The EU sees itself as the protagonist of liberal and democratic multilateralism. Article 21 of the EU treaty (TEU) commits the European Union to supporting the rule of law and upholding universal human rights in its external actions. Since the EU possesses legal status at the international level, it can participate as a player in many international formats, in full respect of competences of the member states. At the United Nations, member states are also trying to develop common positions within the framework of the CFSP. Recently, the coronavirus pandemic has shown how the EU’s commitment to multilateralism has been reflected in global health policy. At the same time, the CFSP is considered to be a prototype of multilateralism, an example that multilateralism works and of how it works, and an inspiration for its advocates. The new US administration is likely to give multilateralism additional impetus as an appropriate response to the return of traditional great power politics and to pressing global challenges like climate change. This should give the EU a better chance to influence the future international order. In light of this, the EU is likely in the coming years to develop existing interregional partnerships, for example, those with Mercosur, the African Union and ASEAN, as well as its bilateral partnerships, as with African states or Brazil. The expansion of relationships in Central Asia and in the whole Indo-Pacific region will also be a central objective for the EU.
Since CFSP measures and other areas of EU external action are closely interwoven, conflicts of authority often arise between EU institutions. For example, under the Community Method, the Council of the EU decides together with the European Parliament by qualified majority on the priorities for the allocation of EU funds to candidate countries, neighbouring countries, development partners and other non-member countries. At the same time, member states decide unanimously on other aspects of relations with these countries within the framework of CFSP. This concerns, among other things, security requirements that member states increasingly impose on external actions of the EU, as in EU strategies like the Sahel Strategy, the Cybersecurity Strategy and the Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Non-member states make use of these conflicts of authority within the EU to advance their interests against the EU. Bringing the CFSP under the roof of the supranational EU institutions as a basis for a coherent and cohesive EU foreign policy could deprive them of this lever.
The Franco-German relationship is more important than ever in order to deal with international crises and to develop a common European foreign and security policy. With elections coming up, William Glucroft discusses the strategic outlook with Ronja Kempin and Paul Maurice.
Contributions to Research Papers 2020/RP 04, 06.04.2020, 53 Pages, S. 47–51
Actors, Issues, Conflicts of Interests
With its concept of strategic autonomy, the EU risks triggering a new Cold War. In the context of globalisation and digitisation, it should focus on strategic interdependence instead. A plea by Annegret Bendiek.
Next Steps for the EU
COVID-19 pandemic reflects the EU’s powerlessness to act coherently on health matters—but it also reveals a path forward
China is increasingly seen as the central threat to the liberal Western world order. A growing sense that this shift is unstoppable creates a climate of discussion that overlooks important alternatives, writes Nadine Godehardt.
Militarization of Foreign Policy and Power Rivalry
Militarised Peacebuilding with Implications for Conflict Transformation
Challenges and Policy Options for the EU and its Member States
Five German and European Priorities for the Transatlantic Agenda
On the Significance of China Competence for German and European Policy on China
Causes, Trajectories, and Implications for Europe