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Contestation: the new dynamic driving global politics

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Contestation dynamics have intensified in recent years, to the point they are now driving global politics.

This shift is not only due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resurgence of violent territorial conflicts worldwide, but also to the escalating rivalry between the United States and China. Perhaps most significantly, an informal coalition of countries is actively promoting an anti-Western discourse and challenging established global governance structures and institutions. There is a fierce global battle over norms, votes, investments and much else.

In this Chaillot Paper, we explore the convergence of diverse challenges to the current international order and how European leaders and policymakers should navigate a world where various forms of contestation are amplifying and accumulating.

Developing successful strategies for Europe to survive and thrive in a world of contestation will not be easy, or cheap. But it is a task that cannot be avoided: it must be a top priority for the new EU leadership taking office in 2024