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Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on the position of Europe during the G20 summit in Osaka

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Professor International Relations and Diplomatic Practice at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs at Leiden University spoke to Belgian (Flemish) news magazine Knack about the position of Europe in relation to the United States and China. ‘Europe has to be careful to avoid becoming being stuck in a nutcracker, if that hasn’t already happened yet.’

The G20 leaders gathered in Osaka on 28 and 29 June to discuss major global economic challenges. ‘We might well be heading towards a bipolar world, in which everything revolves around the rivalry between the United States and China’, says Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

Europe’s role

When asked if Europe is being too modest, de Hoop Scheffer replied: ‘Yes. From a military perspective we are a dwarf and in politics an adolescent. But financially and economically we are a giant. We should definitely be sailing closer to the wind. For starters, we should be implementing a very robust trade policy. The European Commission blocked the merger between the French train manufacturer Alstom and the German Siemens. So you shouldn’t be too surprised if, two years from now, the Chinese come knocking with high velocity trains for a third of the price.’

The Euro

De Hoop Scheffer explained also that it is very important to continue to build on the EURO foundations. ‘Because the dollar is still by far the most important reserve currency in the world. The EU is importing 2 per cent of its energy from the US, and 80 per cent of the resulting transactions are concluded in dollars,’ according to De Hoop Scheffer.

You can read the full interview (in Dutch) on Knack.

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