Stanley's blog

We’re all small now

Jean Monnet in 1954 said: “our countries are too small for today’s world, particularly compared to Russia and America today and China and India tomorrow.”

Half a century later, this truth is obvious, and yet, the EU 27 still cannot get its foreign policy act together.

My colleague Max Kohnstamm, the last survivor of the nine Founding Fathers, puts it more starkly: “The EU consists of two groups of countries: those who know that they are small and those that do not know.”

As I have said on previous occasions, the egotism of Member State leaders stands in the way of the Union speaking with one voice. Paradoxically, the EU citizens in opinion polls want this to happen.

Hopefully, the new treaty will give impetus to this and will encourage public opinion to make itself heard.

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  1. I agree with your post but I think those people who do not have a global perspective will not understand this kind of thinking. Many Euroskeptics in smaller EU nations say that their country is too small within Europe and their causes will be sidelined if the EU will have a common voice. Small nations in the EU think that the common EU voice will have German or French pronounciaton. Those who feel inferior within the EU will be against a global EU voice.

  2. Congratulations for the very crisp view! Do you think the European Union is moving more towards supranationalism or towards intergovernamentalism with the new institutions envisaged in the future framework for foreign action (that is the President and Minister of Foreign Affairs)? Is the Commission, presumably the voice of the union, and not of member states, losing ground with these developments (as I assume the DGs and Commissioners for Enlargement and Foreign Affairs will be largely trumped by the two new institutions)?

  3. Antal makes a good point as to perception. The reality is that while France and Germany do have a bigger say, 21 out of 27 Member States are small. A strong Commission is also a guarantee for the smaller Member States.

    Waldo, France, Germany and the UK may have high GDPs and two a UNSC veto but what is their individual foreign policy influence and what would be their trade policy influence without the EU?

    Corina, you raise the €64 000 question. We’ll have to wait and see. Much will depend on the first President of the European Council and the High Representative for Foreign Policy.

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