It’s not just in Europe that the EU faces many challenges. On a global scale it will have to find ways to successfully work together with its international partners such as the US, Russia and China. The results will affect anything from the economy to fighting terrorism. Read on to find out what the Parliament’s experts on foreign relations believe the challenges and opportunities to be in 2014.
Elmar Brok (EPP Germany), chair of the foreign affairs committee
As the twenty-first century unfolds, the EU faces various complexities in today's multipolar world. To remain true to its European values and its stated objective of shaping a better world, the EU must be aware of the individual challenges and opportunities in the strategic partnerships - especially with its main partners as the US, China or Russia. For 2014 this means that the EU must continue to prove its role as a world power in the international arena on a par with others which requires a strong will of the member states to speak with one voice!
Christian Ehler (EPP, Germany), chair of the delegation for relations with the United States
The main challenges and opportunities in our relations with the US in 2014 are rebuilding the trust between Europe and America, strengthening the partnership through dialogue and new project such as the transatlantic trade and investment partnership, and remembering common values, goals and collective liability.
Knut Fleckenstein (S&D, Germany), chair of the delegation to the EU-Russia parliamentary cooperation committee
The EU cannot accept that a country that wants to be its strategic partner exerts political and economic pressure on other countries that are willing to cooperate with the EU. However, over the last months, Russia has used in various ways economic and political tools to put under pressure some of the EU's Eastern neighbours like Armenia, Ukraine and Moldova.
The main challenge in EU-Russia relations will be to continue working on common objectives while effectively addressing the current stumbling blocks.
Crescenzio Rivellini (EPP, Italy), chair of the delegation for relations with China
China – along with the EU – is at an important juncture. The EU is gradually emerging from the sovereign debt crisis and is undertaking important structural reforms, while in China the growth model is showing increasing strains and the Chinese leadership has itself highlighted the need for further reform. The EU-China partnership is essential to growth and prosperity on both sides and the two should take a long-term approach to enhance their ties.