THE ROLE OF THE EU IN THE WORLD
     

 

 

 

"More than a decade after the 2003 European Security Strategy, the world has changed dramatically. And we have changed as well. For this reason EEAS has launched a period of strategic reflection on the EU’s way ahead in the world. It will lead to an EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy. This process gives us the opportunity to forge a stronger and more effective EU foreign policy and engage the public on debates about foreign policy. In today's world foreign policy is not just a question for experts – it affects all of us: from the food we eat and the clothes we wear to our daily security and the future prosperity of our children. This is why I believe it is important to involve all of you in our strategic reflection – to hear many voices and get different perspectives. Through the website EU Global Strategy the EEAS would like to have a broad conversation on the EU’s foreign policy interests, goals and means to achieve them'.

 




In recent years, preoccupied by the debt crisis, the fragility of its financial institutions, the fight it wages for growth and against unemployment, and the rise of populism, the European Union (EU) failed to strengthen, let alone increase its influence and presence on the international stage. Therefore, a couple of weeks before European citizens are called to exercise their great democratic right to elect a new European Parliament 2014, the big question is this: in light of harsh realities and past failures, what can reasonably be done by the next Parliament to make significant progress with the Union’s foreign policy? On this, Eneko Landaburu from Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations, published the policy brief "The Role of the European Union in the World".
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4th Brussels Think Tank Dialogue on EU Global Role in a Changing World
April 2013 the 4th Brussels Think Tank Dialogue was held. The panel that addressed the EU's global role in a changing world, brought forward the – still unfolding – repercussions of the crisis on EU foreign policy and its role in world by providing a sober impact assessment that goes beyond the alarmist ‘narratives’ of foreign policy ‘renationalization’, global resource competition and decreasing global relevance and challenged questions as 'What is Europe’s role beyond the crisis? What are the continuities rather than the fractures in EU foreign policy? What are the long-term structural assets that can serve as the starting point for a new narrative underpinning the Union’s global engagement?'

The Dialogue presented a conference paper 'After the crisis: Some thoughts on a global EU – or how to turn a crisis into regeneration'.

Good ideas sometimes spring out of crises. The European Union itself was ‘invented’ from a crisis, conceived in the rubble of the Second World War. It is less frequently recalled that the European integration project took shape at a time of great change and of redefinition of Europe’s global role. Between 1946 and the 1960s Europe lost one source of global power and influence – its empires –, independence movements and decolonisation processes put serious strains on European states, the global rise of the United States from 1917 onwards challenged Europe’s predominance and the American influence over Europe was made concrete through the Marshall Plan.

According to A. Moravcsik, the EU is best understood as one level in a complex multi-level decision making system with no correspondence between procedural equity, equal influence, fair policy outputs, responsiveness to the median voter, and normatively justified governance and by presence of narrow substansive range, modest budgetary resources, lack of coercive force, miniscule bureaucracy, constraining decision rules within a multi-level system, and far more powerful competitors, the EU is an exceptionally weak federation. Inter alia, this leads to policies aimed at national interests and the idea of not wanting to cede sovereignty. That does not make it easy to be a global actor that:

- might be able to prevent that Russia, China and the USA would drive Europe apart;
- can ensure that
trade and investments grow;
- should include a renewed security strategy;
- should provide pooling and sharing of diplomatic capacity.

Although it does not mean that Europe together can do nothing without being a global actor, global acting creates and increases the possibility of single representation within international organisations as IMF, NATO and UN. However, it is not just about present compositions, but also about the future when new member-states will join, which process is not easy. Countries will have to measure up to all acquis communautaire, 'the EU as it is' – in other words, the rights and obligations that EU countries share.
The 'acquis' includes all the EU's treaties and laws, declarations and resolutions, international agreements on EU affairs and the judgments given by the Court of Justice. It also includes action that EU governments take together in the area of 'justice and home affairs' and on the Common Foreign and Security Policy. 'Accepting the acquis' therefore means taking the EU as you find it.

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The debate
20 January 2010 CEPS evening debate on 'Europe as a Global Actor: Views from the Spanish Presidency. Speaker: Miguel Ángel Moratinos Cuyabé, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Coopration of Spain, Chair H. Onno Ruding.

