Jonathan Fryer

The EU as a Global Player

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 23rd November, 2010

The President of Slovenia, Dr Danilo Turk, was the guest lecturer at an LSE event this evening, taking as his subject the EU as a Global Player: Reality or Illusion? I’ll be writing the event up at much greater length for Diplomat magazine, but a few coments are perhaps warranted earlier. Slovenia is definitely among the ‘good guys’ of the new EU intake of 2004. Indeed, it joined both the euro-zone and Schengen in 2007 and in January 2008 even assumed the Union’s presidency (very competently). But as the first of the former republics of Yugoslavia to join the EU, it inevitably has a particular vision of the Union’s future vocation. Dr Turk — who was a law professor and UN diplomat prior to his becoming Head of State — highlighted what for him is the primorial importance of the EU’s looking East: not just to taking the Western Balkans and Turkey into membership, when they have met the necessary conditions, but also maintaining positive relations with Ukraine and Russia. Of course, the EU is currently beset by the problems of the financial crisis in general and Ireland in particular, but that should not blind us to its global potential, he argued. That means championing our shared set of European values — including human rights — while not lecturing or being condescending to outside powers such as China. Probably the EU is over-respresented at present within the G20, but nonetheless, in the shifting geopolitics and economic balance in the world, the EU can and should be punching more at its natural weight.

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