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Multilateralism and the EU: a 'Cheap Date'?


Future historians may consider 2010 a defining moment in the evolution of attitudes towards multilateralism. Natural disasters, China's economic rise, and continued sluggish growth elsewhere might well condition future attitudes. Beyond the headlines, three points seem clear. First, building multilateralism is a long game: there is a considerable lag between changed perceptions about the desirability of multilateral cooperation and its realisation. Second, building multilateralism requires political impulse and leadership. Third, the extension of multilateralism requires the right domestic as well as international political conditions. Current political and economic conditions suggest that patience is in order in the quest to build a more multilateral order.