A NEW MOMENTUM

The event by the Spanish presidency was one of the first presentations in Brussels. After the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty this is a new situation to create new balances and to indicate important items for the priorities. The treaty took effect in December, ushering in a host of changes to help the EU take decisions efficiently and play a prominent role in international affairs. Spain will seek to srengthen the EU's role as a global player, working closely with the new EU president to project European unity and help the bloc speak with one voice.

There is stronger policy and cooperation (on climate change, economy, enlargement, people security, .....). The main priorities of the Spanish presidency will focus on the future of Europe (including implementing of the Lisbon Treaty), economy (unity), Middle East and Latin America.

The implementation of the Treaty is working well till now. Every day and week it is going better and better. The EU's new institutional framework gave it the institutions, personalities and mechanisms to speak with a united voice in which both national and European interests will be presented.

After WW-II Schuman and Monnet started the inspiring thought to integrate Europe for the benefit of the citizens. Integration became a kind of obsession. Main direction became to act common on global issues and policies were more and more focussed on economic cooperation.

Due to the past, colonial ties are present, for instance Latin America and Africa. But foreign policy was not that important for a long time. However, it changed and the EU had to change. To speak with one voice, due to ensure energy, economic level, people security, migration (by economic disaster in Africa) and so on affects also foreign policy. The new CFSP is therefore important and became by ratifying of the Lisbon Treaty a new institution, personality with European diplomats. Spain also will be involved in setting up the EU foreign ministery and diplomatic corps (or éxternal action servive') headed by the high representative.

Answers are still there, but now it is in front how to answer with common voice policy. Many missions (20) in European interest are on the agenda. A common foreign policy is neccesary to anticipate better on the changing world of today.

It appeared that Europe is becoming stronger and better in the EU area, not fast, but consistent. Furthermore, not only relations with USA and EU are concrete on the agenda, but also China, Russia, Turkey and further neigbourhood. Anyway, Europe is one big single market. How to help the poor countries.

How about the parties in the Middle East (progress is quite close, also thanks to American efforts). Russian cooperation has to be settled (energy, but also in other directions). Africa is a neighbour and did not appear on the agenda for a long time. But how to go there? With empty hands? European marshall hulp? Latin America has about a same history and principles. Till now there were no relations with the EU.

The process of European integration is going further, in spite of defending national interests. Looking to Oekraine, there is for example a great opportunity to bring Russia as an important international actor and the EU more together. On longer term, there could grow closer cooperation in the European area. (´A Europe from Georgia to Spain to give answers towards China and India, ......). Now it is a new momentum.

Also the situation on the Western Balkans was discussed. 3 Objectives are important. What has happened, migration, building policies and institutions. The treaty requires the EU-presidency to work closely with the next two countries to hold the office - in Spain's case, Belgium and Hungary. The practical outcome of this 'trio of presidencies' is a joint 18-month programme. 'SBH' trojka agenda has been approved by the Council. Spain is helping to push up Belgium and Hungary.
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Conclusion:

There should not be a contradiction between national and EU interests. Can Europe be a global actor? There are instruments. It is about the political will (to negotiate) and the importance of parlementary diplomacy. Why are we not able yet? We have the framework and institutions. We are a smart and soft power, but ´needs Europe a regime now´? Our compacity is sometimes soft and sometimes tough. What is foreign policy? What are we defending on the right moment and the right time? More pressure and sanctions are mostly not the solution on challenges.

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Despite the hopes raised by the most recent Treaties, the Lisbon Treaty in particular, the European Union has been unable to strengthen, let alone develop its role on the international stage. A couple of weeks away from the European Parliament elections, we need to ask ourselves what can reasonably be done by the upcoming Parliament 2009 to ensure that significant progress is made with respect to the EU’s foreign policy. Some of this progress could result from the implementation of the European Security Strategy or originate from the role and initiatives of the High Representative/Vice-president of the Commission. In addition, rethinking specific approaches could allow for significant improvements in key areas such as the EU’s dealings with neighbouring countries, its commercial relationship with the US, its energy security or its common security and defence policy.
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At CEPS ANNUAL CONFERENCE 28 February 2008, about 250 participants commemorated CEPS 25th anniversary: 'Thinking Ahead to the Next 25 Years'.

