EU Convulses, the World Could Care Less

Time for the Union to get relevant, writes columnist
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2008 10:23 AM CDT
EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso addresses the media on the result of Irish Referendum at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Friday, June 13, 2008.   (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
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(Newser) – The EU has been wracked with self-doubt and indecision in the days since the Irish electorate voted down the Treaty of Lisbon. But watching the turmoil unfold from Beijing, Financial Times columnist Philip Stephens observes just how introverted the Union has become. At a critical moment in the history of one of the world's great powers, the rest of the world has no reason to care.

Europe risks being left behind in a coming multipolar world, writes Stephens, if all it does is squabble about symbols and institutions. Only by acting as one can the EU participate in a new international order, partnering with Russia, the US, and the developing world. "And if Brussels stops talking about Lisbon," he writes, "they might actually pay attention in Beijing."