“What role for the EU in the world? Towards EU leadership based on values”, Stef Borgers and Raphaël Kokkelmans (College of Europe, Bruges)

In October 2021, the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched a national consultation process on the role the EU should play in the world, inviting European citizens to evaluate the Union’s foreign policy and reflect on its future. This policy brief contributes to that discussion. In striving for a different role in a rapidly changing world, the EU should practise what it preaches by addressing the largely undefined and ineffectively applied values underpinning its external action. Beyond addressing internal challenges, the EU should also look at how it can continue to translate its capacity to exercise leadership in the world into a foreign policy that systematically uses its foundational values to advance its interests. In this respect, the EU should utilise its values as a counter-narrative against actors challenging them. This should be done by embedding EU values in human rights instruments and targeting like-minded partners around the world. Special attention should go to the EU’s neighbourhood. A less incoherent and more value-based EU global leadership must be underpinned by an effective decision-making process. Use should therefore be made of the passerelle clause provided by article 31(3) TEU enabling the extension of qualified majority voting to foreign affairs matters.

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