16 Jul 2020

STRATEGIC TRENDS (2): The European Union’s role in the post-pandemic world

Dr. Stephen Blackwell

Abstract

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a severe impact on the member states of the European Union (EU). In addition to the health impact, the Union’s economies will fall into recession as a result of the lockdown and other measures taken to contain the virus. After an uncertain initial reaction, the EU’s main institutions have coordinated deliveries of medical aid and provided a substantial financial package to assist the recovery of the European economies. Nevertheless, the crisis poses many questions about the Union’s future role in the world. Based on a complex legal order, the EU’s external relations reflect the economic power of the world’s largest single market. However, although the Union has used trade to great effect in deals with third countries, the member states still have much to do to develop effective EU foreign and defense policies. Most crucially, the Union’s global strategy depends on maintaining the current multilateral order in cooperation with other great powers. The EU’s influence as an international actor also depends on the member states’ ability to maintain their cohesion and overcome the current crisis together.

covid_19 European Union

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Stephen Blackwell is an analyst, researcher, and writer with more than 20 years’ experience in roles across the think-tank, academic and media sectors. He is the author of a book entitled British Military Intervention and the Struggle for Jordan: King Hussein, Nasser, and the Middle East Crisis, 1955-1958, as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. He has also written for the opinion and news analysis sections of The National, Abu Dhabi’s first English language newspaper.

Dr. Blackwell previously worked as a Researcher at the Emirates Center of Strategic Studies and Research in Abu Dhabi. Before moving to the UAE, he was Head of the European Security Program at the Royal United Services Institute in London and Editor for Jane’s Sentinel Security Assessments. He has also lectured at University College London (UCL), and taught at the University of Aberystwyth, where he also completed his doctoral thesis on ‘Anglo-American Defense Policy in the Middle East, 1957-1962’.