The European Union is the opposite of an empire. Built against the use of force on the continent it has perfectly succeeded in appeasing and civilising to the point that many Europeans now have a real aversion to it. But the world has not developed everywhere in the same way as Europe, neither have relations between the States. And although it discovered multilateralism, developed international organisations, dialogue and has enjoyed an exceptional period of peace, many powers still only believe in the use of force. The new emerging powers, the revisionists, nostalgic of their former status, are flexing their muscles and sometimes cautiously even put them to use. Nationalists do the same as they withdraw behind their borders.
Europe also has to learn to think of itself as a power, to defend and promote its interests across the world. It is not easy to persuade it to do this, given that within its fold there are many different experiences and traditions. And yet it is starting to get organised. New trade defence instruments have been developed enabling a faster, more effective response to dumping. This was necessary with Chinese steel. Given the aggressive trade tactics adopted by the Americans, the Union intends to reply and this time round it cannot allow itself the slightest weakness. Real measures will soon be announced. The response to policies of extraterritoriality is more complicated, since this aims to impose foreign policy choices. Many European businesses have already suffered and everything suggests that Europe will respond. Finally, in terms of defence, there is a glimmer of hope which substantiates this new determination to fully assume its power and therefore its independence, which is made possible by the sum of the forces of the continent's States.
The route is not easy, especially since Europe, which has allowed itself to grow soft, has for so long depended on others for its security, its role and its laws. Now it no longer has the choice. It must succeed in proving its strength. It has the means - it just needs the will to do so.