China, Russia Seek to Profit as the EU Beacon of Democracy Goes Dim

BUDAPEST: Not long ago the European Union stood as an unassailable beacon, a model for how trade and shared values could override historical hatreds and how a disparate collection of nations could work together under a single set of political values. After the Cold War, the EU earned its spurs by welcoming much of former Soviet-controlled Europe into its fold and mentoring governments towards delivering security, wealth and fairness. It was a triumph of globalization on European scale.

Now, partly of its own making and partly because of events out of its control, the EU has become vulnerable, in the process raising questions about viability of globalization. Vacuums created by weakness are being filled by China and Russia, powers with much influence, but driving global politics towards authoritarianism.

As yet, there are no red lines to prompt major policy decisions.