First responses to the COVID-19 crisis have laid bare – once more – how incredibly fragile international cooperation in multilateral settings has become. In the face of urgency, many countries, including in Europe, have reacted by prioritizing their own security at the expense of others, closing borders, imposing restrictions on exports of medical products and scrambling for vital supplies. In the long run, these unilateral measures were neither effective nor sustainable.
But this is hardly any news. Since years, the eco-system of international affairs is showing signs of malaise, as predictability, trust and loyal cooperation are reluctantly giving way to uncertainty, misperception and, above all, suspicion in other's actions and intentions. And, as the COVID-19 crisis has proven, it is not only about war and weapons. Without “cooperative security”, meaningful responses to shared global challenges, like tackling climate change, setting multilateral standards for emerging technologies, managing migration etc., remain effectively out of reach.
For good reason, we need to find ways to reignite a more cooperative approach. The Cooperative Security Initiative of the FES Regional Office for Cooperation and Peace in Europe (FES ROCPE) and GLOBSEC is laying the foundations for a European wide discussion on the subject. Is it possible to build on the system we have and to improve it where needed? And how to go about it?
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