IES Professor Luis Simón examines evolution of Europe's geopolitical architecture in new Whitehall Paper

The paper examines the evolution of Europe's geopolitical architecture, and its fit within the broader transatlantic/Western system. The central argument is that all the media buzz about Europe's many crises (financial, migration, populism, Brexit) may have prevented Europeans from appreciating the most geopolitically significant crisis the old continent is undergoing: a balance of power crisis. The author argues that Europe's balance of power crisis is animated by three structural developments that are testing the fabric of the postwar European geopolitical architecture: US retrenchment from Europe, Germany's emerging leadership position within the EU, and Russia's attempts to recreate a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. 

A central theme underlying the analysis is the tension between power and weakness, which looms over the role of these three pivotal European powers (the United States, Germany & Russia). The United States is certainly the most powerful, but it has bigger fish to fry and might not care enough to underpin Europe's order in a pro-active fashion, as we have been accustomed to. Germany and Russia are filling part of the void left by U.S. retrenchment, but neither of them appear to have the strength, the legitimacy or (in the case of Germany) the willingness to underpin European order. The result: No One's Europe. 

The paper analyses what these changes mean for European geopolitics, and offers some ideas as to how to restore the balance. Dr Luis Simón argues that,  given the transatlantic origins of the postwar European order, any attempts to preserve the essence of such order must revolve around one basic principle: fixing the transatlantic ‘superstructure’  before addressing any questions related to the future of the European ‘ infrastructure’.

The article is available on this link.