This German federal election is crucial for Europe’s future. Angela Merkel’s successor has the choice of leading Europe toward more integration and strategic relevance or abetting its gradual, inexorable decline.
To fulfill its ambition of becoming an effective geopolitical power, the EU should place ecological security and diplomacy at the heart of its foreign and security policy. This approach should entail practical and innovative strategies that pursue systemic regeneration at home and abroad.
The coronavirus pandemic has strained the EU’s efforts to promote democracy. Nowhere is this clearer than in the Western Balkans, where China and Russia have used vaccine diplomacy to strengthen their roles in the region.
To reap the benefits of being valuable partners in promoting democracy abroad, the Visegrad Four countries must address democratic backsliding at home, improve coordination among themselves, and make bigger financial commitments.
The EU’s hollow statements expressing “concern” over the latest Israeli-Palestinian conflagration will not deter either party. Unless the Europeans use what little leverage they have, they can forget about having a strategic role in the region.
The Conference on the Future of Europe is built on a haphazard compromise between competing visions, institutional rivalries, and the role of citizens. As such, it is unlikely to provide solutions to the many challenges facing the EU.
The EU prides itself on being a bold climate leader with the aim of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But the union is banking on incremental change. The world simply cannot afford such timid action, or indeed hypocrisy.
Globally, EU assistance has been slow to materialize. Supporting countries in dire need of coronavirus vaccines—through both the provision of vaccines and the sharing of patents—would project the union's soft power capacity.
Lehne is a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe in Brussels, where his research focuses on the post–Lisbon Treaty development of the European Union’s foreign policy, with a specific focus on relations between the EU and member states.
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