Laidi, 14 – Professor of International Relations at Sciences Po and director of research at the Center for European Studies at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris (Zaki, “Towards a Post-Hegemonic World: The Multipolar Threat to the Multilateral Order,” Apr 25, 2014, http://www.laidi.com/sitedp/sites/default/files/IP_Towards%20a%20Post-Hegemonic%20World.pdf)//eek
As we have tried to show the retreat from multilateralism has been no accident. It stems from long-term shifts in the balance of power in the world economy, a lack of consensus on a set of increasingly complex global issues, and the increasingly important role played in the international system by a diverse group of emerging economies who may disagree on many things but together share a belief in the importance of economic sovereignty. Taken together this development has to be seen as being structurally detrimental to a Europe which has always seen normative regulation and international institutions as being crucial (Laïdi, 2008). Multilateralism is in many ways in Europe’s political DNA. Indeed, in the aftermath of the Cold War, Europe believed that multilateralism’s time had come (Elsig et al, 2011); and this certainly looked to be the case. In fact, between 1990 and 2005 over 76 multilateral treaties were signed, many of great significance including the 1992 Chemical Weapons Convention, the creation of the WTO in 1994, the 1996 CTBT, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and the 2000 Cartagena Protocol (Elsig et al, 2011). It is no coincidence that for close to a decade the European Union was able to show real international leadership on many subjects, provided they were not security-related (Paterson, 2009). In 1999, Angela Merkel even stated that to address climate change, states needed to delegate their power to an international organisation, regardless of the cost – an unthinkable proposition for any non-European leader to make19. Indeed, at the same time as she was extolling the virtues of multilateralism the United States was retreating from it (Falkner, 2013). However, it was not just the US turn away from multilateralism that was a problem. The fact of the matter was that as one century gave way to another, Europe’s weight within the world was beginning to decline. One simple of measuring this was by looking at greenhouse gas emissions. themselves. When the terms of global negotiations on climate were set at the 1992 Rio Summit, Europe accounted for 23% of greenhouse gas emissions with Europe and the United States together accounting for 50% . Twenty years on, there were still two great powers in the climate area. But they were no longer the same ones, with the United States now accounting for 17% of global emissions and China for 30%. Moreover, if India (5.4%) and Brazil (1.3%) were to be included, it would mean that the four great ‘sovereignist’ powers were now dominant in terms of shaping climate change with Europe now only playing a relatively minor role as an emitter (12% in total)20. This would also explain Europe’s marginalisation in Copenhagen, where the United States and emerging countries finalised a minimal agreement without Europe (Roberts, 2011). The Kyoto Protocol (still championed in Europe) is now utterly obsolete since it only covers less than one third of greenhouse gas emissions (Bodansky and Diringer, 2010). This reality is compounded by Europe’s political and strategic inability to really enter the negotiation process since it is difficult to see how Europe could makes its commitments conditional on those of the others. In the field of trade Europe does of course remain in a strong position. It is after all the world’s leading trading power with a market share that has remained surprisingly stable over the past decade (European Commission, 2012). Furthermore, Europe does have a single trade negotiator with significant leeway over member States once a negotiating mandate is secured. Under Pascal Lamy, then Trade Commissioner (2000-2004), the Commission opted for multilateralism, to the point where it froze all bilateral trade negotiations in order to give the WTO’s Doha Round a full chance. Butfollowing his departure, the Commission in 2006 started to shift and began to explore the possibility of new bilateral agreements with the emerging countries (Evenett, 2007). The European commitment to opening its own market was further eroded as unemployment grew; indeed, even before the euro crisis, the EU had to demonstrate that its trade policy would not adversely impact on European levels of employment (European Commission, 2010). Here the American and European positions coincided. In fact, the desire by both to enter into bilateral negotiations to reach a free trade agreement not only showed how much the two had in common economically but how frustrated they had become with multilateralism. Moreover, by creating a stronger free trade area of their own they would be better placed to deal with China by building a high-standard regulatory space between the United States and Europe to force China to either comply or remain on the side-lines and risk exclusion. At the same time the U.S. has also become actively engaged in negotiating an agreement with its fourteen Transpacific Partnership members, again to the exclusion of China. The idea here, clearly, is to use bilateralism to obtain what multilateralism no longer can: rules that may then become global standards.