitics of EU to The Atlantic: The Portuguese Model

José Palmeira




Once the United Kingdom negotiates the output of the European Union and that the new US Administration assumes functions showing isolationist positions and contrary to multilateralism, there are a new geopolitical framework in the international system. From the perspective of the European Union, the possible disruption of the negotiations for a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and, above all, a smaller US commitment with the European defense, represents a significant change of status quo, forcing EU to rethink the terms of the Common Security and Defense Policy. Both the Brexit as the emergence in Washington of a Trump Doctrine sectarian in relation to the EU, force Brussels to reset its Global Strategy. In the traditional dichotomy between countries more favorable to Euro-American cooperation (Atlantic’s) and those which prefer a more autonomous Europe (continental). Portugal is one of the EU Member States that has always privileged the transatlantic connection. That has to do with its own geopolitics, influenced by its location in the Iberian Peninsula in South-Western Europe, and by the insular character of its territory, with a continental portion and two archipelagos (Madeira and Azores) that provide one of the great exclusive economic zones of the EU. The geostrategic importance of its territory, at the beginning of the cold war, led Portugal to be a founding member of the Atlantic Alliance (NATO) in 1949, despite the authoritarian nature of the political regime. After the democratization of the regime in 1974, took place the decolonization of the former Portuguese Empire and the integration of Portugal in the European Communities. By favoring NATO and EuroAmerican cooperation in the field of Defense and putting Africa and the Latin America in foreign policy priorities, Portugal seeks centrality geopolitics. The successive enlargements to the East of the EU put Lisbon faraway from political and geographic centre of Europe. The approval of the EU Integrated Maritime Policy, by initiative of the Barroso Commission (2007), and the holding of the first EU-Africa Summit (2000) and the first EU-Brazil Summit (2007) during the Portuguese EU Presidencies are examples of its geo-strategy. In geopolitical terms, gains relevance the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (1996), with nine States members, mainly Africans and with one of whom, Cape Verde, the EU has concluded a Special Partnership (2007). With regard to Latin America, where the Brazil, a Portuguese-speaking country, is one of the main actors, gains relevance the Iberian-American space, where Portugal, along with Spain, is one of the elements of the bridge with the European area. Once the Brexit and the emergence of Doctrine Trump, UE prepares for a new geopolitical framework, this paper analyses the implications for EU Global Strategy, having as case study the Portuguese geo-strategy which has always been in favour of a more Atlantic Europe (EU as global actor, open abroad) and less continental (EU centered on itself). Based on the Portuguese model, the work stresses that a greater connection of the EU with South Atlantic countries, like Brazil, can mitigate the weakening of the North Atlantic cooperation.

Keywords: Brexit, international relations, power, security, Trump Administration.