Yet again the euro crisis has eroded Europe’s image, soft power and capacity to pursue its interests on the world stage. But the third annual edition of ECFR’s European Foreign Policy Scorecard, which evaluates European influence in an increasingly competitive world, finds that the picture is uneven:
On what issues and in which regions did European nations succeed in projecting their power? Which countries were the foreign policy leaders, and which were the slackers that held back the rest? What was the impact of the euro crisis on Europe’s global influence?
The main findings of the Scorecard:
- The foreign policy gap between Brussels and the member states continued to hinder unified approaches on issues like China
- The euro crisis has a foreign policy cost - countries like Spain were forced to target limited focus and resources on areas of specific national interest rather than wider aims
- Small states matter - Sweden and the Netherlands showed that smaller Member States can have a significant impact on individual issues
- On foreign policy at least the UK remains a committed European - Despite its apparent disengagement from Europe, the UK is still a potent member of the “big three”, driving European foreign policy
- The Franco-German motor splutters abroad - In foreign policy Europe tends to rely upon broad coalitions of states, rarely involving both Paris and Berlin
The Scorecard examines 79 individual aspects of European foreign policy in six broad areas: relations with China, Russia, Wider Europe, Middle East/North Africa, and the US, and performance in multilateral institutions and in crisis management. The authors award grades for overall performance and label individual countries “Leaders” or “Slackers” depending on whether they lead or hinder Europe’s ability to achieve its interests on particular goals.
“A pioneering experiment in foreign policy analysis”Foreign Affairs
“An invaluable tool that expands our knowledge of EU foreign policy”Javier Solana
Click for audio podcast: Scorecard 2013 main findings
The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. This paper, like all publications of the European Council on Foreign Relations, represents only the views of its authors.