A more assertive EU in a volatile world

By Helga Maria Schmid Secretary General European External Action Service

The predictions made last year with regard to the growing importance of great power rivalries still rings in our ears.

What is more, our strategic environment grows ever more unpredictable. Today, major powers openly challenge the rules based international order and seek to promote alternative visions of a world divided into spheres of influence. Geopolitical rivalry stokes tensions and raises the alarm bell of a new “proliferation age” that risks escalating into inadvertent military confrontation. Climate change is becoming an existential threat while cyberspace and disinformation campaigns are the new weapons of the 21st century

For the European Union, the answer is clear: these challenges can only be tackled through a multilateral approach. Together we have the tools and the political weight to shape the future global order if we stay united. This is why instead of retreating from international cooperation and global partnerships, the EU is stepping up its commitment to address global challenges together with its partners: this is true for the Paris agreement on climate change, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on non-proliferation, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the EU’s strategy for connectivity between Asia and Europe or the reform of the WTO…..