10. January 2012
Trade is said to be the European Union’s most powerful external policy domain: the EU has the largest internal market in the world, and this makes it an attractive destination for trade. Furthermore, trade is one of the few sectors where the EU can act as a single actor and where the debate among member states is somewhat limited. This also gives the EU substantial power – in the trade sector, but also through its trade. The EU today makes demands for the adaption of certain normative standards on its trading partners, with regard to, for instance, human rights. The EU is able to include such conditions in trade agreements because of the unequal power relations between the EU and many of its developing country trading partners.
09. January 2012
Unfortunately, speaking on the national level, we arrived late again. We are late with making the decision, with acts, and with motives. It seems that people in Serbia are still puzzled with one original question – What kind of EU do we want?
06. January 2012
As Saint Mother Theresa has claimed – a man is actually nothing more than the way in which he is perceived. This phrase gives multiple choices for defining just one human being. How then, can Europe, an ancient geographic entity in historical terms and an active political player in modern times, possibly be defined? Maybe with regard to the emotions that it provokes? But is this the right approach? Is there a common emotion? Are the feelings towards Europe the same even within one nation? Is it likely that a Polish businessman, having a few joint ventures all around the EU countries, on the free market (EU invention) and stocks on the relevant markets, and a Polish plumber (acting on the free labor market, which appears to be not so free when it comes to the fulfillment of all of the procedural tasks for the EU citizens residing in another country) will perceive Europe equally? Unfortunately, I doubt it.
31. December 2011
I am on the Eurostar, travelling between my new-found home in London and my place of birth in Belgium. As the train runs smoothly in its tracks, a quintessentially British landscape unfolds beneath the skies where the RAF and the Luftwaffe tore the Old Europe apart 70 years ago. None of the devastating slaughter of that time has been repeated since then, at least not on this continent. The European Union prides itself in having created the first era of peace in a tremendously long time and perhaps rightly so. Yet it seems that decades of welfare, interaction and integration still haven’t provided a foundation on which Europe’s half a billion citizens can truly rely. Even the once so evident concept of democracy is barely managing to maintain its grip as the economic crisis tears through our societies.
23. December 2011
The crisis has clearly shown us that Europe needs strong leadership. Sometimes it seems as though the European Union is incapable of acting together. The integrated European Union is empowered to act on the global scene. In times of crisis it is crucial to show the world that Europe can speak with one voice. As Helga Maria Schmid noted at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum, which took place on 29 November: we have to think global and be united. Prof. Yiwei Wang of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University supported this statement, saying that China cannot deal separately with 27 European embassies in Beijing. In his words: if we had a single united representation it would make us stronger in the multipolar world.