Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

New world order

Adelina Marini, February 28, 2007

The Centre for European Reform - a non-governmental organisation, based in London, published a new research of its ex-director on foreign policy Mark Leonard. His essay is called "Divided world - struggle for primacy in 2020" and forecasts that in the framework of this 13-year period the world not only will not be unipolar anymore but it would be quadripolar. Beside this, Mark Leonard forecasts the creation of a lot of sub unions within the EU. I asked him to clarify a little more in detail his idea about the new ideological rivalry with relation to the form of the new world order.

MARK LEONARD: When the Berlin wall fell we were told that history is over and the future will not be of big ideological struggles but of universalisation of the Western liberal democracy. Communism disappeared and there was no possibility for new similar systems to appear. It is possible that cases of Islamism would appear but it would attract no more than a billion of Muslims. From a European perspective, such forecasts look true if we take into account the gradual transformation of the countries beyond the Iron Curtain toward liberal democracy and EU membership. If we look ahead we will see that history is returning and Western liberal democracy is only one of the possible ways for society organisation. And with regard to Western liberal democracy we see s division between Americans and Europeans because the 2 societies have developed different ideas, based on the understanding of how they perceive democracy imposture. These different views became quite clear during the Iraq crisis. So my thesis is that in the future there won't be a single world order but world would be divided into 2 axes, depending on the organisation of the internal politics in the counties. Based on this principle the countries will be divided into autocracies and democracies. The other axes, according to Mark Leonard, would divide the world on the principle on whether a country is being governed by law or by force. Thus we will wake up in a world of 4 zones: American world which is devoted to democracy, then the Eurosphere and maybe some of the countries in the neighbourhood. The third zone consists mainly of Russia and China - the 2 countries that actually compete with each other but, in the same time, they will unite more and more because they both have autocratic system of government and they also believe that international institutions should be used to restrict American power. The fourth zone is our South which is ruled neither by democracy, nor by the rule of law - and that is the Middle East.

- In your forecast you mention the year 2020. Why exactly that year?

MARK LEONARD: To some extent it's a bit difficult to forecast to future but, according to the "Economist Intelligence Unit" 2020 would be the year when the Chinese economy, measured by buying capability per capita, will overpower the American economy. This would be a very significant psychological moment which will show us that we will in a multipolar world.

- You also mention the term "enlarged Eurosphere", what does it mean?

MARK LEONARD: I call Eurosphere the countries that are being transform gradually by the EU and its approach. The EU, I think, is a unique political experiment which makes countries to retreat from their sovereignty, to solve trans-border problems like organised crime, pollution and in the same time they create the biggest internal market in the world. They also have almost common foreign policy. In the meantime, they keep their own sovereignty and take care of purely internal issues themselves, like schools, social security and voting. In this world instead of security being based upon secrecy and protection against foreign interference,now security is based upon the rule of law, interference in internal affairs, cooperation and last but not least, the Eurosphere is enlarging - something that people in Bulgaria know very well. In the future I think, that this process of transformation will go beyond these 27 member states and might include not only the countries of the Balkans but many others like Ukraine, Moldova and in the longer term Belarus. I suppose that this process of transformation might infect the countries to the South - in Northern Africa.

- Exactly in this aspect how do you see the future of the EU - so enlarged but, actually, with hands tied up because of the lack of a Constitution?

MARK LEONARD: The EU always needs time to get used to each new wave of enlargement. I also think that as bigger and various the Union becomes, the bigger issues it puts like the one what we think of it. What we recently found out is that some types of questions like the Services Directive are been politicized much when there are 25 or 27 member states, just because the differences between them, with regard to income and economic prosperity, are great. And this means that the idea of one country for social security for another means protectionism and that makes it very hard for a common decision on issues like economic reform and other sectors. There are countries which are strongly interested in the future of Belarus or Ukraine, but others are more interested in Algiers and Morocco. That is why in the future smaller groups of countries will appear, which will cooperate closer and informal in the spheres of common interest.

- You mean within the Union?

MARK LEONARD: Not just one. I know people in the EU who don't like the idea of Europe on two or more velocities because they perceive this as a new Iron Curtain. Honestly I also share this concern. But in the same time it would be much more reasonable if there are such smaller groupings. For example the creation of defence community would be useless without the UK because it is one of the two very serious military powers in the EU. But the UK is not part of the Schengen sphere which works perfectly without the British. We could imagine similar things in other spheres, where it would be very hard to reach a common decision. I wouldn't surprise if some countries create their own Services Directive.

- But don't you think that these internal problems, which I personally think deepen, actually make the EU to lag behind the challenges of the world?

MARK LEONARD: This is true but people thought the same way in 1989. The Berlin wall fell, many other problems appeared like Yugoslavia and its disintegration and people then had the right to criticize the EU for doing nothing. It is very hard not to be ashamed of what the Union did in 1990 but the good thing is that the EU is now much more capable to tackle the problems of the Balkans.