Nov 30, 2011

EU ambassadors listen to HvR this is a link to the speech Herman van Rompuy gave to the conference of heads of delegations of the EU delegations. It is a very interesting speech and one that defines important aspects of European foreign policy.

Still I would like to share my view that on an general basis it is the EU's best tool (or weapon) what the President of the European Council refers back to time to time the economic power that the EU represents being the world's largest economy. He mentioned this in connection with Russia and the Eastern policy of the Union as well as in connection with the shift to the Pacific area. More interestingly when speaking of the BRICS he mentioned that it would be important to engage these countries in other global issues. In connection to that and to the economic power being the strongest tool in the hands of the EU I believe that the EU should in fact start showing a lead on the international scene in public diplomacy (that is also in front of tv cameras) in certain issues. We know for a fact that some EU Member States are leaders in issues such as climate change (mentioned by HvR) so probably as a stronghold the common foreign policy of the EU should be agressive enough to label global issues as European initiatives, which is of course a step necessary for the EU to be seen as a strong actor and not as an actor whose currency might fall apart and whose direction towards coherence can be questionable.

I have seen a very good exampl of this and a very natural one in UNESCO where the EU and its Member States play a very important and active role. Here the EU is the only non-state party to the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions this is a great example of a European issue which can be strongly expressed on a global international level. I think more of this is needed for international actors and simply for the global view to change on the EU from a large economy to a real actor. The job has begun and I must agree with HvR that the work in the past two years has been enorm and the development is significant despite or thanks to major global happenings forming the foreign policy agenda (economic crisis, Arab spring, natural disasters). 

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