Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies
It is this principle that underpins the EU´s commitment to support and strengthen the role of multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. In parallel, the EU has decided to strengthen and deepen its relationship with key partners on the world stage and has thus concluded “strategic partnerships” with the United States of America, the Russian Federation, Japan, Canada, India, China, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. In addition, European Leaders understand that an EU that aspires to play an important role on the new world stage should first and foremost adapt itself to the demands of this new and complex environment. The Europeanization of national policies gaining in pace since the early nineties, the EU enlargement, and the steady development of the CFSP and ESDP were concrete steps towards a more coherent, robust and effective EU foreign policy. The great need for an institutional self-upgrade, in particular for granting the EU a single voice in the international arena, was finally accomplished with the enactment of the Lisbon Treaty, rightfully considered a cornerstone in the history of European integration. Even the EU´s most severe critic could hardly argue that the EU did not succeed in the bulk of the challenges it had set for itself. However, it would be equally wrong for one to overlook the EU´s critical weaknesses as an actor on the global stage. The recent and ongoing revolutionary wave in the Arab World is a case in point, as it has already exposed the EU´s tardy reaction and lagging steps in reaching and defending a common position on the events in its very neighborhood. It is indeed hard to ignore the widespread disappointment from this failed, first test of the EU’s foreign policy in the post Lisbon era and of the extensively advertised “one voice” in the EU’s external policies that the new Treaty was supposed to bring about. Not only was the EU unprepared for these developments, it was also reluctant to react in a robust and coherent manner towards them. Instead of immediately supporting the democratic aspirations of the Arab people, quite a few member states saw this extraordinary situation as an exercise in realpolitik, while the High Representative sounded at times lukewarm and obviously constrained by the member states’ lowest common denominator.
Turkey on the European doorstep
Published on Feb 16, 2012
A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...