The year ahead will be critical in determining the European Union’s standing on the global stage. The EU remains a potent international actor despite the damage to its reputation caused by the Eurozone crisis and intra-European squabbling over the best recipe for economic revival. There is no room for complacency, however. In a rapidly-changing world, as the United States reassesses its multiple foreign commitments and emerging nations, including China and India, compete for power and influence, the EU must constantly renew its foreign policy credentials or face irrelevance. A stronger commitment to building a truly European common defence and security policy is also necessary.

This paper includes three contributions written by Vivien Pertusot (Ifri: Institut Français de Relations Internationales), Shada Islam (Friends of Europe), Ronja Kempin and Ronja Scheler (SWP: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik) on the key challenges facing “Global Europe” in 2014. The contributions take up the key debates that have already been on the EU’s foreign policy agenda in the past, but should continue to rank high on it in 2014. For one, the momentum of the December summit on the European Security and Defence Policy must be sustained and translated into political action. Especially as the engagement with these policies lay idle over the past months, some new impetus is highly necessary. Secondly, the relations of the EU with one of the most dynamic regions of the world, namely Asia, must be revised. Although 2013 saw a considerable improvement in EU-Asia relations, 2 the Union so far lacks a comprehensive strategy for dealing with its partners. The third chapter then turns the spotlight on the underlying institutional challenges that EU foreign policy faces. It maintains that the European Parliament elections as well as the appointment of some new ‘head figures’ in 2014 provide an opportunity to address some fundamental challenges of the Union’s external performance.

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