Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Mapping out the EU’s future role on the global stage

International coordination is essential to addressing challenges including trade and development, security, climate change, migration and global finance. The EU-funded GLOBE project has identified major trends the EU should take into account for its future strategies in this arena. The work will help keep EU citizens and their interests at the heart of global governance for decades to come.

©Vadym | source: AdobeStock #671770244

PDF Basket

No article selected

Recent years have added increasing layers of complexity and challenge in global governance. These include the climate crisis, evolving trade dynamics, the volatility of financial markets, and pressing security concerns. The EU is at the heart of this intricate web and, now more than ever, needs to determine its role amidst these changing dynamics.

“The EU is not a sovereign state. As such, it is confronted with many limitations when participating in international organisations (IOs) that are mainly created and populated by states,” observes Jacint Jordana, coordinator of the GLOBE project on behalf of the Barcelona Institute of International Studies. “It’s essential to understand the transformations of global governance to enhance the EU’s role and energise global governance more generally, which is precisely why we initiated the GLOBE project,” explains Jordana.

Increasing global engagement

GLOBE was built around two main pillars: Providing a comprehensive synthesis of research on global governance that would cater to stakeholders, policymakers and the general public; and crafting prospective scenarios and recommendations to guide the EU's future trajectory.

The need for the EU to bolster its global engagement is real. Taking a pragmatic approach, GLOBE findings suggest it should forge ties with coalitions of like-minded states driven by tangible progress. Concurrently, the significance of IOs cannot be understated as they serve as vital conduits for global collaboration.

The EU is encouraged to expand its horizons, cultivate broader ties with strategic allies, delve into informal organisations, and champion collaborative ventures between public and private entities. Such a multifaceted approach becomes especially crucial when traditional multilateral pathways encounter hurdles.

Mapping the road ahead

Amidst current challenges and transformations, the GLOBE project identified certain dominant trends. A notable one is the decision-making gridlock that emerges from deeply entrenched dependencies, making it challenging to amend decision-making processes. Meanwhile, IOs often find themselves in a conundrum, seeking to redefine their roles in an interconnected world. A rising trend in this regard is the forging of alliances or even mergers with influential non-state entities.

Then comes the stark reality of resource constraints. Limited funds hinder IOs' capabilities, increasing demand for innovative financial solutions. An era of hybrid organisations is looming, with distinctions between treaty-based and non-treaty-based IOs increasingly blurring. These non-state entities are rising in prominence, carving significant niches in global governance.

Reflecting on the media’s role, Jordana notes, “You can see how domestic politics and public deliberations influence global perceptions on IOs and global governance, which in turn shape their developments.” It’s a reminder of how local narratives and overarching global themes are in fact closely intertwined.

Beyond these findings, Adam Holesch, project manager of GLOBE, underlines the diverse range of outcomes generated by the project. These include an insightful survey tailored for IOs’ staff, extensive academic databases and a series of enlightening webinars.

The project also launched a free online course demystifying global governance’s nuances and emphasising the EU’s central role. The voice of the project resonates most powerfully in the two final reports of the project, ‘Trends in Global Governance and Future Scenarios 2030’ – a synthesis of its major findings – and ‘Navigating Complexity: the European Union in Global Governance’ – a compass for both policymakers and global citizens.

When asked about the long-term vision for the project, Jordana’s hopes are clear: “To demystify global governance for both citizens and policymakers and to present an integrated perspective on its future trajectory.”

In a world of shifting allegiances and evolving challenges, the GLOBE project serves as both a mirror and a map, reflecting the current state of global governance and charting the EU’s course in these transformative times.

PDF Basket

No article selected

Project details

Project acronym
Project number
Project coordinator: Spain
Project participants:
Costa Rica
United Kingdom
Total cost
€ 2 500 000
EU Contribution
€ 2 500 000
Project duration

See also

More information about project GLOBE

All success stories