For many months now, the European Union (EU) has been the butt of all criticism. The hopes of seeing the EU make its presence felt on the international scene – hopes born of the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009 – have been dashed. The EU has lost its way; it is incapable of asserting itself and making its voice heard. This is a context that leads Bastien Nivet to raise the question the relevance of the Union as a decision-making instance and to problematize its contribution in the conduct of foreign affairs.
In doing so, he bases himself on two notions, globalization and global governance, which, though “overused” and widely “controversial”, as he notes, remain very useful for grasping the current conjuncture. Widening his thinking on the European political system to international political action, Nivet shows, in fact, how the EU could have – and still might – become a decisive player at the global level.
“In an international system seeking coherence between what can be decided on a global scale, what can be decided at continent or state level, and the consideration of local realities, the EU has solid political and institutional experience on which to draw,” he stresses, before turning, in the light of this remark, to the reasons why it has been eclipsed. Is that eclipse temporary and accidental, he asks, or the symptom of a deeper malaise?