Protecting, promoting and projecting Europe's values and interests in the world

Briefing 11-09-2020

In its foreign policy, the European Union (EU) is committed to 'promoting its values and interests', which include democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law, pluralism, peace and security, and multilateralism. Worldwide, however, the values and interests that the EU stands for are under mounting pressure, pressure that the pandemic has further intensified. Growing strategic great power rivalry − witnessed in the 'extraterritorialisation' of US-China tensions, growing pressure on human rights, and the (strategic) undermining of multilateralism − have left something of a moral global leadership vacuum. The need to reinforce the protection, promotion and projection of the EU's values and interests in the world has thus become much more pressing. At the same time, attacks on democracy worldwide during the pandemic have sparked increased global public awareness about fundamental rights, equality and human dignity – values at the heart of the European project. In this sense, the pandemic could be a turning-point when the EU seizes the moment to protect, promote and project its values and visions for the common global good in the century ahead.