The President of the Council of the European Union (EU), Charles Michel, indicated during an interview that after the failure of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the need for the European bloc “to generate greater autonomy” in geopolitical matters became more evident, also indicating his interest in achieving a rapprochement with the Chinese communist regime. 

Charles Michel said on Wednesday, Sept. 8 that he was shocked by the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, organized by President Joe Biden, which was carried out with “very little, if any, consultation with its European partners,” leading the EU’s highest authority to determine that the bloc should seek greater independence.

“The Afghan crisis only reinforces and solidifies a conviction that I have held for a while and that is shared with many others. It is the idea of European strategic autonomy, which aims at strengthening our ability to influence in accordance with our interests and values while also placing emphasis on our ability to act,” the Belgian politician told the Groupe d’études géopolitiques think tank.

Michel said that while the United States and the European Union share fundamental values, it is “clear” that a divergence has emerged in implementing these values.

In addition, Michel shared his concern about the EU’s inability to provide “the assistance necessary to evacuate its citizens and the Afghans who supported them” without U.S. help.

According to the interview, Michel was extremely concerned and helpless that while U.S. troops were withdrawing from Afghanistan, the EU could not withdraw European citizens independently and without U.S. backing, despite the fact that the bloc is composed of twenty-seven nations, several of which are among the world’s leading powers.

To understand the “strategic autonomy” Michel spoke of, it will be critical to study how the EU is beginning to deal with communist China.

In fact, the EU has already long sought to deepen trade relations with the communist regime in Beijing, which even overtook the United States as its top trading partner last year.

Earlier this year, the European Union agreed with the Chinese regime on a major investment pact, which was eventually suspended after an unexpected series of tit-for-tat sanctions between the European bloc and the Asian power. 

Michel said he shared the same democratic values and political model as the United States and admitted the need and interest to generate its own strategy with China, independently of its relationship with the rest of the West and the United States. 

In this sense, Michel said that the EU would not be “hostage” in the rivalry between the United States and China and assured that they should cooperate with the regime on issues such as climate change and the crisis generated by the pandemic caused by the coronavirus.

Although Michel did not give further details on how the rapprochement with China will be carried out, he did make it clear that the disaster in Afghanistan awakened his interest in generating greater independence of the bloc concerning decision-making on issues associated with global geopolitical power.