Western Europe presents a power distribution where Germany, France, and Italy are the dominant world powers. Middle powers and semicore states also play significant roles, albeit to a lesser extent. However, it is crucial to underscore the role of regional cooperation, which has been essential in recent decades to further strengthen Western Europe’s position on the global stage.
Distribution of National Power in Western Europe
In Western Europe, the most powerful countries are Germany, France, and Italy, considered «world powers» in the international geostructure. These nations have significant regional and global influence due to their high material, semimaterial, and immaterial capacities. According to 2021 figures, Germany leads the region with a power index of 0.840 in the WPI, closely followed by France with 0.819, and then Italy with 0.785.
These three European powers, founding members of the European Union and full members of the Group of Seven (G7), wield considerable political and economic influence both within the region and on the global stage: their national power gives them a prominent role in shaping European policies and making global decisions.
Apart from these world powers, Western Europe also hosts a range of countries considered «middle powers,» «semicore states,» and «secondary semiperipheral states» in the international geostructure.
In the category of middle powers, we find Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Austria. These countries, although they do not reach the power level of world powers, play a significant role as supporters of the world powers in maintaining the status quo. Spain, with a power index of 0.759, stands out not only as a middle power in Western Europe but also for its historical and cultural influence in Latin America.
The semicore states in Western Europe include Portugal, Greece, and Luxembourg. These nations have considerably lower power levels compared to the world powers and middle powers. However, they still exert some political and economic influence within the subregion and beyond Europe.
Lastly, Malta is classified as a secondary semiperipheral state. With a power index of 0.474, Malta has more limited influence compared to other countries in Western Europe. Although its national power is lower, it can still play a significant role in specific issues within the subregion.
Significance of regional cooperation in Western Europe
In terms of trends and patterns in the distribution of power in Western Europe, a high concentration of power can be observed thanks to the significant number of world powers (Germany, France, and Italy) and middle powers (Spain, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg). These countries have predominant influence and play a crucial role in shaping policies and making decisions at both the European and global levels.
It is worth noting that, in the case of Western Europe, cooperation has played a vital role in managing common challenges. As the countries in the subregion face similar issues such as security, migration, climate change, and trade, collaboration has been essential in effectively addressing these challenges. Regional cooperation in Western Europe has allowed subregional countries to strengthen their collective position on the world stage and tackle challenges more efficiently, with the European Union being the prominent political and institutional framework for joint decision-making and problem-solving.
May 24, 2023