Based on the overall size of GDP, the European Union’s economy is second, with the US first and China third. Also, the EU is the second largest exporter of products after China, the second largest importer of products after the US, and the leading importer and exporter of services, while at the same time the EU is the largest FDI investor in the world (2018).
EU-15 had developed a strong enlargement policy (2004 +10, 2007 +2, 2013 + 1, 2025 + 2, 2030 + 2), is addressing the needs of third countries from 2003 onwards through the ENP neighborhood, while donating more than 50% of global humanitarian resources mainly through the UN.
The outcome of these policies was the positive extension of the principles of Europe, i.e. democratization and human rights in international relations, soft power in democratic terms (without the use of military means) etc.
The main weaknesses of the EU are its demographic aging, its energy dependency and its colonial heritage.