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Our collective interest: why Europe's problems need global solutions and global problems need European action

Research reports

Written by Mikaela Gavas, Simon Maxwell, Raphaëlle Faure, Andrew Shepherd, Neil Bird, Elize Hefer

Research reports

​As the new EU leadership team prepares to take office in Brussels, four leading European international development think tanks have joined forces to call for a global perspective in European policy-making.

We argue that the EU’s ambitions for its own citizens – for prosperity, peace and environmental sustainability – cannot be divorced from its global responsibilities and opportunities. A collective effort is in our shared interest.

This report identifies five global problems which will shape the future of the EU and the world, and where the EU has a comparative advantage to act:

  • The world economy. Is the world economy becoming more equitable, resilient and democratic? Is the EU doing enough to contribute to better and more inclusive trade and finance regimes, which allow for full participation by all?
  • Environmental sustainability. Is the EU playing its part internally and externally to contribute to a more sustainable and climate friendly path in the world, especially with regard to the building green economy?
  • Peace and security. Is the world becoming more peaceful and secure? And is the EU contributing to the prevention of violent conflict and to fostering peaceful societies?
  • Democracy and human rights. Is the world better governed and more democratic? Is there greater respect for human rights around the world? And is the EU acting effectively to understand and support democratic political change?
  • Poverty and inequality. Have poverty and inequality declined? Is the EU acting effectively to understand and tackle the drivers of poverty and inequality?

Translating political commitments on these challenges into effective collective action requires strong EU leadership. A new approach will require an EU global strategy that links internal and external action.

The period to 2020 offers a real opportunity for transformation towards a more inclusive, peaceful, prosperous, and equitable world. Europe must play its part.

European Think Tanks Group