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Partners in crisis: EU strategic partnerships and the global economic downturn

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Many people anticipated that economic and political power would shift from the West to the East and the South in the coming decades. Likewise, deepening interdependence has been widely commented on as a core enabler and by-product of ever more pervasive globalisation. Few, however, expected the power transition to accelerate so dramatically, nor did many predict that interdependence would rapidly turn from a source of prosperity to a vehicle of contagion, threatening the resilience of globalisation. The global financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 was a turning point. The crisis triggered new initiatives aimed at containing the immediate risk of financial meltdown, notably, the G20 meeting at leaders’ level. However, more fundamentally, the crisis has durably affected the mutual perceptions of major economic actors, the terms of the debate on sound economic and development models, and the prospects for multilateral cooperation. In a world of growing economic divides, whether over rising protectionism and mercantilism or the so-called currency wars, bilateral partnerships can become a key tool for sustaining dialogue, improving mutual understanding and fostering a degree of convergence as a condition for multilateral cooperation. But if that is their purpose, this report suggests that much remains to be done.

ESPO Report 1, Nov. 2012.
(Photo credit: Images_of_Money, Flickr)