What does the EU lack to be a global player like the USA or China?

(Data: Worldbank; howmuch.net)

EU clearly needs more self-confidence and internal loyalty, despite the member nation state nature, in order to lead the world with its positives values. Sharing my daughter Jennifer’s concise essay for Sigmund Freud University of Law which the professor found “impressive.”

“Global player” refers to a “worldwide actor,” participant in global politics in all or several important dimensions of interest assertion. In reality, the economic plays an important role here, as does the assertion of interests in foreign geographies, including by military means, including cyber and intelligence. It is about global power projection capability. A state’s position as a nuclear power still has meaning.

A true global player is very well positioned in worldwide cmparison and one of the leaders in a majority of sectors, in the mix of the different sectors. At the same time, there are sectoral global players.

What makes the U.S. and China global players?

The U.S. has been by far the leading global player since the end of the Cold War. They have used this long period to extend their influence, system, ideology, trade space and legal reach across the globe, supported by hegemony in life style and (entertainment) culture. In recent years, especially under Trumpism, the U.S. has moved in an opposite direction, toward compartmentalization and crass egoism, directed also against the global interest. What global role the U.S. will play under Biden remains to be seen.

Since joining the World Trade Organization, China has played a decisive role in determining the global market. Trade is flourishing and Chinese companies are investing worldwide, shipping goods all over the world. The communist regime has replaced the United States as the promoter of free world trade. Nevertheless, China still lags behind economically despite rapid catch-up.

Is it fair to compare the EU with the U.S. and China as world power factors?

As a supranational organization, the European Union differs significantly from the two leading world powers in many respects. It is precisely a confederation of states with – especially in power politics – sovereign nation states, not a federal state, not the “United States of Europe” and or a regime, both of which are operationally managed extremely centrally. The states of Europe, the birthplace of the nation-state, will hardly ever be imaginable with any other model. The member states are extremely diverse, including in terms of their history, world power political orientation and (active) role.

So what does the EU lack to be a world power like the U.S. or China?

As shown above, a great deal.

The EU is rooted in a democratic peace model from the tragic experiences of the first half of the 20th century. This essence alone contradicts the hard orientation towards the role of a world power. Accordingly, the EU does not pursue an active foreign, global power policy. On the one hand, several large member states consider themselves global players and act as nuclear powers with foreign interests; on the other hand, the EU as an organization lacks indispensable elements for world power aspirations. These include, despite the young CFSP and EDA, military structural and operational assets. Among the member states are NATO members as well as neutral countries.

Out of and beyond the idea of peace, the EU is first and foremost an economic world power. It is also a further development of the first ECSC free trade area, which removed barriers between states. The issues, objectives and policy areas on which it is focused correspond to this fact. World power politics and military strength are not among them. EU imports and exports or the euro, on the other hand, play a global role. The single market works.

The EU certainly is a global player – with a special role

However, it must be noted that the EU is very much a global player – albeit of a different kind. One could say that the Union represents a progressive approach that challenges and replaces old concepts of power.

In a number of important areas, the European Union is an absolute leader. No political entity in human history has managed not only to establish peace, democracy and human rights as values, but to realize them to such an extent in terms of stability (a permanent endeavor in view of a few outliers).

Climate policy, for all its shortcomings, is exemplary worldwide. Technologically and scientifically, there is a need to catch up as well as potential. In the social sphere, in the health care system and medically, the EU is in an excellent position. It has lost a lot in dark phases, but spiritually and culturally, Europe is a power today.

From the point of view of central control, efficiency, speed of decision-making and implementation, and unlimited belief in progress, there is certainly much to criticize about the EU. Its global limitation in terms of power politics can be seen as a weakness. But one must be clear that these are aspects that are offset by great strengths. The EU has its history – and enormous potential to fulfill an important function as a role model for the world in the future.

This short essay was written by Jennifer Schranz for the course “EU Law” at Sigmund Freud University’s faculty of Law in February 2021.

Pandemic big live test for human maturity

Worst crisis in 100 years for many (matter of perspective with huge problems unresolved, think climate, inequality, violence). “Corona” certainly is a very bad crisis case deserving the designation “complex“.

Seen coming? – “Pandemic” has been in the top risks for security and experts. Acted on it? – Hardly. General precautions like robust care systems in some places, research capabilities. But no scenario exercises with decisions and coordination, no mental, operative, structural, relational preparation.

Decision makers in governments and organisations improvise along the surprising development beyond direct control. Strong men disenchanted. Crisis responses erratic. Acceptance decreases, resistance grows. Rethink now.

