Friday, March 4, 2011

The EU's "Grand Area"

Earlier this year the British geostrategist James Rogers introduced this map of the European Union's current sphere of influence on European Geostrategy (part of Ideas on Europe). He calls it  the EU's "grand area." (See his full report from the Egmont Institute here.)

The zone covers a sort of C-shaped expanse that curves from Greenland and the North Pole, spreads over the European continent, North Africa and the Caucuses and then over the Indian Ocean, ultimately including Southeast Asian states like Singapore and Indonesia.

Rogers' depiction offers a reading of the eurozone's influence that is equal parts impressive and troubling. 

Impressive, in that the EU still leverages power over a huge swath over its home continent and former colonies. It includes the power centers of Russia and Central Asia, as well as those currently engulfed in popular unrest in Africa and the Middle East. Despite the grumblings of economists and euroskeptics, the EU still exerts massive influence on a huge slice of global territory. 

Troubling, however, in that those powers outside the "grand area" rank among those poised to dominate global affairs in the near and further future. The United States is conspicuously absent from the chart, as is for that matter the whole of the Western hemisphere. Many of the countries steadily gaining rank in tomorrow's multipolar power scheme -- including Brazil, India and China -- also fall outside the EU's influence zone. Even many of sub-Saharan Africa's former colonies align more to non-European powers, such as regional players like South Africa, than to their old patriarchs. 

There is much to hope for in the global power the EU says it wants to be. But, given that a good chunk of factors are missing from the EU's strategic equation, there's just as much to trigger doubts.  


Also see Rogers' illustration of current and future strategic recommendations for the EU, its neighborhood and those outside both.


  1. The 5 criterias on page 25 make this map about spheres of interest rather than speheres of influence IMHO.

    But this map is wanting, whether this is about influence or interest. F.i, Gabon is out, Afghanistan and Pakistan are in.