Could Europe Become A Geopolitical Superpower?

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Whenever there is a crisis in Europe, and the EU has to grow, the answer is that Jean Monet, one of its founding fathers said, ‘Europe needs a crisis to move forward’ , and Europe then gets tangled up. However, it is worth noting a different point of view. “Every new idea is a bad idea,” said Monet’s father, a cognac merchant.

Monet Sr.’s ideas will not find as much support in Brussels as before, mainly because the world is rapidly changing, and Europe’s leaders are waking up to the realities of the end of the globalized world order and the arrival of a multipolar world, thanks to three In large part to the actions of ‘strong’ men—Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.


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Trump has sowed doubts in European minds that the US may be in a political collapse and that it may be a less reliable partner, Xi has woken them to the realization that trade with China involves a double-edged deal, while Putin remembers them. Reminds that Europe has been challenged again by the uncompromising evil, and needs to be countered.

I have written several times about the gathering momentum towards the perception of Europe as a geopolitical power. What is new is the speed at which it is happening. It took Europe some five years to organize its fiscal and economic policy, and it still remains halfway. In contrast, European foreign, security, energy and political policies have all been changed in six months. The import of this change has not yet been appreciated in Beijing, Washington and London.

These capitals may find that they are better off dealing with separate governments in Europe than in the European Union. Brexit, where the EU commissioner was the credible negotiator for the 27 countries, showed that the matter is rapidly eroding, and the response to the energy crisis also shows that EU countries are better off together.

In the next few years, the idea of ​​Europe as a power is likely to gain momentum. In practical terms this means that it will seek a more specific and powerful voice (at the EU level) on foreign policy and that will be informed by the social democratic values ​​of the EU.

In line with this, Europe would have a more coherent, comprehensive defense and security policy that would extend to the idea of ​​industrial sovereignty – effectively Europe would be ‘self-reliant’ or would have autonomy in key defence, industrial and technological sectors. To some extent, Europe is easily catching up with the US and China here. From an investment perspective, we should expect to see deep secular trends in green energy, environmental technologies, defense and cyber security, and consolidation in fintech and healthtech in Europe.


Skeptics might think they’ve seen it all before.

There are clear obstacles. The first is the game-theoretic aspect of shaping ‘general’ policies, and then ensuring that their implementation is not mistaken for political development in individual member states (such as Italy). Additionally, Germany is still in a state of geopolitical confusion, much depending on whether France is leading the way with the likes of Lithuania and Poland.

The second is implementation – for example fostering innovation in new technologies and building a true sense of what ‘European values’ means to people (a very good example is the recent launch of Democracy Next . ), way from top to bottom in Brussels.

In this regard, there are some proven points ahead. One is whether the EC will appoint a high-profile foreign affairs commissioner and give him additional power and institutional capacity over policy, so that he does not play a second role to the French and German foreign ministers. Another test pertains to the nature of defense spending and, apart from all the tanks and helicopters that individual armies like Germany need, whether more ‘normal’ defense infrastructure such as heavy lifting aircraft is spent. Related to this, another test is whether the EU is prepared to take action against another state, an offensive as opposed to a defensive one. An EU-coordinated cyber attack on one of the many ‘internet research agencies’ would be a significant development.

A ‘test’ that is imminent is in the realm of democracy. Europe’s leaders have talked a lot about its democratic values, and the invasion of Ukraine brought this into full attention. What’s new is that the debate was the focus of Ursula von der Leyen’s annual address last Wednesday, where she criticized the ‘Trojan horses that attack our democracy from within’ and specifically said that ‘many of us People have taken democracy for a very long time. Especially like me, who have never experienced what it means to be in the grasp of an authoritarian regime’.

In that context, Hungary is the test case. It is likely to deprive billions of EU funding (up to EUR 40 billion), and there is growing talk of the European Council and possibly finding a legal means to get it out of the EU. The current mood in Brussels, given Viktor Orban’s close ties to Russia, has Hungary to push much harder. As the war in Ukraine turns away from Russia, European leaders may muster the courage to push Orban to the limit.

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