In January 2018, the elegant Bozar theatre in Brussels was the backdrop to a People’s Republic of China video montage of key historic events on the occasion of the Chinese New Year Gala. While a Chinese singer on stage belted out a patriotic song, a large screen behind her displayed an enormous Chinese flag flying in the wind followed by film footage of key milestones including China’s first nuclear detonation, admission into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the launching of its first aircraft carrier. Members of the audience, which included diplomats, European officials, and military representatives, collectively caught their breath while watching. It’s not that they were impressed, although they might have been. They were aghast. China’s military might, growing economic power and technological advances, have served as a wake-up call to many policymakers in Europe. Brussels’ rather outdated “missionary” narrative of helping to shape and influence China according to their policy preferences was clearly not how the future was going to unfold.
China’s recent policy paper on the European Union shows that the country continues to recognize the EU as an important partner in many fields. A new, distressing element is that China has toughened its demands towards the EU to respect its core interests and to refrain from meddling in its internal affairs.
This article was originally published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) on 2 January 2018.
A European Security Council (ESC) would – so the German government has suggested – make the European Union (EU) better prepared for making decisions about international politics and thus better able to act. It believes that if the EU and its member states do not manage to take and implement coherent decisions more quickly, their ability to (further) enforce European rules and strengthen multilateral formats will be weakened. The EU-27’s diplomatic, financial and military resources should therefore be supplemented by a format for more effective intergovernmental cooperation. However, this idea can only take shape if the German government can demonstrate the added value of such a body, and if it shows more willingness itself to shape foreign policy within the EU framework.
Top ten trends that will occupy European foreign policymakers in 2019
It’s a new year and thus a new opportunity to predict the big events and trends that will shake the world in 2019. We want to get this in early, so you have time to forget what we said by the end of the year.
However, lest you think that we have completely forgotten the recently deceased 2018, we have responded to the demands of
the intellectual harpies our trusted ECFR colleagues and graded ourselves on last year’s predictions. With our usual combination of feigned humility and self-delusion, we eked out a score of 7.5 out of 10.
This graphic of the week lists the various international peacekeeping missions currently taking place in Mali and Somalia. To find out more about what political and operational challenges these peacekeeping missions face, see here. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on defense policy, click here.