Can Europe save the world order?

Press release

Can Europe save the world order?

The rules-based international order is under threat. Illiberal powers are gaining influence and, under President Donald Trump, the United States is attacking the global system it formerly supported – most recently by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. The European Union should place the defence of a rules-based order at the centre of its global strategy. But, to do that, it will have to rethink its conception of liberal international order.

In “Can Europe save the world order?”, Anthony Dworkin and Mark Leonard analyse the major threats to liberal order and suggest how the EU should respond. Instead of trying to recreate the order as it used to be, they argue, Europe needs to take an approach that accepts the limits of liberal action while developing a new set of rules. It should focus on reinforcing the liberal order within Europe, invest in international negotiation to remedy the global diplomacy deficit that Trump has created, and use its economic and regulatory power to help set global standards.

“Europe needs to define and act on its own vision for preserving the world order at a time of increasing disruption,” says Anthony Dworkin. “Without seeking confrontation with the United States, Europe must be prepared to act independently and defy American policy where necessary to maintain a rules-based system.”


About the authors

Anthony Dworkin is a senior policy fellow at ECFR focusing on human rights, democracy, and justice. He is also a visiting lecturer in the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po. His earlier publications for ECFR include “Europe’s new counter-terror wars” (2016) and “International justice and the prevention of atrocity” (2014). He was formerly executive director of the Crimes of War Project.

Mark Leonard is co-founder and director of ECFR. He writes a syndicated column on global affairs for Project Syndicate and his essays have appeared in numerous other publications. Mark is the author of Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century (2005) and What Does China Think? (2008), and the editor of Connectivity Wars (2016). He presents ECFR’s weekly World in 30 Minutes podcast. He was Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Geo-economics until 2016.

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