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Javier Solana's talk on political, social and economic challenges for the EU


During the kick-off meeting held in Barcelona on February 4 and 5, Javier Solana, president of ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics (ESADEgeo), analysed today’s political, social and economic challenges for the EU and the world. Throughout his long career as a public servant, Javier Solana has witnessed the vertiginous evolution of the international arena, from the fall of the blocks to the emergence of the multipolar world. Javier Solana spoke as a first person witness to these changes that the world order is experiencing, highlighting 21st century technological innovations in fields such as energy, which are having a profound impact on international relations.

Throughout the keynote address, his gaze was always on the European Union, which he cited as an example of the type of multilateral governance required to face global challenges, many of which transcend the borders of states. Likewise, Javier Solana stressed the need to uphold responsible and strategic leadership, which rejects short-sightedness and holds to keys to operating effectively in the interdependent world in which we live.

Javier Solana recommended some strategies for the European Union. He argued that the EU must advocate that countries that are acquiring more protagonism in the global economy (such as China) be adequately represented in the current international institutions. In the International Monetary Fund, for instance, China has risen to the third position in voting power, but it remains underrepresented according to its GDP, and the same can be said about India. Reforming current global governance institutions to provide (re)emerging countries with enough say may help to dissuade the creation of parallel structures of governance. Alternatively, if these structures are established, the West should be open to participate in them. An inclusive international system which increases the opportunity costs of confrontation is a stable international system.

Javier Solana also invited us to reflect on how to manage the appearance of new global actors constructively. He argued that tackling this task successfully will be critical to guaranteeing a future marked by security and social welfare, and in which cooperation prevails over confrontation.