EU, towards a new ” “world order?

The new European Commission will have to face a developing international scenario. But the premises are good " "

In August, Canadian political expert and writer, Michael Ignatieff, in an article for the “New York Review of Books” presented his vision of the new world order. Accordingly, it is marked by a twofold confrontation of the Western bloc around a central nucleus formed by the United States and the European Union (EU), with capitalistic, authoritarian regimes like Russia and China on the one side, and Islamic extremism on the other. It’s interesting to evaluate the Commissioners-designate for External Relations against this backdrop. And preliminary assessments appear positive. Notwithstanding the indispensable need of muscular resistance against the progress of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Ignatieff recommends that the Western bloc avoid a climate of rage and return to the precepts of autarchy, that would put an end to globalization. He argues: “the only world order capable of preserving peace is a pluralist order that accepts open or closed societies, authoritarian and free”. However, in this new geopolitical scenario the Western bloc would have to face its democratic malfunctions. As for the United States, deeply divided on both fronts, they will have to rebuild their nation, limiting the power of money to electoral competitions while Europeans’ challenge will be that of creating an authentic community of States where populations have confidence in the EU institutions’ ability to organize a large common market, and to run an economic and monetary union through a central bank and a European common Treasury. Only on that condition would Europe have a significant role in the new era through a credible foreign and common security policy. There is not much time left to get there and the President-designate of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker is well aware of it when he mentions the Commission’s “last chance”. From this perspective the hearings of the future members of the Commission, that ended on October 20, have been rather encouraging – at least as regards the candidates examined for the positions of external relations, who managed to convince MEPs and external observers with their competence and enthusiasm. Cecilia Malmström, Swedish liberal, pledged to commit herself for increased transparency in trading negotiations, including the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the EU-US free trade treaty), while abiding to the principle of freedom of trade. Johannes Hahn, (Austria), who like Malmström was already on José Manuel Barroso’s team, will be in charge of the portfolio regulating EU enlargement and neighborhood policies. While fully subscribing to Juncker’s announcement of no further enlargements in the European Union in the next five years, Hahn did not conceal his ambition to push ahead the adhesion process with candidate Countries. As regards Ukraine, Hahn remarked that if the Ukrainian population wished so, their request of drawing closer to the EU should not be forever rejected. Neven Mimica, (Croatia), diplomatic expert, is expected to inherit the post of commissioner for international cooperation and development. He pledged to provide a leadership role in the EU as regards negotiations on post-2015 global development framework. His second priority will be the revision of the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and ACP Countries (Africa, the Caribbean, Pacific). Christos Stylianides, from Cyprus, proposed by Juncker for the post of humanitarian aid and crisis management, conveyed to MEPs his enthusiasm for a portfolio “at the heart of universal values” that cannot be sacrificed on the altar of budgetary savings. The highlight of his mandate will be the first humanitarian global summit in Istanbul in 2016. Finally, Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, subjected to numerous questions after the announcement of her candidacy to the post of High Representative of the EU for Foreign Policy and Common Security, convinced her interlocutors with her determination and knowledge of the dossiers. In her opinion, Russia is no longer a “partner”, although it remains a strategic Country and a neighbour”. Mogherini then underlined the need to “stop the Islamic State, that is not a State, it’s not Islam: it’s a serious global threat”. One of her first strategic assignments will be the compilation of a report for the European Council of June 2015, due to debate a new European security strategy. The last one, dating back to 2003, had not yet acknowledged the new world order of which Michael Ignatieff has just provided an outline.

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