Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate: European progress still faces challenges in retaining power

ABU DHABI, The current challenges faced by Europe in terms of exerting power were discussed during a panel entitled Search for Power: Europe and the Longing for a Role on the first day of the Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate.

According to Dr. Jean-Marc Rickli, Head of Global Risk and Resilience at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and moderator of the session, European projects in the 1990s had a lot of optimism in terms of building a new government structure integrating Western and Eastern European countries.

“It peaked in 2004 and seems to have declined since because of the financial crisis and international relations where Europe has not been a very strong actor,” he said.

Sir Michael Leigh, Senior Fellow at The German Marshall Fund of the United States, mentioned that Brexit is one challenge the EU is facing at the moment. Brexit was said to have the most consequences for the UK but serious consequences for the EU as well. “We should not underestimate the impact of this for the EU,” he said.

“The main reality now is that the EU is facing many internal challenges and it must come to terms with these if it wishes to exercise a role in the world and to resume its claim to be a normative power that can influence others.”

He stressed that the loss of the UK to the EU should not be underestimated. “The idea that with the UK out, it will be much easier to pursue reforms, I take with a pinch of salt,” he expressed. “The UK is the second largest economy in the EU, and one of two member-states that is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, so it will have a significant impact on both sides.”

Source: Emirates News Agency