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Europe’s Foreign-Policy Resilience

RIGA – For decades, people have bemoaned the waning of Europe’s global political power. To add some precision to the debate, in 2010 we helped to write the European Council on Foreign Relations’ first Foreign Policy Scorecard. Back then, we wrote – rather mildly – that Europe had been “distracted” by the euro crisis. By the end of 2012, the crisis could be considered less acute. Nevertheless, European leaders have continued to devote more time and effort to financial and institutional questions than to geopolitical issues.

Europe’s image and soft power have undoubtedly continued to fade around the world (thought such a trend is difficult to quantify), while member states continue to cut defense and development budgets. The good news, however, is that European foreign policy has not unraveled in the crisis. Indeed, it has even shown some signs of progress.