“EU needs to have a strategic relationship with India”

Alexander Stubb is one of the most vocal and active foreign ministers at the European Union (EU) headquarters in Brussels. In his maiden trip to India, the 42-year-old Foreign Minister of Finland speaks to Kunal Majumder on the need of Europe to look beyond the US, his skepticism of the G20 and India’s role in Afghanistan.

Q: In one of your speeches, you refer to Europe and the US as a grumpy old couple married for 60 years. The US is now looking beyond its traditional ally Europe and has started flirting with other countries. You suggest that the EU should do the same. So which countries should you start flirting with first?

A: EU should do the same thing that the US does, in other words flirt with others. So I have started flirting with Russia, which of course, we have done for a long time, but Russia is a difficult bride. I would continue flirting with China, I would continue with India, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Indonesia and a lot of big and emerging powers.

Q: Speaking of China, the relationship between China and some major EU countries like France has been pretty cold as compared to India.

A: I think we could do better. I think China is an emerging super power; somebody might argue that it is already a super power. I would argue that China has not yet taken its role in the world of foreign security policy. The EU must establish its strategic relationship with China. Unfortunately right now from the EU side I see a lot of protectionist tendencies. I see a lot of people, who in the midst of the financial crisis, are starting to talk about different kinds of customs and barriers for China. I see a lot of people starting to criticizing Chinese goods. I don’t like that. I think we must have a strong relationship with China because it is a strong player. Some people talk about G2  — the United States and China. I would like to talk about G3 with the EU into the game as well.

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