Europe's Foreign Policy: Emerging from the Crisis
The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and the Brookings Institution recently released the 2013 edition of the European Foreign Policy Scorecard, an annual assessment of Europe’s performance in dealing with the rest of the world, in particular China, Russia, the U.S. and the Middle East. The systematic report, conducted by a team of more than 35 researchers, has been described by Foreign Affairs as “a pioneering experiment in foreign policy analysis.” In spite of the euro crisis, this edition of the Scorecard shows timid signs of stabilization and even resilience in Europe’s foreign policy over the last year. From greater assertiveness vis-à-vis Russia on energy issues to the slow but steady development of the European External Action Service, Europe fared better externally than internally. Massive challenges remain, however, before Europe reaches the role it aspires to, and its internal divisions—including a possible exit by the United Kingdom—put these results in question for the future.
On February 12, the Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) at Brookings and the Heinrich Boell Foundation hosted a discussion of the results of the latest Scorecard and Europe’s place in the world. Panelists included Kristen Silverberg, former U.S. ambassador to the European Union; Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations; and Ana Palacio, former foreign minister of Spain. Senior Fellow Justin Vaïsse, CUSE director of research, presented the findings. Senior Fellow Fiona Hill, director of CUSE, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.
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[The resignation of assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs Wess Mitchell] is surprising news, which seems to have caught everyone off guard. He doesn’t appear to have shared this news with his ambassadors, who were in Washington last week for a global chiefs of mission conference. His deputy is also slated to retire soon, which raises question of near term leadership on European policy at a time of challenges there.
[Wess] Mitchell was a strong supporter of NATO, particularly in Eastern Europe where he will be sorely missed. His departure comes follows the resignation of senior Pentagon officials – Robert Karem and Tom Goffus – working on NATO along with Secretary Mattis. Without this pro-alliance caucus, NATO is now more vulnerable than at any time since the beginning of the Trump administration.