Besides the United States the EU is the only grouping of nations able to project its influence worldwide. Despite the current crisis, the EU remains a global economic superpower with the highest GNP worldwide when the various GNP of its members are combined. In the foreseeable future this situation will be preserved, allowing the Union to generate financial surpluses which can be used to back its policy of global influence based on diverse forms of “civilian” power with a central position in various international networks and a significant role in international institutions. Indeed, the EU is the single largest financial contributor to the UN system: at the end of the 2010 decade the EU provided for 38% of the UN’s regular budget, for a significant amount of UN peacekeeping operations, and one -half of all UN member states’ contributions to UN funds and programs. EU member states are also signatories to almost all international treaties currently in force. In the last two decades, the EU has finalized the single market; established a single currency; created a zone without internal frontiers (“Schengen”); launched common defense, foreign and internal security policies; and expanded from twelve to 27 members. These are very positive developments in a globalised world where cooperation in trade, social development, environment preservation, etc. are the dominant value.
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French defence policy in a time of uncertainties
Note de la FRS n°04/2013
Yves Boyer, January 30, 2013