Last month, we held a Citizens’ Panel on the future of multilateralism. A few days later, Russia invaded Ukraine and completely upended the established multilateral world order. What comes next?

We took some of the questions the citizens and civil society representatives on our panel came up with, and put them to a panel of experts during Friends of Europe’s recent event on post-pandemic multilateralism. Responding to the questions were:

💬 Christina Kokkinakis, Director, Values and Multilateral Relations, EEAS

💬 Mohamed Zeeshan, Journalist & Foreign Affairs columnist

💬 Rosebell Kagumire, Pan-African Feminist Activist & Author

You can see their responses in the video above, and you can watch the full debate on Friends of Europe’s website here.

What will the future multipolar world order look like? Will Putin’s war on Ukraine force Russia to depend on Chinese support? What might China think of that arrangement? What role should Europe play on the global stage? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: (cc by 4.0) Kremlin
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.



47 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Karima

    hopefully the multipolar world will make the US very small and make room for more genuine nations ❤️

  2. avatar
    Lili

    Shame on Chineses that they support and encourage for so long the cruel dictature from Kremlin! Cruelty and discrimations should not be promoted between nations any longer! China should be sanctioned for its support and encouragement to this illigally and cruel invasjon of Russia in Ukraine!

    • avatar
      jthk

      How many wars the US and NATO have been killing people with wars waged. China has not got to war with any country after the Korean War and a brief conflict with Vietnam in the 1960s. In my opinion, Ukraine is being used as the proxy of the US to pressurize Russia and to prevent conciliation of Russia with Europe so that the US can intervene Europe. It is about a proxy war manipulated by the US since the Cold War. The ghost of last century’s Cold War are still raging in Europe. .

  3. avatar
    George

    Well… EU will declare that “coal is green energy”, as it is all natural.
    USA will try to force China into a conflict too, as now – EU is going back 100 years and it’s no longer a threat for the USAn market.
    Russia and China will leave EU and USA in the dust… let’s just hope we won’t need iodine tables too.

    • avatar
      Jose Quintans

      China will have the upper hand on its relationship with Russia, and on the ‘very long run/march’, China will defacto own the Asian part of Russia, as they will invest on it more heavily, move in more citizens, and will want to protect their investments there, and will steer decision making in Russia.

      USA will continue to have the upper hand on its relationship with the EU, and I don’t know if that is bad or good (I wish the EU would have a stronger voice, and be able to impose its way in some world affairs when necessary).

      I think China may be enjoying the show, seeing how Europe is being bullied, and a possible reapproach between the EU and Russia is harder if not impossible, leaving Russia alone, and weaker to negotiate with China.

      I think Chinese media is becoming more credible when it comes to expose our weaknesses, and better at steering our focus out of their weakneses, and their strength may make totalitarian upticks in the west seem more acceptable, which is worrisome.

  4. avatar
    EU-Reform Proactive

    I wonder if Mr Putin & Co. ever tried to read research papers or only USSR- KGB manuals?

    A good start to understand these complexities better- would be to read first:

    https://lseideas.medium.com/europe-in-a-multipolar-world-4e89fa83a5ef#:~:text=A%20strong%20European%20'pole'%20can,number%20of%20careful%20balancing%20acts.

    Quote:
    “A strong European ‘pole’ can not only help the Europeans to realise their interests on the global stage but can also contribute to a more stable multipolar order. This requires not only the building-up of actorness (=capacity to behave actively and deliberately about other actors in the international system) and joint capabilities, but also a number of careful balancing acts.”

    Since the idea of a “European pole” (=CoE-47) is systematically been torpedoed by Mr Putin- one needs to wait for the fall of “Putinism”- provided we all survive his game to exterminate all “Nazis” & all his critics on this world- through nuclear war & the extinction of everything- just to make sure!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Putinism

    During the short time left & before we might all perish, I dare to speculate, whether Mr Putin wants to re-create his new bipolar USSR political order, or if he suffers from- in medical terms known as- “Bipolar disorder”?

    The only extraordinary order I can think of- is a political wonder!

  5. avatar
    JT HK

    A very weak Russia or broken up of Russia means lost a big power to balance that of the US hegemony. This explains the importance of a neutral and demilitarized Ukraine. Putin is actually helping to maintain a buffer zone between EU and Russia, which is required for perpetuate peace of Europe. This is how a multipolar world order should be working.

  6. avatar
    Bartoszcze

    There will be more wars, including nuclear ones.

  7. avatar
    JT HK

    China appears not to rush taking any unilateral action. China has always been advocating to support prevailing international order represented by the UN, which is, war should be the last resort after expiring all efforts. It appears that the breaking up of the Soviet Union appears more the initiative of Russian leaders and people who have collectively opted to join Western democracy so as to end hostility for long-term peace and prosperity and coexistence with its European neighbours rather than the US effort alone. Europe has to rethink over what effort is has ever been trying to create a peace coexistence with Russian people? Outbreak of a war at the middle of Europe is destructive post-Covid economic recovery. EU leaders ought to think of what is the best for the people not American great again.

