CIFE Executive Training

Geopolitical Challenges of the European Union: The Double-Edged Sword of Interdependence

A 'third way' for the EU is unlikely as long as the war in Ukraine continues or as long as Russia remains a hostile neighbour for the EU. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has led to a closing of ranks within the transatlantic alliance, and for both economic and political reasons, the EU will remain closely allied with the US for the foreseeable future. The US will continue to push EU member states to assume a higher level of responsibility (including financially) for European security, and another Trump presidency would dent the transatlantic relationship, but not enough to break it. 
Regarding the Conference on the Future of Europe, it depends whose expectations. The conference was a big, multinational brainstorming which produced many ideas. It's now up to the member states and EU institutions to take these forward. The treaty says "an ever closer Union" and some countries want more integration (mostly within the Euro zone, which, as a monetary union, remains subject to tensions as long as it is not complemented by a fiscal union - or solid fiscal harmonisation - and a political union). But for some countries, the level of integration that we currently have is already enough. 
Member states are roughly equally divided among those which favour amendments to the treaty and those which oppose it. In practice and in view of EU rules, this means that there will not be a treaty change. When only a few member states are against, it cannot happen. But tensions will remain, and they will increase if or when the Western Balkans as well as Moldova and Ukraine join the EU. Sooner or later, a decision will be necessary on whether there will be a Europe in concentric circles, with a small group of closely integrated countries in the middle, or a rather loose association of some 30 countries. Both could be difficult to manage.

Christian Manahl is an international civil servant with 30 years of experience in Africa, mostly dealing with political and security issues. He was the Political Director of MONUSCO, at the time the largest peacekeeping mission (2007-2010) and Deputy SRSG for Somalia (2011-12) and the EU Ambassador to Eritrea (2014-17) and Lesotho (2017-21). He is currently a Senior Policy Advisor in the Policy Planning and Strategic Foresight Division of the EEAS (European External Action Service). He holds a PhD in Communications, Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Vienna, a Diplôme d’études approfondies in History of Philosopy from the University of Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne and a Diploma from the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna.


Thursday 1 December 2022
1.00 to 2.30 pm (CET)


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