Conventional wisdom today is that the liberal international order is in crisis. Certainly, multilateralism as embodied by international organizations is under stress. The EU, a political and economic creature sui generis, also faces plenty of internal and external challenges. Yet, the observation is too often stretched beyond measure. Crisis is framed as imminent collapse, and used to justify calls for EU-Russia rapprochement.
The premise that international institutions are becoming obsolete implies that we are entering an age of predatory great power geopolitics. Putin's latest proposal to hold a special summit of the permanent members of the UN Security Council encapsulates his preferred modus operandi in world affairs – the good old concert of powers. This idea is obviously not going to fly. It is based on a misconception that the world is in total disarray and in need of self-proclaimed guardians of stability. The rumors of the demise of multilateralism and its poster child, the European Union, are greatly exaggerated (as was the case with rumors of the demise of the state in an earlier era). The actual EU crisis we have been witnessing is mispresented as a near-death experience. Overstatement by Moscow of the gravity of the EU's internal crisis (often for domestic reasons) tends to encourage Moscow to act more assertively, but seems rather unhelpful for any kind of serious conversation between the two.