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News | March 17, 2021

The Role of Europe in the New Great Power Competition

By Federica Mogherini INSS/PRISM Speaker Series

The US Department of Defense (DoD) Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) program hosted a speaker session on March 17, 2021, presented by Rector Federica Mogherini (College of Europe; Former High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy), as a part of its SMA INSS/PRISM Speaker Series. 


To begin, Rector Mogherini stated that many European leaders believe that the US is returning to a more cooperative stance with the EU and NATO. She explained that the US’s cooperative relationship with Europe can be traced throughout history, which has created a sense of community across the Atlantic until recent years. Reinvigorating this sense of community will be important for how the US and European nations handle mutual security and economic challenges. Rector Mogherini believes that if the US returns to multilateral cooperation from its recent mercantilist policies, then the US and the EU can shape global policies together. Potential areas of cooperation for the US and its allies in the EU (and NATO) include Russia’s interference in Eastern Europe, decreasing conflict in the Middle East, climate change, and ending the global pandemic. However, Rector Mogherini did acknowledge that while it is assumed that President Biden’s administration will move away from more isolationist policies, upcoming election cycles in European countries can also influence the US’s bilateral relationships with both the EU and NATO. 

Rector Mogherini then pointed out that while there are areas for cooperation between Europe and the US, there are still areas that might result in competition as well. These areas of potential tension include differing views on China’s global role. She believes that while the EU views China as a systemic rival, it believes that China can and should be considered as a cooperative economic and security partner, whereas the US wants to limit China’s influence on policy altogether. The EU will also likely continue a policy of partial European autonomy, in which it will act separately from the US when it believes the US’s decisions do not represent its core values. However, Rector Mogherini ended her presentation on a positive note by stating that the perception that the US is ending its more isolationist policies has created a reinvigorated sense of hope for new multilateral cooperation between the US and the EU. 

Speaker Bio

Federica Mogherini
Federica Mogherini
Federica Mogherini
Federica Mogherini
Federica Mogherini
Photo By: European Union
VIRIN: 210415-D-BD104-001

Federica Mogherini has served as the Rector of the College of Europe since September 2020 and has co-chaired the United Nations High Level Panel on Internal Displacement since January 2020. She previously served as the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, from 2014 to 2019.

Prior to joining the EU, she was Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (2014), and a Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies (2008-14). In her parliamentary capacity, she was Head of the Italian Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and Vice-President of its Political Committee (2013-14); member of the Italian Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (2008-13); Secretary of the Defence Committee (2008-13); and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. She also coordinated the Inter-Parliamentary Group for Development Cooperation.

Federica Mogherini is a Fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the International Crisis Group, Fellow of the German Marshall Fund, member of the Group of Eminent Persons of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, member of the European Leadership Network for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, and member of the Board of Directors of the Italian Institute for Foreign Affairs (IAI). She has a degree in Political Science from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”.