Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

The EU’s Balance of Power Is Shifting East

By Eoin Drea

21 Jun 2022 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

A cutting essay in Foreign Policy counters the popular belief that the EU has united in opposition to Russia’s aggression; on the contrary, there’s a deepening East-West divide.

Despite the celebratory rhetoric in Brussels about the European Union’s surprisingly robust response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—which just culminated in the European Commission’s recommendation of membership candidacy to Ukraine—the war has not united the bloc in any unprecedented or transformative way. In fact, it’s having exactly the opposite effect: Beneath the soaring vista of Ukraine as a catalyst for a more muscular and geopolitically effective EU lie deep divisions, shifting allegiances, and a much more complex reality.

The war—or, more precisely, key EU members’ completely divergent approaches to Russia and how they expect a postwar peace to look—is altering the very power balance within the bloc itself. And that’s bad news for Germany, France, and the rest of the EU’s traditional powerbrokers.

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