The preamble to the treaty of Rome signed by the EU’s six founding countries famously says that they “were determined to lay the foundations of an ever-closer union among the peoples of Europe”.
There is little doubt that our geo-political problems are becoming more and more intricate and intractable. We presently have on our hands the middle East crisis, the Ukrainian crisis, the Iraq and Syria crisis, the economic crisis of the West, the border crisis between the US and Mexico (with thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America crossing the border), the territory disputes between Japan and China, North and South Korea, the EU-Africa crisis with refugees arriving almost daily in Lampedusa, Italy attempting to get a foot-hold in Europe, and the list goes on and on. The world is indeed a sorry mess.
A new political geometry is being established in the European Union which has global geopolitical relevance. The most important features of this development are the following:
Europe is on geopolitical auto-pilot, playing sidekick to America, alienating its Muslim neighbours and subsidising its own citizens rather than its needier neighbours. And if it stays on that course, it will become geopolitically irrelevant. That’s why I would propose three bold and, paradoxically, easy initiatives that Europe can take to ensure its geopolitical relevance in 25 years’ time.
The shifts in global power that began in the late 20th century have accelerated since the onset of the world economic crisis in 2008 and the subsequent EURO crisis. As the Dean of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and friend of MD, Barry Desker reports from Singapore, few lessons are available for the Western decision-makers.
When protesters gathered in the Ukrainian capital Kiev in November of last year, few could expect that the sequence of events that unfolded there would lead to the worst crisis between Russia and the western world since the collapse of the Soviet Union over two decades ago.
The EU institutions’ approach to communicating with its citizenry has been not a story of success, claims Philippe Cayla, the former head of the Euronews TV channel. He elaborates on points needed to reverse this negative trend and the way how Brussels can re-connect with the media and with public opinion.
The tone of the statements made from Brussels and Washington and their decisions taken with regard to the Russian Federation, Russian businesses and officials imply that West is unlikely to go beyond ‘cosmetic’ sanctions.