Against the backdrop of growing concern about the controversial TTIP talks between the European Union (EU) and the United States, it might be useful to remind some facts about the EU. When Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany reached the Minsk Agreement, a large portion of the European public opinion was repeating that in front of Russia, both France and Germany would be powerless starting from the premise that the Russian military would be far stronger than its two counterparts’. Cyceon analysts explained the reality on the ground clearly differed from popular perception, considering that it was more relevant to compare GDPs and military firepower – including nuclear deterrence – and finally realize that France and Germany weren’t so-called dwarfs in front of Russia.
The same distortion of popular perception emerged about the EU. As the world’s first trade power, with 500 million consumers and an annual GDP per capita around USD 25,000, the EU is an economic superpower. In fact within the framework of the TTIP talks, said MEP Alain Lamassoure, the EU is in a stronger position than many thought it was. The EU enjoyed a bilateral trade surplus with the US at around EUR 120 billion in 2015, Lamassoure pointed out. However the popular perception is quite right about the inability of the EU to play at the level it deserves to play according to its strength and economic weight.
Acknowledging that the EU trade policy has grown controversial because it’s been either too globalized or too naive, economist and university lecturer at Sciences Po Laurence Daziano proposed the creation of a European Trade Security Council which, in the context of the quick emergence of major economic powers like China, would focus the European policies on creating growth in member countries, rebalancing relations with the US and assessing both the threats and safety measures regarding European trade interests. “The first case could tackle the sensitive issue of China’s status as a market economy and the future of European steel,” Daziano wrote.