European Council on Foreign Relations

Merkozy or Merkollande?

When Nicolas Sarkozy did his first TV interview to launch his presidential campaign, he cited Germany eight times as a model for France. An alleged anti-Hollande front among conservative European leaders has become a topic of Paris dinner table talk. Indeed, Hollande has not met with Cameron in London - and on his trip to Warsaw he could only meet with Poland’s president, not with the prime minister. But beyond Sarkozy’s proposal of a German role model for France, Europe was entirely absent from the campaigns of both candidates. Sarkozy only mentioned that Europe had just escaped a catastrophic scenario, while Hollande vowed to renegotiate a eurozone fiscal compact. Not surprisingly, most people thought the campaigns were “disappointing” (according to French polls).  Sarkozy’s European stance was limited to justifying the golden rule, citing hard times, and praising “hard work”.

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When writing letters is not enough

A truism of European foreign policy is that foreign ministers have suffered a serious decline in power over recent years. Partly it’s because their bosses engage in more and more direct diplomacy with their counterparts. Partly it’s thanks to the increasingly economic nature of international issues and the consequent rise in the importance of finance ministers. And partly it’s because of institutional changes that have resulted in the office of an EU foreign policy chief, currently Catherine Ashton, who represents them at European Councils.

The responses from foreign ministers have been varied. Some have become walking ideas factories – think of Sweden’s Carl Bildt, whose prodigious output ensures that discussions often pivot around his proposals. Others have focused on areas of expertise, showing where they can add value like Nicky Mladenov from Bulgaria.

But others have

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€ view: weighing up ordoliberalism

The publication of our ECFR policy brief – ‘The long shadow of ordoliberalism: Germany’s approach to the euro crisis’ – a couple of weeks ago has triggered a broad debate. The ideas themselves were widely discussed (see, for instance, Business Week and the Irish Times), and an opinion piece in The Guardian led to hundreds of comments from readers. The ordoliberalism theme was also picked up in the blogosphere (see NPthinking, the European Tribune and Mainly Macro)

I was actually quite surprised by the emails and phone calls that I received from journalists who wanted to discuss the paper. Most German economists who were educated in the 1990s have come across the term ‘ordoliberalism’, but it seems to have drawn a complete blank outside the borders of Germany. By this I mean not only that few economists follow this paradigm, but that very little is know about it: even economists who

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The Scorecard tour: Copenhagen

Hans Kundnani is one of the lead authors of the ECFR's Foreign Policy Scorecard. He's writing this series of blog posts as he attends a series of Scorecard events across Europe and beyond.

Does Europe need a foreign policy? That was the interesting question raised by at a discussion on the European Foreign Policy Scorecard we held in Copenhagen last week. It began with some introductory remarks by Danish Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal, who welcomed the Scorecard as a useful basis for a discussion European foreign policy. Next, former Danish climate change minister (and ECFR Council member) Lykke Friis raised some interesting questions about how to define foreign policy and suggested some ways in which she thought Europe could do better. But Bo Lidegaard, a former adviser to the Danish prime minister and the editor-in-chief of the Danish newspaper Politiken, wondered whether we

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Reinventing Europe: Narcís Serra

As part of ECFR's 'Reinvention of Europe' project, we are running a series of responses from leading thinkers and academics to Mark Leonard's recent paper 'Four scenarios for the reinvention of Europe'. The paper outlined four possible routes towards solving Europe's current crisis, and argued that Europe's main challenge was to solve the acute euro crisis without exacerbating the chronic crisis of declining European power. In the fifteenth in this series we hear from Narcís Serra from CIDOB.


Mark Leonard offers a lucid appraisal of the risks of descending into populism or technocratic rule, and suggests that Europe “should therefore embrace a progressive policy agenda that serves the interest of ordinary citizens as well as bankers. It needs a growth union rather than austerity union”.

Just as populism in Europe has habitually drawn on problems linked with immigration

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