One World, One Europe

PARIS – G-8, G-5, G-20, G-2, G-3, and now the G-14 (the G-8 plus the G-5 plus Egypt): never have the “mathematics” of world order seemed more complex and confusing.

Kofi Annan, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the United Nations in 2005, attempted to adjust the multilateral institutions of our world to fit its new realities. It was a brave effort that came too soon. The Northern industrial world was not yet ready to recognize the new weight of the emerging powers and the need to strike a new balance between North and South, East and West.

Has the current financial and economic crisis, given its traumatic depth and the obvious responsibility of the United States as its source, created the necessary conditions and a more favourable climate for a major re-foundation of the multilateral institutions? It is too early to be confident that true change will come. What is certain is that a rebalancing between North and South must start with an honest and hard-headed look at Europe’s current status in our multilateral system.

Nowadays, there is both too much and too little Europe, or, to put it differently, too many European countries are represented in the world’s premier forums, with too many voices. But, in terms of weight and influence, there is not enough united Europe.