A Twenty-First Century Concert of Powers

After the conclusive conference in Locarno, the international study group published a joint policy paper


The global distribution of power is changing. The consequences of this change are instabilities and uncertainties in world politics. The current constellation concerning the situation in the Ukraine serves as testimony that great power conflicts are – despite wishful thinking to the contrary – not yet only a thing of the distant past. How can the international society, how can the great powers, their differences and disagreements notwithstanding, prevent the escalation of conflicts and the outbreak of war? More generally, how can they work towards peaceful and constructive solutions for international security governance?

These issues were dealt with during the conclusive conference of the multi-year research project "The Post-Transatlantic Age: A Twenty-First Century Concert of Powers" in the history-charged Swiss town of Locarno, from 16th to 19th October 2014. The over 20 participating researchers from seven different countries (including PRIF researchers Konstanze Jüngling, Daniel Müller, Harald Müller and Carsten Rauch) jointly elaborated the policy paper "A Twenty-First Century Concert of Powers - Promoting Great Power Multilateralism for the Post-Transatlantic Era":

A 21st Century Concert of Powers, a new great power-based multilateral security institution, could be the timely answer to the security challenges of today and tomorrow, the study group suggests. Based on the norms and practices of the 19th Century “European Concert" but avoiding its shortcomings, a 21st Century Concert, as proposed here, would work largely informally and constitute an effective forum for confidence building, consultation and common preparation of decisions. Given the already tightly institutionalized international order, it would not supersede but complement existing institutions, such as the United Nations.

Besides, the paper, which focuses on recommendations for action and common positions of the group, the study group discussed draft chapters for a collective volume, which will be published as completion of the project and will allow the individual researchers to articulate their personal views on a modern concert of powers and promote them on an academic level.

The project is funded by the “Europe and Global Challenges” programme, launched by the European foundations Compagnia di San Paolo in Turin, Italy, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond in Stockholm, Sweden, and VolkswagenStiftung in Hanover, Germany.

The policy paper is available as a free PDF download.