ECFR’s European Foreign Policy Scorecard 2012

Dear colleague,

The European Council on Foreign Relations is delighted to share with you our latest publication, ECFR’s European Foreign Policy Scorecard 2012.

The second annual edition of ECFR’s groundbreaking ‘European Foreign Policy Scorecard’ suggests that Europe is now a problem for the economic prospects of the rest of the world, rather than part of a solution to the world’s problems.

ECFR’s Scorecard assesses the EU’s performance on the global stage across all 27 states, in 6 issues broken down into 80 specific areas. It details the impacts of the euro crisis, the Arab Awakening, Germany’s growing leadership role and other issues on Europe’s global influence and its effectiveness in pursuing its interests.

  • The euro crisis has led to a severe loss in soft power. In last year’s ECFR Scorecard we noted that Europe was distracted by the crisis; this year it was diminished by it. The EU is seen as less attractive to those wanting to join or to copy its multinational model.
  • The crisis also limited Europe’s ability to react to the Arab Awakening – arguably the most important geopolitical event in its neighbourhood since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
  • In the past Germany often deferred to France and Britain on foreign policy issues, but ECFR’s Scorecard now classifies it as a ‘leader’ in more areas than any other country. It was also classified as a ‘slacker’ on several – including Libya – indicating that it increasingly follows its own national interests.
  • New foreign policy leaders are now emergingSweden was a ‘leader’ in 11 areas (more than Spain and Italy combined), and Poland was a ‘leader’ in 8.

The key findings in the six areas of ECFR’s Scorecard were:

  • China (overall grade ‘C’) - Europe hoped to strengthen its approach to China in 2011, but Europe’s crisis turned into China’s opportunity, with European nations fighting each for Chinese markets, investments and cash.
  • Middle East and North Africa (C+) – The Arab Awakening took everybody by surprise, but EU member states have so far failed to deliver on the promised ‘money, markets and mobility’. Libya highlighted some European divisions, and EU leaders have not yet developed a long term approach to the region.
  • Russia (C+) – The EU achieved an impressive degree of unity when dealing with Moscow, and there were concrete results in areas like trade. The impending return of Vladimir Putin, however, is ending a period of wishful thinking over its engagement with Russia.
  • United States (B-) – The US ‘leadership from behind’ in Libya showed that some European countries could play a dynamic international role and cooperate with the US. But it also revealed serious shortcomings in European capabilities, as the US starts pursuing its Asia First strategy at the expense of interest in Europe.
  • Wider Europe (C+) – The EU achieved progress on issues such as enlargement in the Western Balkans, but relations with key regional player Turkey were (again) deeply troubled. There were only limited results in relations with Eastern Partnership countries.
  • Multilateral issues and crisis management (B) – Securing a legally binding deal on reducing carbon emissions at Durban was one of several qualified European successes. But the efforts to stabilise the euro zone overshadowed these, for instance in the troubled G20 summit in Cannes.

Click here for PDF downloads of ECFR’s European Foreign Policy Scorecard 2012

Click here to visit an interactive internet version of the Scorecard on ECFR’s website

Click here for audio interviews with the Scorecard’s authors in English, French and German

We welcome your feedback on our work. Please address your reactions and thoughts to authors Hans Kundnani and Justin Vaisse

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