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Shaping Europe Pragmatically

Europe must finally speak with one voice! We have heard that call again and again. In some cases it has been heeded, but more often, it has not – and things are not necessarily getting better. But if that is the case and the big European policy breakthrough is not to be expected in the near future, we should concentrate our energy on taking the many small, unspectacular but effective steps that will enable our continent to survive in an increasingly uncomfortable global environment. Read this issue of International Reports to learn about some of them.

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Shaping Europe Pragmatically

  • Editorial

    There has been no shortage of wake-up calls for Europe in recent years: Russia first annexed Crimea and later invaded the whole of Ukraine, thereby launching a head-on attack on peace in Europe as we know it. On the other side of the Atlantic, Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016 – a man who questioned the security guarantees provided by the United States to its European allies. In our neighbourhood, in the Middle East, Islamist terrorists and their regional supporters are out to destroy Israel, the only democracy in the region. And authoritarian states looking to rewrite the international legal system established after 1945 are seeking alliances even with countries that we consider more aligned with our values.

    by Gerhard Wahlers

  • “Perhaps We Need This Geopolitical Shock to Take Some Bold Steps”

    European Policy in Times of Crisis and the Future of the EU beyond the Left and Right-wing Populists

    Lars Hänsel, Head of the Europe and North America Department at the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, talks to International Reports about Europe’s response to the Russian war of aggression, the new interest in Eastern Europe and the need for an EU with a greater capacity to act – and he explains what constitutes Christian Democratic European policy.

    by Sören Soika, Fabian Wagener

  • In Search of Majorities

    The Positioning and Future of the ­European ­People’s Party in a Changing Party System

    The European People’s Party (­EPP) has played a key role in shaping European politics over the past decades. Recently, however, it has repeatedly found itself in a difficult position, caught between left-wing and liberal forces on the one hand and right-wing parties becoming stronger on the other. Which partners can and should the EPP join forces with to implement its ideas for shaping the EU’s future? And where will its place be in the European party landscape of the future?

    by Olaf Wientzek

  • The EU as a Global Power?

    The “Geopolitical Commission” between Ambition and Reality

    The term of office of the European Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen is drawing to a close. It started out with the aspiration to be a “geopolitical Commission”. But even though the administration set priorities in the ­COVID-19 pandemic and in the face of the Russian war against Ukraine, there is still a gap between aspiration and reality in the EU’s external action outside of acute crises.

    by Felix Müller

  • Big Plans, Limited Progress

    EU Energy Partnerships with the Gulf

    In the wake of the energy crisis, the Gulf states are once again becoming the focus of EU energy policy as new (old) partners – both to compensate for the loss of Russian gas imports and to supply renewable energy sources, in particular hydrogen, to Europe. However, despite the EU emphasising its interest and announcing grand plans for closer cooperation, in reality, energy partnerships are falling well short of expectations – even though the general conditions in the Gulf are promising.

    by Philipp Dienstbier, Veronika Ertl

  • Thoroughly European

    Belarus is Currently Dependent on Moscow – but the ­Democratic Opposition Wants to Lead the Country towards the West

    The Lukashenko regime is tying Belarus ever closer to Russia, but the democratic forces seek an orientation towards the West – and are even talking about joining the EU. Although that sounds utopian at the moment, in the long term an alignment of the country with the European Union would be in our interests, too. For this reason, we need a mental “eastward enlargement” – and Belarus is surprisingly European in many respects.

    by Jakob Wöllenstein

  • From Problem Child to Model Student

    Greece’s New Role in Europe

    Sovereign debt, migration crisis, corruption – this was what people associated with Greece up until a few years ago. Recently, we have been reading more about growth, a return to the capital market and increasing popularity. The country has one of the highest growth rates in the EU and is developing into Europe’s energy hub. How did this come about? What has been done right in recent years? And what does Greece’s new self-confidence mean in terms of the country’s geopolitical orientation and European policy?

    by Marian Wendt, Eleftherios Petropoulos

  • A Stability Union or a Debt Union?

    A Strategic Decision for Europe

    Europe faces major investments in the future, but also mountains of debt. For this reason, it is crucial to align digital and environmental transformation with a stability-oriented fiscal policy. How is this aspiration reflected in the differing economic traditions of the EU member states? What steps need to be taken to create a stability union rather than a debt union?

    by Tim Peter

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About this series

International Reports (IR) is the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung's periodical on international politics. It offers political analyses by our experts in Berlin and from more than 100 offices across all regions of the world. Contributions by named authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editorial team.

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Dr. Gerhard Wahlers



Benjamin Gaul

Benjamin Gaul

Head of the Department International Reports and Communication +49 30 26996 3584

Dr. Sören Soika


Editor-in-Chief International Reports (Ai) +49 30 26996 3388

Rana Taskoparan

Rana Taskoparan

Referentin Kommunikation und Vermarktung +49 30 26 996 3623

Fabian Wagener

Fabian Wagener

Desk Officer for Multimedia +49 30-26996-3943