EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell discusses the new global order at Emile Noël Lecture

At the 16th annual Emile Noël Lecture on September 20, Josep Borrell Fontelles, high representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and vice president of the European Commission, detailed how the war in Ukraine combined with the rise in power of China and the Global South are significantly reshaping the geopolitical landscape.

The lecture was hosted by NYU Law’s Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law and Justice. After giving his remarks, Borrell, who also delivered the 14th annual lecture in 2018, was joined by J.H.H. Weiler, University Professor and Monnet Center co-director, for a fireside chat.

Borrell and Weiler’s wide-ranging discussion touched on topics that included the threat that Russian aggression poses to European countries and the rise of nationalism around the world.

Watch video of the lecture and fireside chat:

Selected remarks by Josep Borrell from the lecture and discussion:

“There is no longer a coalition of powers capable of imposing a global order… I think that the model of the great United Nations conferences where we talk about everything, we want to agree about everything in a top-down method, is not working anymore.” (video 11:26)

“My role is the consensus builder.... I am the representative of 27 [member states in the EU] and I need their agreement. And that why it’s so remarkable that in front of the war in Ukraine we have been able to have this unity. This is really remarkable. I never could have imagined that quickly we [would decide] to arm Ukraine, the 27 [states] altogether—and [that] we still are united.” (video 40:52)

“We share the same political system, the same economic system, we certainly are united with the US—but it’s also true that we have our own interest. Our dependency on China is much bigger.…The amount of China's investment in Europe is very big. The amount of our import for China is much bigger than the US. We import from China 20 percent of all our imports…. The capacity of our firms to have a benefits to import, export, to invest, depends much more from China than from the US. So, this is a fact of life that has to be taken into account.” (video 1:01:05)

Posted October  10, 2023.