The EU’s Role in Fighting Global Imbalances

The EU’s Role in Fighting Global Imbalances

Edited by Antonina Bakardjieva Engelbrekt, Moa Mårtensson, Lars Oxelheim and Thomas Persson

The EU’s Role in Fighting Global Imbalances looks at the role of the European Union in addressing some of the greatest challenges of our time: poverty, protectionism, climate change, and human trafficking. Contributions from ten leading scholars in the fields of economics, law, and political science provide in-depth analyses of three key dimensions of EU foreign policy, namely: the internal challenges facing the EU, as its 28 member countries struggle to coordinate their actions; the external challenges facing the EU on the global arena, in areas where global imbalances are particularly pervasive, and where measures taken by the Union can have an important impact; and the EU´s performance on the global arena, in the eyes of other key actors. Based on a broad and interdisciplinary understanding of the concept of global imbalances, this book argues that these challenges follow from pervasive global imbalances, which at root are economic, political, and legal in character.

Chapter 1: The EU and global imbalances

Antonina Bakardjieva Engelbrekt, Moa Mårtensson, Lars Oxelheim and Thomas Persson

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, public policy


When the Treaty of Maastricht took effect on 1 November 1993, it established a Common Foreign and Security Policy for the European Union (EU). The fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War had opened up new prospects for a uniting Europe to play a more important role in world affairs. With its economic strength and its core values of democracy and human rights, the EU has sought since then to promote peace and free trade, both in its immediate neighbourhood and in the rest of the world. With the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, the Union sought to strengthen its role in the international arena, among other things by creating the new position of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (see Chapter 2, this volume). The High Representative would be assisted in turn by a new foreign service, the European External Action Service (EEAS). After several years of serious economic crisis, however, the Union now faces a number of vital challenges in the world arena. Can the Union still be a constructive force in world politics? And if so, how ought it to proceed?