 
What will be the grand ideas and projects of the next 25 years? The EU will be needed as an actor on the global scene, helping to forge the new world order that is emerging with the emerging rise of players such as China and India. The need to strengthen the EU as an effective actor in the international arena, to enhance European identity, or to render EU decision-making more democratic – it is difficult to say now what will be the issues that drive the EU forward for the next two decades or so. The CEPS 2008 Annual Conference devoted debating precisely to these questions.
 

SESSIONS:

I. Europe's Role in the World
Should the European
neighbourhood policy become a fully-fledged tool? How high should the EU sets its level of ambition in terms of defence capabilities? How to strike the right balance between hard and soft power, and is it desirable and (if so) possible to speak with a single voice?

II. Internal Challenges
How to sustain the
welfare state in the face of current demographic trends? How to enhance economic growth in order to maintain and improve both the level of employment and living standards? And given the likehood that large waves of immigrants will continue to make their way onto EU territory, how best to integrate their diverse cultures and religions into relatively homogeneous societies? Tackling the issue of energy supply and its trades-off with environmental sustainability, what policy options should the EU be exploring?

III. Researching Europe: Brainstorming CEPS Priorities

Speakers: Onno Ruding
, Olli Rehn,
Robert Cooper, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Jean Marie Guéhenno, Bronislaw Geremek (†), Wolfgang Wessels, Laurens Jan Brinkhorst and Nick Butler.

The world is organising. Persuasiveness, great leadership and aspiration are of enormous relevance in the changing global order with upcoming markets. Other main points are demography, migration and energy. Another aspect is the presence deficit of technicians, that can become a problem in the future.
To anticipate upon this, creating an alliance on European level between academics, public, institutions and others could contribute to solutions. Further raised valid understandings were continuity, integration and especially the next generation, for "people with grey hair alone don't make Europe".

'We should not fall into the trap of selfdestruction or self fulfilling prophecy. Volatility, dynamics, flexibility and including everything should be course of things. A very triggering, inspiring and useful brainstorming session.

CEPS AC 2008

CEPS AC 2008

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As part of the Presidency in 2006, more than 300 participants from politics, science, acadamics, art, media, diplomacy and clergy got together with the European Commission to talk about the role and future of Europe, her objects in view and chances and to give new ideas, opinions, suggestions and proposals as part of a new sound during the international conference "THE SOUND OF EUROPE". Participants were also enabled to discuss about the future of Europe during working lunch sessions. One of the working lunches was called The European Way of Life'. Here are the notes:

Is it a model for the world of the future?: Following the introduction of the topic by Paolo Bulgari and his definition of the European Way of Life as the ability of European citizens to count on the welfare state, to rely on democracy, to live in a healthy and safe environment and to practice solidarity, a heated debate amongst the 24 participants of the working group about the existence of this European Way of Life and its possible continuance occurred. The threat to the European Way of Life was perceived as coming from both inside and outside the European Union.   From an economic perspective, the outward movement of capital and the loss of working places due to the inflexibility of the labour market to countries like India and China was mentioned; from a cultural perspective, the loss of solidarity amongst Europeans generally and the European nations in particular and the integration of immigrants was mentioned. In terms of remedies, the number of suggestions reflected the number of participants. Agreement was only reached on the essence of educational reform, the change of the labour market and the reform of the welfare state to facilitate the European Way of Life.

Borders, Security and Identity Despite Blurred Frontiers: The complex issues of identity, borders and security were the main topics of discussion at table number five.  The creation of a multifaceted identity is problematic, but a common occurrence in the 21 st century.  Its impact has created a new concept of security, and this has affected our idea of borders.  This creation of identity and questioning of borders and security has created a crisis amongst individuals which has resulted in a unified fear of "the other."  All three topics were put in the context of Turkey and its negotiations to join the EU.  The problems that both the EU and Turkey face are history, internal structures of the EU and the lack of communication between the elites and the public.   In order for European ideas to have an impact on the global stage, Europeans need to come to terms with the creation of a complex identity, its pressures and how this changes their view about security and borders.