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 governance.

It was a tempting logic, but perhaps a little French: arrogant (the part about being an example to the rest of the world) and anti-American (treating our rival’s rivals as our friends). It has turned us into transatlantic parasites, overestimating our contribution to the world. And it has encouraged us to treat as partners competitors like Russia who only adopt our rules so they can turn them against us.

To create Europe’s World, the new foreign-policy chief would have to make the EU model both sustainable and competitive.

Roderick Parkes heads the EU Programme at the Polish Institute for International Affairs. 

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