New Report Finds Europe Unprepared for Coming Global Order

Published: 17 Jun 2020

Europe - and the EU - needs to step up now if it wishes to remain a relevant international player, finds a new report from no.1 ranked university affiliated think tank, LSE IDEAS.

According to the report, Europe faces a number of challenges that limit its future significance as a global and regional power – such as Brexit.

The impact of the UK’s departure from the European Union on Europe will be seen most clearly by the economic implications. Brexit could lead to the UK undercutting EU standards as a spoiler from the outside, as well as the inevitable loss of an economy that makes up one-sixth of the EU’s combined GDP.

Alongside this, the report suggests that Europe faces a challenge in the lack of long-term European-wide frameworks for coordinating an effective and coherent foreign, security and defence policy. According to the report, with the absence of bodies for collective decision-making on delicate matters of foreign and security policy, Europe will always lag behind.

The report also reveals that although Europeans are spending more on defence, they are not necessarily spending it together, in the right ways, and on the most appropriate projects. These longstanding limitations in Europe’s capabilities will prove significant in limiting its place on the world stage.

Dr Benjamin Martill, Associate at LSE IDEAS and co-author of the report, says:

“Our message is, basically, that Europe needs to get its act together, and to start thinking about how it safeguards its interests in a more dangerous environment. Europe could and should be a major global player, but risks being eclipsed by stronger and less liberal actors which are less hamstrung by internal divisions. The beneficiaries of a strong Europe won’t just be in Europe, since a strong European pole can help bring about greater international stability”.

Lisa ten Brinke, a former Research Associate at LSE IDEAS and co-author of report, says:

“We hope this report will inspire European policymakers to make the necessary investments so Europe – and the EU – can thrive in a fast-changing, multipolar world. But no need to throw out the baby with the bathwater: a stronger Europe goes beyond just military power, and includes a strong stance on key European values, such as support for democracy and multilateralism.”

The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of any other agency, organisation, or employer.

Dr Benjamin Martill is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh and an Associate at LSE IDEAS.

Lisa ten Brinke previously worked as a Research Associate at LSE IDEAS and as a Research Analyst at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

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