European Council on Foreign Relations

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Banking Union discussion in Brussels: testing willingness for further reforms

About ten days ago, 80 participants from the European Union community took part in a very interesting pre-launch event to discuss ECFR’s new policy brief, “How to complete Europe’s banking union” at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels.

The brief describes the progress that the euro area is making through the EU banking union framework, which has now been agreed. Banking union, along with related legislation such as that setting out higher capital requirements for banks through the capital requirements directive IV (CRD IV), will make the euro area banking system much more stable. The union will also make supervision much more uniform and coherent. Moreover, it will limit the toxic link between member states’ banking systems and their sovereign debts. It will make a banking crisis less likely and restrict bail-outs by the member states by prescribing that

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What does Italy want from Europe?

Italy takes over the Presidency of the European Union today, its eleventh since 1959, with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi facing weeks of business delayed by the allocation of top EU jobs. The European Parliament, the Commission and the Council are all busy with appointments to new posts before they go off for their summer break. Prime Minister Renzi will probably try to use this time to push ahead with Italy’s presidency agenda. He’s in a strong position to build on his 41 percent share of the vote in the recent European elections in which Italian turnout - at 59 percent - was one of the highest in Europe.

Elections across Europe produced the most Eurosceptic Parliament ever but in Italy Renzi managed to contain much of that populism with Italian Socialist MEPs topping the poll. It has given him a legitimacy in Europe he had previously lacked. Mr. Renzi and Germany’s Angela Merkel

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#HighRepCasting – join the campaign

The European Union is set to appoint a new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – at a moment when the importance of a strong EU foreign policy couldn’t be clearer. Instead of the horse-trading and political calculations that will likely result in someone taking on the High Rep mantle – imagine if qualifications and strategic thinking drove the EU’s selection process. And imagine if the post to steer EU foreign policy was so coveted and high-profile, that the process received widespread enthusiastic attention.

ECFR is imagining such a world. We want to draw attention to the High Representative position and, by extension, EU foreign policy by exciting some debate around the position – and we want to have a little fun with it.

Join our campaign on twitter to shine some light on the future face of EU foreign policy. We have started a small twitter campaign

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The Next High Rep needs look beyond soft power

This piece is part of a series on the casting of a new High Representative. For the full series, click here. Read Josef Janning's introductory piece here

One should hope that the next High Rep will help Europe shed its illusions about the impact of soft power. Europe’s security, interests, and values depend on it.

With the world drawn to the rise of China’s state capitalism and with the increasing focus of emerging democracies like Brazil and India on national sovereignty and non-interference, Europe must be able to assert its influence and values - and that requires military power. While the United States sees security concerns in Asia, Europeans see only an enormous market.

The crisis in Ukraine should constitute a long-overdue wake-up call. But Europe’s leaders have not rushed to respond to America’s calls for increased defence spending. They would rather confront Russia

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A High Rep to create Europe’s World

This piece is part of a series on the casting of a new High Representative. For the full collection, click hereRead Josef Janning's introductory piece here

As next EU foreign policy chief, it looks like we are going to have the choice between a strongman with a disregard for the rules and a mild-mannered technocrat capable of steering the Big-3 states. And by Big-3 states, of course, I mean Texas, Florida, and New York because we Europeans seem undecided only about whether to outsource our foreign-policy decisions to Obama or to the maverick Putin.

It’s a shame we aren’t interested in defining our global role for ourselves. This was supposed to be Europe’s World – multipolar, with a declining role for the US and a growing demand for EU-style regionalism. All we had to do, it was always said, was lie back while the rest of the world nudged out America and adopted our model of

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