The winning slogan "Economy stupid" from the Clinton campaign 1992 has been at the centre also in EU discussions during the financial crisis and onwards.
But the Arab Spring and the crisis with Russia and Ukraine should teach us that we need
to focus much more on perceptions. By that I mean not only on our perceptions but on perceptions of peoples to the east and south of Europe.
The simple truth is that most people in Russia and eastern Ukraine are quite content with current
Russian policies. So it is not just an issue of "Putinism". And its not just an issue of winning an information war.
Beyond sanctions and other restrictive policies Europe needs to demonstrate that it cares about the future of its neighbours beyond
the current borders of enlargement and neighbourhood policies.
This is far from obvious at present. We need to show it in our bilateral policies and also in our support to the organisations where the relevant countries are members, inlcuding notably
the UN and the OSCE.