Which way now for the EU?

With the main European Union institutions preparing for a change of leadership this autumn, now is a good time to reflect on the European Union’s priorities for the coming years.

The EU’s new top team is all but confirmed. Ursula von der Leyen, the former German defense minister, will be the next president of the European Commission, while Christine Lagarde, the outgoing managing director of the International Monetary Fund, will take over at the European Central Bank. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel will be the next president of the European Council, and Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell is poised to become the EU’s new High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Several commentators say the EU’s new leaders should seek to strengthen Europe’s “strategic sovereignty” through greater pooling of member states’ resources and much closer policy coordination. This is certainly much needed, not least on eurozone matters. But calls for increased strategic sovereignty often imply that a more integrated EU should become the third pillar of a “G-3” world alongside the United States and China. And that is insufficient.

The structure of global power in 2019 is very different from what it was even a few years ago. We now live in a G-2 world, in which China is rapidly catching up to the U.S. on most measures of power and influence. Although China is still far behind the U.S. in military terms, its GDP is now largerthan America’s (on a purchasing-power-parity basis). Moreover, China has first-class armed forces, produces far more science, engineering, and medicine graduates than the U.S., boasts the world’s four largest banks, and has become a leading global technology player.

Clearly, no other country even comes close to rivaling China and the U.S. But, collectively, EU member states—even without the United Kingdom—would constitute a power of similar magnitude. By bolstering its strategic sovereignty, therefore, Europe could make such a G-3 world a reality. A stronger and more unified Europe, the argument goes, could then compete with the U.S. and China in most domains—including by “weaponizing” its economic resources to further its geostrategic objectives.

Συνέχεια ανάγνωσης εδώ:www.brookings.edu

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