The world economy has changed profoundly over recent years. The US–China conflict dominates today’s international stage. Given these shifts in the international economic system the EU is being forced to strengthen its own position in the world. A more autonomous foreign economic policy strategy will require not just an international component but a domestic one too. In three broad priority areas the EU has much potential for strengthening its global role. First, a broader and more effective EU trade policy and foreign investment strategy is needed, especially to manage relations with the US and China. Secondly, the past excessive dependence of European growth on external demand and trade surpluses should be reduced as it is a source of vulnerability. Thirdly, it will be necessary to reduce the Union’s widening technological gap with the US and China regarding the digital technologies of the fourth industrial revolution.
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