These are the key takeaways of the discussion titled “Europe’s Global Role in the post-COVID World” organized during GLOBSEC´s annual Château Béla Central European Strategic Forum.

Rather than harness the power of international cooperation, states have used the Covid-19 crisis to further their geopolitical ambitions, causing a further divide among global powers. Today’s international powerplay has been marked by the relative decline of the U.S. strategic position in the past years, coupled with the increasing dominance of China. The question for Europe is what role it can play in mitigating the tensions and asserting its influence globally.

With “strategic autonomy” becoming the EU’s latest catchphrase, the bloc has been pushing to increase self-sufficiency and boost its own industries. However, if Europe is to become a strong global player, it first needs to address its internal structural deficiencies. The EU should keep in mind that in order to create an authentic European community of states, creating a united –- but not unified – front is essential. One of the issues halting Europe’s progress is the lack of a joint foreign and defence policy. At the same time, unanimity in decision-making is proving to be halting the progress, and a shift towards a qualified majority vote might be what is needed to move us forward.

Making Europe strong from within requires further building on its strengths, which includes leveraging the EU single market as well as its regulatory powers. In order to contribute towards the re-building the transatlantic relations, Europe needs to be proactive in creating its own vision and priorities for the relationship. The U.S. will be very much focused on domestic issues, including the Covid-19 crisis and race-related questions, which creates a space for Europe to formulate and drive its own vision of how the relationship should work.

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The event titled: “Europe’s Global Role in the post-COVID World was held on December 5, 2019. It was organised within the framework of the project titled “Enhanced European Opportunity Partners in the EU´s Defence and Security Initiatives: Study case of Norway”, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Defence.