Europe is strong on soft power. An integrated civil society can exert unified influence beyond its borders. European civil society, while increasingly integrated, benefits from being free from the homogenising forces of a fully developed political framework. It is able to establish flexible networks, links and communication channels, which combine the global power of its media, the brand appeal of its lifestyle industries and the diverse landscape of its many NGOs and political organisations. While largely invisible and diffuse, tireless interactions between civil societies help make the European Union a powerful global actor.
But soft power is limited, especially when it not supported by traditional foreign policy tools. First, it works much better in periods of peace than in emergencies. Second, it is naturally unstable, disorganised and scattered. It is difficult or impossible to use soft power to bring about specific outcomes.