The Economic Role of the EU in the Global Economy: A Comparative Analysis

The external economic relations (EER) of the European Union of the 27 (hereafter EU) with the rest of the world can be perceived as included in a world economic system which, in its simplest form1, constitutes the, so called, EU-Japan- USA triad.

The tracing and evaluation of the economic role of the EU relative to the other partners of the triad in general and the USA in particular requires, first, the analysis of the issue of the external economic relations and then the synthesis of those factors that determine its role in the new global division of labor. We adopt the following definition of the economic role which is widely acceptable: prescribed or expected economic behaviour (leading to a certain performance level) associated with a particular position or status in a group or organization. Status is meant as a relative rank in a hierarchy.

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