The ratification of the Lisbon Treaty last week creates the potential for a stronger, more assertive Europe, but the character of the new President and Foreign Minister of the EU will have a profound impact on the role that Europe takes.
[T]he Lisbon Treaty has the potential to herald the emergence of a new world actor – a Europe that can look upwards and outwards and is equipped with the bureaucratic tools to do so. In his recent speech, British foreign minister David Miliband laid out why this matters. Without greater coherence – and an integrative system in place – European countries, however big, will become bystanders in a G2 world run by China and the US. A coherent framework for cooperation will help Europeans get a clearer sense of each other’s priorities and to develop a shared idea of the foreign policy challenge they must confront. Butterflies are beautiful, in part because they take time to develop, and at no stage during their caterpillar period look as if they can emerge colourful and lithe. The same is the case for common and effective EU foreign policy.|Lisbon Treaty Passes, Europe Might Emerge As A New World Actor - GovMonitor|
It will be interesting to see if the new President can paper over European differences and make the EU more powerful.
Foreign Policy has a short post on the four most unexpected consequences of the fall of the Iron Curtain, one of which is Europe's geopolitical weakeness.