Climate change is bringing major challenges for the European Union (EU) as freak storms wreaked havoc on parts of southern Europe. The EU has already said it wants to utilize effort and spend money to remain the global driver of measures to fight climate change.
The United States also threatened sanctions against companies working on a gas pipeline from Russia to German.
EU policies on climate change, the pre-eminent issue where the EU wants to lead the world, are facing domestic challenges. Coal-burning Poland is resisting calls to move more quickly in fighting climate change. Farmers and workers in the Netherlands, France and beyond have protested new laws aiming to curb pollution. An EU summit in December had to go through linguistic contortions to claim a deal on an overall commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Outside EU borders, the United States has gone from a trusted ally under former President Barack Obama to an unpredictable partner under Donald Trump, who pulled out of the Paris climate accord that the EU was instrumental in brokering
Strong recent disagreements over Iran policy and NATO show the trans-Atlantic rift is widening between the allies.
“Existing powers are going down new paths alone,” von der Leyen said in a thinly veiled criticism of the United States.
The EU is still a staunch defender of multilateralism and seeking global compromise. That approach is being tested daily, however, as China and the United States vie for economic and military supremacy and Russian leader Vladimir Putin seeks to undermine democracies and extend his nation’s influence around the globe.
“The resurgence in great power competition has put pressure on the EU’s dream of a multilateral world order,” Bildt and Leonard wrote.