Where is Europe headed?

It was predicted ten years ago that Brazil, Russia, India and China, all rich in natural resources and population, would rise to the level of the global economic elite. The speed of their economic growth, however, especially that of China, surprised even those who had predicted it.

It is a fact that these countries will be claiming their share of global power.  Asia and Latin America in their entirety are beginning to catch up to Europe and the US, says Juhana Aunesluoma, Director of the University of Helsinki Network for European Studies.

What are the consequences of the changing world order? It is hard to say, admits Aunesluoma.

“For the first time in the history of the world, a situation is developing in which Western countries, India and China have equal power.”

Aunesluoma does not worry about the change in world order as such – as long as ‘order’ remains.

“If we cannot create or follow common rules, we will become a G-Zero World, in which traditional diplomacy, power and control would be shattered by true anarchy.”

At this time, the future is shrouded in mystery and may change quickly; even large corporations are shying away from making long-term plans. According to Aunesluoma, this can be seen in the general mentality of companies: the objective is to stay alert and live in the moment.

The northern survivors

Aunesluoma dares to guess that Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany and Estonia will be among those EU countries that will be able to get by in the future.

“These countries have a proactive attitude and the ability to take risks; in addition, most of them have old wealth. France suffers from societal stiffness, and the countries of South Europe are affected by corruption. Poland seems to manage despite being poor, and even Iceland has its head above water.”

It is harder to predict what kind of destiny awaits Finland.

“Our strengths are societal stability and good education, which enable people to make decisions such as acquiring a new profession or not supporting politicians full of hot air.

“The downsides are our country’s passiveness to change in comparison to those countries doing well, the lack of variety in our foreign trade and our extremely centralised economy. Reliance on just a few large companies makes Finland fragile in economic downturns.”

Surprisingly, the EU on the other hand seems to hold together.

“The EU was expected to have strong structures but a weak will to stay intact. But the opposite is true. At this moment, only political will is holding the EU together. Apparently the union provides everyone with a sense of safety. As the relations of global power are changing, nobody wants to be left alone.”