Europe’s image and soft power continues to fade around the world but Europe's foreign policy did not unravel in 2012. The EU managed to preserve the essence of its acquis diplomatique.
President Obama's continued foreign policy pivot away from Europe may be unwelcome in the EU, but it creates an opportunity for Germany to show that it is capable of taking responsibility in foreign affairs.
As the eurozone begins a process of accelerated integration and British Prime Minister David Cameron comes under increasing pressure from Eurosceptic Conservative MPs and public opinion, a moment of truth may come sooner rather than later. So does the United Kingdom have a European future?
As speculation about a Greek exit from the eurozone continues, Germany is pushing ahead with plans for a new treaty that might result in a transformation of the EU – or its disintegration.
If the EU has any real aspiration to be a normative power it must rethink its 'strategic partnerships' with the world's other powers, reflecting the importance of values like democracy, rather than ignoring them.
Europe’s relationship with Beijing will largely be determined by the emerging “special relationship” between China and Germany. However, the rest of Europe must find ways to help Germany be a good European in its relationship with China – or risk being cut out of the loop.
Since the beginning of the euro crisis, there has been much discussion of actual or potential German “hegemony” in Europe. But Germany's self-centeredness and short-term thinking disqualify it as a hegemon.
Germany's minimalist approach to fixing the eurozone crisis is not only leading to ever more bailouts. It is also harming the rest of the eurozone because Germany's 'ordoliberalism' is too inflexible to provide a coherent answer to the crisis.
Berlin's failure to support intervention in Libya but willingness to arm Saudi Arabia shows the central contradiction in a foreign policy that is increasingly driven by the needs of a geoeconomic power's export industry.
It is wrong to think of Germany's assertive response to the eurozone crisis as a simple case of old-fashioned Realpolitik. Berlin's willingness to throw its weight around economically still sits awkardly with reluctance on military issues. In short, Germany is a geoeconomic power.