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 10: External perceptions of the EU: obstacle or asset in the fight against global imbalances?

Ole Elgström

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


The European Union’s capacity for leadership is not just decided by the EU itself. It is also affected by the perceptions of other actors regarding the EU’s role, and by their reactions to its initiatives. The same can be said of the Union’s influence in the international arena, including its capacity to do something about global imbalances. Is the EU perceived as a legitimate actor that has something valuable to contribute? Are its promises seen as credible? Are its policies and actions perceived as coherent? In the coming years, the EU will face international negotiations in a number of important areas, and the result will shape the global governance structures of the future. For example, new efforts will be necessary if a free trade agreement within the World Trade Organization is to be saved; attempts will have to be made to set global rules to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases; and renewed initiatives must be taken to get the EU’s partners in the developing world to implement the partnership agreements they have signed up to. In all of these cases, the perceptions of outsiders will be key to the Union’s impact on the outcome.

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