•      Thu Feb 29 2024

The EU shouldn’t entrap itself in a geopolitical game

The European Union (EU) has evolved from a regional economic bloc to a significant player in international relations. Advocating for a balanced role in promoting global governance and international order has been integral to its identity. The EU’s commitment to multilateralism and diplomacy has been highlighted throughout history, showcasing its efforts to foster stability and cooperation on the global stage. But sometime, it faced criticism on being loyal on parochial interests of the US.

One historical example of the EU’s commitment to promoting international order is its role in the aftermath of the Cold War. As the Iron Curtain fell, Eastern European countries sought to break away from the Soviet sphere of influence. The EU played a crucial role in facilitating the peaceful transition of these countries towards political change and market economies. Through initiatives like the European Neighborhood Policy and enlargement processes, the EU promoted stability and liberal values in the region, contributing to a more unified and peaceful Europe.

Moreover, the EU has been actively engaged in addressing global challenges, such as climate change. The Paris Agreement stands as a testament to the EU’s commitment to combating climate change through multilateral cooperation. By taking a leading role in negotiations and advocating for ambitious climate goals, the EU has demonstrated its commitment to global governance and sustainable development, fostering an international order that prioritizes environmental protection and cooperation.

In matters of trade and economic governance, the EU has been an advocate for rules-based systems. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an essential platform for international trade, and the EU has consistently supported its principles. By engaging in negotiations and disputes within the framework of the WTO, the EU has contributed to maintaining a fair and predictable global trade environment, promoting economic stability and growth worldwide.

Humanitarian efforts also underscore the EU’s commitment to promoting international order. The refugee crisis in the early 2010s, stemming from conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, tested the EU’s ability to manage humanitarian challenges. Despite internal disagreements and difficulties, the EU engaged in dialogue and collaboration with neighboring countries and international organizations to address the crisis, reflecting its commitment to upholding human rights and international solidarity.

The EU’s involvement in peacekeeping and conflict resolution demonstrates its dedication to global governance. The EU has deployed civilian and military missions to conflict zones, such as the Balkans and Africa, aiming to restore stability, support peace processes, and strengthen institutions. These efforts contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security, aligning with the EU’s commitment to upholding the principles of the United Nations.

However, the EU faces challenges in maintaining a balanced role in promoting international order. Internal differences among member states and external pressures often hinder the EU’s ability to act cohesively on the global stage. Conflicting national interests and divergent foreign policy approaches sometimes impede the EU from presenting a unified front in addressing global issues, limiting its effectiveness in promoting global governance.

For the European Union (EU) to effectively navigate the complexities of great power rivalries and contribute positively to global peace and progress, several strategies and approaches can be considered:

Uphold and reinforce the importance of multilateral institutions like the United Nations, World Trade Organization, and other global forums. By actively engaging and strengthening these platforms, the EU can contribute to a rules-based international order that mitigates the influence of unilateral power plays. Prioritize dialogue and diplomatic solutions in conflict resolution efforts. Emphasize mediation and negotiation to de-escalate tensions and resolve conflicts, emphasizing peaceful resolutions over aggressive posturing.

Lead by example in combating climate change and promoting sustainable development. By setting ambitious targets, investing in green technologies, and supporting developing nations in their sustainability efforts, the EU can contribute significantly to global stability and progress. Develop strategic autonomy in key areas without isolationism. Build resilience in critical sectors like security, technology, and economy to reduce dependency on external powers while remaining open to collaboration.

By implementing these strategies, the EU can navigate great power rivalries, uphold its principles, and proactively contribute to global peace and progress, serving as a model for effective multilateralism and cooperation in an increasingly complex world. An exemplary instance of the EU’s autonomous approach is its stance on the Iran nuclear deal. When the US withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran, the EU remained committed to the agreement. Despite US pressure to follow suit and withdraw from the deal, the EU continued to work on sustaining the JCPOA, highlighting its determination to pursue peace and stability in the Middle East through its independent diplomatic efforts.

The EU’s position on climate change provides another illustration of its independence from US influence. Despite the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the EU reaffirmed its commitment to the accord and accelerated efforts to combat climate change. By setting ambitious climate goals, implementing policies to reduce emissions, and engaging with other countries to enhance global cooperation on environmental issues, the EU demonstrated its capacity to pursue a global agenda for sustainability independently.

In matters of trade and economic policies, the EU has sometimes diverged from US interests to assert its independent stance. Disputes over trade tariffs and regulations have led to instances where the EU has pursued its trade strategies and defended its economic interests, irrespective of US pressures. Through negotiations and engagement with other global partners, the EU has shown its willingness to uphold its principles and objectives in trade, prioritizing its own economic agenda while working toward a more equitable global trade system.

In conclusion, the EU’s ability to work independently from US pressures and interference is evident in various spheres, from diplomacy and climate action to trade and economic policies. By pursuing its own initiatives and maintaining a principled stance on critical global issues, the EU asserts its commitment to fostering global peace and order based on its values and interests, even when diverging from US positions. Nepal