Foreign Policy Blogs

Europe Awakes?


The cover story of this week’s Economist argues that “it is time for the world’s biggest economy to rise from its slumber and play a global role.” Although the Lisbon treaty – and its likely ratification – does not signal an obvious emergence of a European superpower, it provokes the questions, “Will Europe wake up and take a bigger role in the world? Or are the affairs of man to be decided largely in Washington and Beijing, with the new ‘G2’ occasionally copying in the Brussels bureaucracy on its decisions?”

Over the past half century, Europe has looked inward. Sure, the soft pull of membership is often overlooked as a stabilizing force, but the European Union sometime punches below its weight in international affairs. If economic size is power, Europe isn’t taking advantage. “At present Europe is a weak actor on a stage dominated by America and China; India and Brazil are in the wings.”

Europe is capable of doing more. But, Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, warns, “It really does remain to be seen whether the changes that Lisbon brings are meaningful or whether they end up proving rather hollow because of the re-nationalization of power in Europe and the growing strength of the nation-states vis-à-vis the Union.”

Image from The Economist.



David Kampf

David Kampf is a writer and researcher based in Washington, DC. He is also a columnist for Asia Chronicle. He analyzes international politics, foreign policy and economic development, and his pieces have appeared in various publications, including China Rights Forum, African Security Review and World Politics Review. Recently, he directed communications for the U.S. Agency for International Development and President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in Rwanda. Prior to living in East Africa, he worked in China and studied in Brazil, India and South Africa.

Area of Focus
International Politics; Foreign Affairs; Economic Development