EU 2023: new unity, new leading roles?
Russia’s war has led to major shifts in Europe. Dependence on Russian energy sources has been reduced and sanctions have drastically reduced economic ties with Russia. The issues of security and defence have moved sharply into focus — displacing climate protection and trade. The countries that are setting the tone have also changed.
Not just an economic heavyweight now
The EU has changed drastically as a result of the war in Ukraine, De Volkskrant comments:
“The speed with which taboos — defence is a national issue, energy security is a national issue — have been swept away is incredible. Europe as a geopolitical player is no longer a pipe dream of French President Emmanuel Macron or a slogan from the political programme of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, it is an imposed necessity. ... The question is: how permanent are these changes? Member states have a tendency to sit back when the worst of the crisis is over.”
eldiario.es sees far-reaching political shifts both within Europe and globally:
“The West is more united, but at the same time more alone. ... Most of the Global South, while condemning Russian aggression, has not followed the Western sanctions and sees the war as a conflict between European imperialists. ... And this dissociation worries the West. ... Europe has made progress in its integration despite Hungary. Its geopolitical instincts have awakened. ... In view of the ailing Franco-German axis, a new geopolitical axis has emerged within the EU, with Poland at its centre.”