It is still an open question, whether EU is a global power or not.  The determination of it lays inside the foreign policy, transatlantic relations, economics and the enlargement process. The fast development that occurred in the last 30 years slowed down due to the economic crisis. Just 4 years later when 10 countries joined European Union, which was the biggest enlargement event in the whole EU history. The 2008 was a challenge for the union to show that it is strong enough to survive the global financial downfall and escape the “black hole”. However the rise of Chinese economy, that can not be explained by any of the economic theories, did not benefit Europe. The creation of new completely new market world leaves EU a little bit behind it’s goals and deadlines.


The will of EU to act globally leads to the decision of enlargement. Unfortunately, the unstable economic and political situation does not allow this to happen successfully. EU is suffering from the so-called “enlargement fatigue” and new members will not benefit the union as a whole. However the enlargement process is  quite important as it is promoting peace and prevention of organised crime. Since after WWII, when EU created a Coal and Steal community, until now they have their own defence policy. However, NATO is still play a big role in EU’s events and also benefits it.

EU has never been a military power, but more a normative. It is promoting the civilian power, highlighting the human rights. As Smith K. stated in ”Beyond the Civilian Power Debate” : civilian power is an actor which uses civilian means for persuasion, to pursue civilian ends, and!
whose foreign policy-making process is subject to democratic control or public scrutiny.”
EU’s close cooperation with WTO shows that the union is a global actor, however very often EU is aiming for cooperation with further countries, when their neighbourhood is struggling. This is the main issue that probably does not allow EU to expand more than it is now.

But… the transatlantic relations with America makes it easier for European Union to get on board of economic development. USA and EU depend on each other as they are both investors into each other markets. In 2008, when the crisis started, EU and USA cooperatively created a High Level Working Group to do not affect their exports and imports. Also, the negotiations of 2013 about TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) will be beneficial for both sides. However, once again, looking at the latests events, EU aimed for countries that are further away and did not improve their relations with Russia which now  suffering from due to sanctions.

Returning to the topic question it can be said that EU does not have a one common power and is split for now. Only due to Union’s youth and maybe lack of some experience. However it is definitely one of the promising “creatures” in the temporary world and fast development soon can turn into global power that can control more than it is now.

Julija Savela


•Blockmans,S. (2012) The Prize is more peace: The EU should consolidate its enlargement process . Accessed Online: Last Access: 8th December 2014

• A Secure Europe in a Better World , European Security Strategy. Accessed Online: Last Accessed: 8th December 2014

•Smith, K. (2005), “Beyond The Civilian Power Debate”

Peterson, J.(2005) Trade and Transatlantic Relations: New Dogs Old Tricks. Online Access: Last Accessed: 8th December 2014

•Zaborowski, M., (2006), “EU as a global power”


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