The unanimity rule on EU foreign policy often has a debilitating impact on Europe’s ability to act in a robust and united way on the world stage and in its neighborhood.
With the UK government’s proposal of an internal market bill that could breach international law and derail negotiations with the EU, Britain is in the first stages of a profound and potentially dangerous upheaval.
As the coronavirus pandemic tests governments and societies around the world, it is also stressing the already fragile state of global democracy by undermining critical democratic processes, sidelining human rights, and unfettering authoritarianism.
The rapidly eroding trust between the UK and the EU casts a dark shadow over the future of European foreign policy cooperation. But as the eventful summer of 2020 has shown, that cooperation is much needed.
Because of Russia, the EU will choose to thread carefully in its reaction to the tumultuous events taking place in Belarus. Moscow will remain the decisive player as the United States stays on the sidelines.
In the chaotic early weeks of the pandemic, when Europe was ground zero for the international spread of the coronavirus, European unity seemed a distant prospect. But Merkel’s leadership combined with a gigantic recovery fund have helped the EU bounce back.
Neither values nor geopolitics played any role when EU leaders agreed to spend their way out of the coronavirus crisis at a marathon summit. Once again, Europe as a strategic player has been postponed.*
The European Parliament should be an important source of democratic oversight and accountability as the EU continues to pursue greater security and defense integration.
Albeit divided on how to help European economies hit by the pandemic, EU leaders hope German Chancellor Angela Merkel can forge an agreement when they meet in Brussels.
Europe is immersed in the world around it. But in order to strengthen the EU’s global role, the European Council will need to understand the deep connection between domestic struggles and international ambitions.