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Europe’s path to strategic recovery: Brace, empower and engage

Global Governance / DISCUSSION PAPER
Giovanni Grevi

Date: 21/04/2020
EU leaders should rise to the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and set the Union on the course of not only economic, but fully-fledged strategic recovery. This means strengthening Europe’s cohesion and resilience; leveraging Europe’s untapped potential to carry its full weight on the global stage; and engaging in upholding rules-based cooperation. If Europe fails to measure up to the task, the EU will drift towards more political fragmentation and strategic dependence.


The health crisis has not only heightened but also highlighted Europe’s vulnerability to global challenges and disorder. The pandemic risks amplifying geopolitical competition, which is undermining multilateral cooperation at a time when sound management of our interdependence is crucial. 

Under such conditions, the dysfunction of the global order may lead to irretrievable system failure, with dire consequences for all. Europeans should not only craft a decisive response to the pandemic but also use it as a springboard to reinforce the EU and its domestic power base on the global stage. The EU and its member states must prepare to cope with power politics without endorsing its logic. They should become more strategic and, where need be, more autonomous.
Discussion on a recovery fund should not be limited to the financial dimension, but instead thought of in terms of ‘grand strategy’. Socioeconomic recovery is the fuel of political cohesion, which in turn is the engine of a stronger Europe in the world. A more powerful Europe is the only vehicle geared to protect EU citizens from the many external challenges and project Europe’s interests on the global stage.

Read the full paper here
Photo credits:
Hauke-Christian Dittrich / dpa / AFP

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