A Most Lonely Union

Henry Farrel, Foreign Policy

Photo by Sandro Cenni on Unsplash
Photo by Sandro Cenni on Unsplash

In September 2019, two months before officially taking office, the new European Commission president was already insisting that the European Union needed to change. On the one hand, Ursula von der Leyen promised a new “geopolitical Commission,” but on the other, she wanted the EU “to be the guardian of multilateralism.” The difficult question was left unstated: How exactly is the EU supposed to reconcile the great-power maneuvering of geopolitics with the more level playing field of multilateralism?

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