But change is already beginning to happen. Frameworks like the G20 and last December’s Climate Change summit in Copenhagen underline the inadequacy of most of our present international institutions.
Among the ideas now being floated there is that of an "Age of Continents", in which it is sheer size that matters, so the world will in future either be run by a G2 made up of China and the U.S., or perhaps by a G3 that includes the EU.
The world’s smaller states – and even bigger ones – are becoming increasingly irrelevant if they try to act alone without being active participants in regional integration and cooperative frameworks. Each EU member state – whether large or small – has to realise that its ability to be in any way of a global player depends on Europe’s collective ability to govern the EU effectively and to make timely decisions. Pooling sovereignty is the only available alternative to global irrelevance.
Global governance also requires predictable and fair funding for tackling the most urgent global problems. The most obvious source of such funding is global taxation of carbon emissions and also of financial transactions. These taxes would not only help to fund development programmes but would also play a vital role in steering such policies as those needed to curb global warming and reduce harmful currency speculation.