Is Europe a Risk Averse Actor?
European Foreign Affairs Review
NL : Kluwer Academic Publishers
411 - 426 p.
This article makes the hypothesis that the European Union (EU) is a political actor whose identity and strategy on the international fi eld are based on a strong aversion towards risk. In order to follow this hypothesis, we will defi ne the exact meaning of a Risk Averse Power (RAP). Roughly speaking, an RAP can be defi ned as an international actor that defi nes and responds to the political stakes of a given identifi ed risk in terms of a will to reduce its uncertainties and uncontrollable effects. Then, in the absence of any existing composite index, we propose fi ve criteria for measuring this risk aversion: job loss risk, biotechnology risks, climate change risk, fi nancial risks, and risk of war. In the next section, we attempt to explain why Europe is risk averse, through various factors: Europe’s non-state construction, the existence of a deliberative European political space, Europe’s social model aiming towards market risk minimization, and, fi nally, the end of the need for an Empire. Finally, we determine the broader implications of risk aversion for Europe as a global actor.