The gepolitic lesson of Josep Borrell

There are speeches that are key, not only for their content but also for their lucidity and scope. This is certainly the case with Josep Borrell’s speech to the EU ambassadors. Because companies are also geopolitical players, this speech also addresses them. Let’s zoom in on the key moments of this uncompromising analysis of the global context and the European model.

Copyright. Gilbert Garcin
Copyright. Gilbert Garcin


We live in a world of radical uncertainty. The scale of the changes is unprecedented and requires to be flexible and resilient. What we never thought would happen is happening. And we have refused to admit that the threats unfolding before our eyes would become a reality:

  • War in Ukraine
  • The escalation in Taiwan in the context of the violent US/China competition
  • The seriousness of the global food crisis, which is only in its early stages, and the resulting humanitarian drama


Not only is the world multipolar and multi-players, but our frameworks of analysis no longer work.

On one side, two great powers are facing off, while on the other, intermediate powers, whose geopolitical positions fluctuate according to the issues at stake, are fighting each other for access to strategic domains: natural resources, maritime, and space.

And in this context, the Global South does not align with the global system because it rightly believes that it has not received the recognition and fair share it deserves.


Instead, we continue to work in silos, climate on one side, trade on the other, etc. We think too much “among ourselves” and we do not reflect on how others perceive the exportation of our European model.We need to listen more and better to the rest of the world. We think that we have rationality on our side and that we know better than others what is good for the world. And we do not understand that everyone wants to be recognized in their identity and does not want to merge into the “West model.”


We must begin to do things that we have never done in the past, test solutions that have never been considered. And we must find a balance between crisis management, which will remain permanent, and long-term thinking on climate, energy, technology, pandemics, etc. At the heart of our challenges is the battle of narratives. We must reconquer hearts and minds, and communication is the key. The information battle is raging, and in this game, the US and China have industrialized their communication.

Why it matters: because it is urgent to explain the link between “political freedom” and “better life.” Democracy and political freedom cannot be traded for economic prosperity alone.”