Strategic interdependence: Europe’s new approach in a world of middle powers

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Series Details ECFR/513, Number 513
Publication Date October 2023
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The world is changing - and European governments are struggling to decide how to position themselves within it. Middle powers outside Europe are preparing for a fragmented, not a bipolar world, and approaching the emerging order with some confidence. The European Union (EU) can learn a great deal from their strategies.

The EU has a myriad of interdependencies with other powers and will never be totally self-sufficient. To protect its interests and values, it needs a foreign policy strategy that acknowledges this: strategic interdependence. The EU should anchor this approach in an understanding of where it needs partnerships – and the potential power it wields within them. It should prepare for political coexistence and competition, privilege de-risking over decoupling, and invest in key relationships rather than in defending the old order.

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