“On foreign and defense policy, absolutely, there is an ambition to be more united, and that vision is shared by all of the member countries,” says Carl Bildt, former Swedish prime minister and foreign minister, about the European Union. “Then in practice, as you’ve seen, there are divergences, and they are more or less clear in different areas.”
Those divergences have frustrated advocates of a more forceful EU that operates on the world stage with “strategic autonomy,” a phrase Mr. Bildt finds “confuses more than it clarifies.” But he adds, as someone who has “been watching these things for a fairly long time, I’ve seen a gradual convergence of foreign policy positions.”
During his career as an international diplomat, Mr. Bildt served as the EU’s special envoy to the former Yugoslavia and high representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the U.N. special envoy for the Balkans, and the co-chair of the Dayton Peace Conference. He is currently co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations.