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Reinventing the European Union

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and new economic imperatives have called into question the EU’s long-standing reliance on regulatory standards as a form of soft power. To survive in a world where autocrats increasingly flout the rules governing the international order, the EU's member states must find a new route to integration.

PARIS – Tectonic changes in the global system are forcing all countries to redefine their strategic outlooks and growth models. But while changes are affecting every country, the European Union faces a far more serious challenge that could put its very existence at risk.

This is not the first time that the EU has found itself at a crossroads. Global crises tend to throw the bloc into an existential spiral that calls into question its priorities, structure, and purpose. Whether Europe remains a major global player depends on its response to an unprecedented confluence of emergencies. The most prominent is undoubtedly the war in Ukraine, which has provided a stark reminder that the EU must develop its own security identity to defend its borders.

But other issues are equally pressing. The escalating rivalry between the United States and China is redrawing the map of global power. As the world increasingly divides into competing blocs, Europe must decide whether to align itself entirely with the US or retain a modicum of policy autonomy.