Complex problems require complex solutions

The ongoing crisis proves complex problems require complex solutions. Trying to trivialise the problem and/or responding primitively, ie in mechanical, linear fashion, mandatorily leads to failure, increased and added problems.

Governments, take control by context, broad concurrence, international cooperation, individual contributions.
Organisations, trash crisis manuals and adapt crisis systems to contemporary threats at last.

Never too late to grow up to maturity – and EARN TRUST.

Banning extreme opinion is a mistake

To be clear, incendiary, antisemitic, racist, discriminatory, hateful, antidemocratic, violence-glorifying statements and calls for riots must be refused by any media and immediately deleted from social media.

One does not need to go so far to be for the right for everyone to say everything as the great Noam Chomsky has suggested, but banning pronounced and even extreme opinion by blocking individual accounts is a mistake. 

The downside is multiple:
People find ways to spread their views anyway. The communication will be pushed to areas invisible for the general public and overseers like media and authorities. Other people will not be confronted with the entirety of what people say, think, demand, plan. The unacceptable and despised views vanish from sight and consciousness. The chances to contradict and unmask are forfeited. The division, bubble, echo tendencies grow. Private companies play regulators.

The big danger is that extreme positions and activities will occur in the dark even more and people may forget they exist. Invisible, unknown enemies are created and supported unwillingly.

It is better to let everyone post and tweet on their accounts, mark the questionable ones and take the de facto incriminable ones out.

Turn of the year reflexion work

The turn of the year is an important time that one should ideally also spend on some reflexion work in the balance of present, past, and future. This is especially interesting and helpful after a year like 2020, in which positive can become negative.

Maybe you are interested in what I usually give myself as an instruction around New Year:

Take responsibility for the outgoing year and make peace

Take stock, evaluate decisions, question ethics. Learn from mistakes and failures, forgive yourself and ask who you have treated wrong for forgiveness. Celebrate successes and progress. Be proud of positive, ethical actions and change, contributions for others, individuals, the community and society. Give credit to whom mit is due and thank for support.

Let the old year go and turn to now and the new year

Review your mission against your values. Review relationships and obligations. Confront your fears and make yourself aware of your resources, strengths and friends. Go through your goals, connected to projects and problems. Considering the stakeholders and plan for action and development, cooperation, supporting and sharing.

Years are travel sections and dynamic intervals of life

Be clear that reality and your life are dynamic processes with limited rationality and controllability, and with an end. Acknowledge that time is life, and the ultimate and supreme non-renewable resource.

Be realistic. Free yourself of unnecessary concerns, destructive behaviors, and senseless desires. Leave troubles and concerns, troublemakers and negative elements behind. Go step by step, adapting the plans to reality, case by case, moment by moment ahead, into and through the new year.

Trust you have the power to do what is necessary and right. Deal with and spend time on what is relevant and of value. Ignore what is not important, not valuable, not worth the while. Accept what you cannot influence or change. Expect the unexpectable and accept uncertainty as certain.

Logics and ethics plus intuition are the best guides

Do what makes sense and is right, and do it right. Besides your cognition and reason, follow your feelings and intuition.

This is hard and easy. You have the right and the obligation towards a senseful life of orienting on what is right. It shows you the way and makes the road clear, safe and comfortable. It will give you confidence, a good conscience and serenity in a confused and confusing world. In the end it will be much easier that way.

Enjoy the permanent new beginning that you shape as much as you can shape it. It is good to be conscious about it. The turn of the year, at least, is an opportunity for that.

Happy New Year!

Responsibility includes who and what you support.

The following truism is reality for organisations and individuals, businesses and boards, production operations and advisers alike. I have made it a core principle for myself and my profession.

Responsibility doesn’t stop at what you do, how you do it, and why — just as relevant is what, in the end, with your work, you actually contribute to, who and what you support and how this impacts stakeholders and society.

Announcing my blog

Over time, I have received quite a few responses to articles and posts I had published. People keep telling me I should start a blog.

Now this is the place where my utterances can be consumed. My principle is to speak and write only when there is something of importance to say. This means there will not be a fixed rhythm.

Like before, I will cover my professional fields of consulting, management, communications, lobbying, media and stakeholder relations. Further, the subjects of my private studies, Applied Complexity Science and Philosophy. Then also, various areas of interest, including current politics, contemporary history, arts and culture, Vienna and Austria, being Jewish.

I hope the articles will be interesting and am looking forward to feedback.