  8. avatar
    JT HK

    Simple minded people relying on traditional perspectives of the Cold War binary mentality in making decision which are usually fault and stupid, causing more drastic and long-term damage on oneself. Such as the US removal of Russia from SWIFT, which equals to the demolition of the US dollar hegemony. The US sanction of Russian oil, which equals to killing Europe as the US is now the biggest oil export country, while EU post-Covid economy recovery is heavily relying on cheaper oil and natural gas from Russia and other countries at the proximity.

  9. avatar
    Stefano

    A nightmare if EU won’t transform quickly in USofE!

  10. avatar
    Julia

    It appears that the US, EU, NATO and a bunch of billionaire corporations don’t want a multipolar world. But we don’t want a unipolar world and neither does the rest of the world.

    • avatar
      jthk

      Fully agree.

    • avatar
      Neil

      Spot on

  11. avatar
    Olivier

    You are actually creating an alliance between China and Russia which is bringing Europe in great danger..

  12. avatar
    JT HK

    As three of the United Nations Security Council permanent members are going crazy to fuel the Russia and Ukraine conflict, China is the only key support of the international system to protect world peace and security as represented by the United Nations and its charters. China’s neutrality has sent a clear signal for countries support peaceful way to solve international conflicts. China is trying to prevent the recurrence of a third world war and at the same time to urge for socioeconomic recovery of the whole world after two years of Covid-19 attack of man. Would the other 3 permanent members of the UN Security Council please resume their proper leadership role in the UN and stop fuelling the war and learn from China, to stop the war through negotiation and providing humanitarian aids rather than giving weapons for the Ukrainians to die.

  13. avatar
    Lili

    Let’s hope chineses are human enough to not support Russia and Kremlin dictature for such horrific actions against Ukraine! If they do, they must support penalties!

    • avatar
      Areg

      they are already supporting Russia!

    • avatar
      Silvia

      Perhaps it is to us to act, and to avoid as often as possible “made in China” products?

    • avatar
      Spyros

      Nice idea.
      Let us launch an embargo on Chinese products.
      It d be interesting to see

    • avatar
      Mwamba

      IAM sorry to tell you that, it’s business as usual, how many wars are there in the world? Did you see human changing? NO , for this one it’s not gonna make any difference….. Sorry for those who live in wars , be it American led or Russian one !!

  14. avatar
    JT HK

    In my opinion, France and Germany ought to stand up for world peace rather than fuelling the war with the US. Europe needs post-Covid social and economic recovery not American Great Again. It has been for 77 years after end of World War II Europe has been surviving under the auspices of the US. How come the whole Europe cannot prosper like China which was a broken country in great poverty. Its GDP was only about US$30.55 billion in 1952. It has just bypassed the collective GDP of EU. How come the more advanced and affluent Europe cannot prosper? It is because China has been refusing to go to war apart from the Korean War which was to secure itself a buffer zone against US invasion. On the contrary, there are wars around whenever Europe has the opportunity to prosper. Same story has been happening each time, at the birth of Euro in 1999, there was the war of Kosovo. When Europe was ready for recover from the 2008 Wall Street led financial crisis, the Arab Spring had led to serious influx of refugees which had eventually led to BREXIT. When it is time for post-Covid recovery, Ukraine’s EU and NATO membership have forced Russia to carry out this special military operation for permanent peace and security. If EU does not stop fuelling the aggression with the US and even sanction its own member states Hungary and Poland, EU might be broken up beyond repair.

  15. avatar
    JT HK

    Europe can contribute more to protect humanity by putting more attention on the 40 US biochemical laboratories in Ukraine and 300 more all over the world. Is Covid-19 not killing enough people in Europe and all over the world? The Covid death More than 6.5 million, the US is 967K. When comparing with the Covid death, Ukraine’s war death is unnecessary and can be stopped. Why the EU has joined the US which has turned a blind eye to its own dying people of 1 million but spend money on Ukraine when it is depending on printing and borrowing money to survive? Can such a rogue state be a leader of Europe? Can European leaders following the US representing interests of Europe and its own people? This is time Europe has to think rationally, Europe does not live for America Great Again but for Europe to prosper and lead global peace and security. Over 300 US Biochemical weapon laboratories around the world are time bombs which is more dangerous than Russia and any weapon of mass destruction. As a matter of fact, Russia is the whistle blower of US dangerous laboratory all over the world. For the sake of the 6 million people died, stop fuelling the war with the US. The world need cooperation peace for social and economic recovery, particularly Covid killing has not yet stopped. America is sick, the world cannot embrace its illness and go crazy further for the sake of the values and humanity Europe claimed to uphold.

  16. avatar
    Gabi

    Biden heft gisteren toch de rockers verzekerd dat ze niet naar de lucifers moeten greepen, de Europese roekers krijgen gaz tot 2030,je ziet direct dat een Democrat aan de macht is, denkt aan de mensen op de straat, 🤔Europese commissie overweight nu de roekers binnen te halen 😏😲

  17. avatar
    Anonymous

    Both are too ambitious and amoral to trust each other.

