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EU foreign policy fragmentation will increase

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Subject

Structural challenges to EU foreign policy.

Significance

The EU lacks a consolidated foreign policy: member states play a predominant role in external affairs. However, given such domestic challenges as political fragmentation, adverse demographic change and rising populism, national foreign policy faces a future of more volatility and uncertainty. This could increase the need to bolster the EU’s foreign policy powers.

Impacts

  • Positions on Russian sanctions and the Iran nuclear deal show the Council able to form a consensus on some important external issues.
  • Germany and France will push for changed EU competition rules to allow ‘national champions’ to emerge against Chinese and US competitors.
  • Regional neighbours in Northern and Southern Europe may deepen inter-governmentalism and cooperation, respectively.
  • The EU could become a global trendsetter in climate change, especially if Germany and Poland agree to carbon neutrality by 2050.
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