When the EU launched its Global Strategy in June 2016, it stated that “We need a stronger Europe. This is what our citizens deserve, this is what the wider world expects.” However, in an already fragile world, a range of challenges emerged like beads on a string: Brexit, the election of US President Trump, and the proliferation of authoritarianism, populism, and nationalism in the EUs immediate and wider neighbourhood. The protracted crises in Ukraine, Afghanistan, the Middle East, North Africa, the Sahel, and continuing uncertainties in the Balkans, are of no less concern. Together these events have led some to argue that the very liberal world order of free trade, international law, and multilateralism, is in decline. The obvious consequence is that it is becoming increasingly challenging for the EU to balance its autonomy and interests with those of other key stakeholders both on a national, regional and international level. In this evolving context of new internal and external challenges, what is the EU’s actual toolbox in delivering at home as well as abroad? Can the EU regain the trust of its citizens as well as those living in conflict areas whose rights it wishes to protect or promote? What role can the EU have in the transformation of its Eastern neighbours into peaceful and prosperous democracies? And what lies ahead for the relationship between the EU and other major powers such as Turkey? To highlight these crucial questions, we discuss findings from four, international and interdisciplinary H2020-funded research projects: EUNPACK, EU-STRAT, FEUTURE, and INFORM. The event is organized by EUNPACK and is part of the project’s final conference which will take place at CEPS 18-19 March 2019.
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