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The next step for the EU: Europe 3.0

A European Union serious about its global role and responsibilities should take the lead in trying to establish a more effective system of global governance.

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Finally, the European Union will leave its rather introspective phase of focus on institutional issues and start asserting itself as a true global player.

That’s the theory now that the Lisbon Treaty has finally taken effect.

Whether the EU’s practice will actually be different or not remains to be seen.

At the moment, Brussels is reminiscent of Washington in the middle of a transition between administrations. The introspective mood is worse than usual as the jockeying for positions in the new structures accelerates by the day.

But key to Europe’s ability to rise as a global player will not primarily be the wiring of the different parts of the new institutional hardware, but whether we will be able to update its “software” of policies so as to get the full effects of what we are doing.

Europe 1.0 was the old stuff in Western Europe from the 1950s until the European Revolution of 1989.

Europe 2.0 was the great enlargement and institutional innovations – as well as the introduction of the euro in a large number of countries – that characterized the years since then. This was a period of remarkable success in bringing peace, prosperity, the rule of law, and representative government to millions of Europeans.

But now we must write the software for the Europe 3.0 that really can emerge as a global player and partner.

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