Geopolitics: The game change at Deauville

Two's company, but three's a... Chancellor Merkel, with Presidents Medvedev and Sarkozy at the Deauville summit, 18 October, 2010.
Two's company, but three's a... Chancellor Merkel, with Presidents Medvedev and Sarkozy at the Deauville summit, 18 October, 2010.
22 October 2010 – Financial Times (London)

The security summit at Deauville, France, saw the first inklings of a new European geopolitical order. Instead of an EU buttressed by a NATO expanding eastwards comes a "trilateral" Europe, sustaining Turkey's European ambitions and keeping Russia on board.

The security summit this week between Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and Dmitry Medvedev was always likely to be a non-event. France wanted something spectacular, Germany something reasonable, Russia something it could trade. So, the chances of a meeting of minds were slim. But the gathering at Deauville in northern France could turn out to be a non-event with consequences. When historians look back, this may be seen as the moment when leaders faced up to the fact that they are living in a multipolar Europe.

The very fact that the summit was held marks an end to the European Union’s solipsism. During the 1990s, many thinkers believed that Europe was becoming a “postmodern” continent, which no longer relied on a balance of power. National sovereignty and the separation of domestic and foreign affairs were deemed much less important. The EU and Nato would gradually expand until all European states were bound into this way of doing things. Until recently, it looked like that was happening. Central and eastern Europe were transformed, Georgia and Ukraine saw displays of pro-western people power, and Turkey moved steadily towards accession.

But now the prospects for this unipolar European order are fading. Russia, which was never comfortable with Nato or EU enlargement, is powerful enough to call openly for a new security architecture. Turkey, frustrated by the way in which some EU states have blocked membership negotiations, is increasingly pursuing an independent foreign policy and looking for a larger role. Add to this the fact that the US – its hands full dealing with Afghanistan, Iran and the rise of China – has ceased to be a full-time European power and you can see the multipolar Europe looming. Read full article at the European Council of Foreign Relations site...

Factual or translation error? Tell us.