  18. avatar
    Frederic

    Both are too ambitious and amoral to trust each other.

  19. avatar
    Petrica

    Și chinezul e mai înalt decât tetea Putinel!

  20. avatar
    Xavier

    This will BE a lethal Fusion witch will Turn Europe the Lights Out ..

  21. avatar
    Manfred Maximilian

    China needs Russian raw materials and Russian natural gas. So China and Russia will build good relationships in the future.

  22. avatar
    Paul

    Putin’s actions presage the demise of Russia & reinforces the hegemony of US led Western democracies……China has been noticeably quiet since the initial failure of the invasion & subsequent catastrophic failures of Russian forces…..so, plus ca change ..!

  23. avatar
    Jevgeni

    US and EU have completly destroyed UN-based World order by flexing or selectively applying international principles set by UN. And now we are upset that some countries does not want to play our game by our rules 🤷‍♂️

    • avatar
      Bartoszcze

      It was not only US and EU. The UN is an organisation whose time has not yet come.

  24. avatar
    Yannick

    Hot. It will look hot. Because while we keep ourselves busy with petty fights between men with overblown egos, the window of opportunity for keeping the climate within a liveable range of control is quickly evaporating.
    But, assuming the climate issue could be ignored, as this question presupposes, then the answer depends on .. when? I tend to think that freedom and well-being inevitably always prevail, simply because at some point, people get angry if their basic needs are not met. Our democracies are not a panacea, but it is an evolution towards justice. Autocrats, plutocrats, kleptocrats, and other dictators can keep their population quiet only for that long. Russians will eventually say ‘enough’, and the Chinese are only tolerating their system as long as there is economic growth. The only problem is that, like North Korea seems to demonstrate, it can take time, particularly if the power in control keeps a tight control on information flows with a policy of complete isolation.
    Anyway, in my view, the real problem is not coming from Russia or China, they will ‘evolve’. The problem seems to be coming from the US itself, which has been clearly regressing, both culturally and institutionally. I certainly hope Europe stays clear-minded.

    • avatar
      Arben

      Don’t worry! Europ has Always made the B…!

  25. avatar
    JT HK

    Europe is being torn between the whole world and a falling hegemon. The formation of EU is not to turn itself a proxy of a falling hegemon and Europe living under the grace of the America. Apart from EU and Five Eyes countries, proxy of the America, the whole world refuse to fuel the sanction against Russia. People all over the world have suffered enough in the pandemic. People want social and economic recovery not war. How can Europe claim itself support democracy? Democracy is about serving the people. Europe is sanctioning its people not Russia.

  26. avatar
    Bartoszcze

    I wouldn’t say it was multilateral, more of a unilateral, US-rules based.

  27. avatar
    Panayiotis

    Expansion of nato hopefully will not end to nuclear but eventually lead to military alliance russia with china and probably others ending the multipolar world

  28. avatar
    Bart

    “Upended multilateralism”… lol. Mode like, “signaled the existence of a unipolar world”.

  29. avatar
    Julia

    Russia invaded Ukraine to defend and protect Russia against a very real NATO threat on their doorstep via Ukraine. Ukraine is a traitor neighbour endangering Russia who is egged on by the US and the decision-makers of the EU. I think this is because the US mega-corporations of energy and trade have realised that globalisation and free trade harmed their profits. I also think that these US-EU mega-corporations have decided on a multi-polar world and have divided up the world and they want dibs on the “western customer base’. The only thing that worries me is the US GMO rubbish grains and insatiable greed for energy profits. These mega-corporations do not care if they endanger or harm citizens’ life, health or wealth. They are happy to cause mass suffering. It is sad that the EU has been usurped by these greedy elites and only serves them at the expense of the people.

  30. avatar
    Rajesh

    It’s time to dismantle UN it has become a toy gun for US & EU.
    Dismantle Nato it’s a a proxy weapon of US to sell arms and security services to maintain its pseudo superiority .over Europeans.

  31. avatar
    JT HK

    Luckily China, the remaining permanent member of the UN Security Council and all the non-West countries like India, the Middle East, ASEAN countries, South America and Africa are not joining the US-led gang of bandits to rob Russian people. Otherwise, the international order represented by the UN would be collapsed.

  32. avatar
    JT HK

    We are actually witnessing the emergence of a “New World Disorder” rather than a new order when the US is leading its allies to rob any country and people they like, to judge who is a criminal, murderer, which country ought to change elected president. The robbery comes to a climax currently when the US-led allies are using the excuse of “Russia invasion of Ukraine”. How about the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq? Why EU does not sanction the US invasion to Iraq against the objection of the International society? When they so-called civilized states and so-called modern men have turned themselves into a gang of bandits, there is nothing call world order or international order, there is only world disorder and international disorder.

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