Testimony to the European Parliament, Committee on Foreign Affairs
Editor's note: On November 22, 2018, GMF's Bart Szewczyk testified in front the European Parliament, Committee on Foreign Affairs on EU-Russia political relations.
Dear Mister Chairman, Dear Madame Rapporteur, Dear Honorable Members of the Committee,
It is a great privilege and pleasure for me to be here, and I would like to thank you very much indeed for the opportunity.
I am an adviser at the European Political Strategy Centre, the European Commission’s in-house think tank, but the views expressed herein are mine and do not necessarily represent those of the Commission. I would like to focus my remarks on the medium-term challenge posed by Russia to Europe and the wider liberal order, and what strategy the EU and its member states should pursue. But first, let me take a step back and put EU-Russia relations in the wider geopolitical context.
Return of great power rivalry
The paradigmatic feature of today’s world disorder is increased great power competition. The rivalry between autocracy and democracy—once thought a thing of the past—is back again and reshaping the 21st century’s geostrategic landscape, after roughly a quarter of a century of “great power consensus.”
Indeed, since 1989, relations among Europe, the United States, China, and Russia were not only (mostly) peaceful and cooperative, but also aimed—at least by Western leaders—at a degree of political and economic convergence over time. In particular, Russia was viewed as an emerging democracy and even a potential candidate, around the turn of the century, for NATO membership.
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