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The EU Merry-Go-Round

Summary:
EU leaders have tended to operate on the assumption that Europe is inevitable, and that Europeans are inescapably bound together in a community of fate. But many citizens don’t see it that way, and if they aren’t given a more convincing rationale for European integration, the only inevitability will be the EU’s demise. MADRID – In her first State of the European Union address, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen offered a wide-ranging view of the current moment. She touted Europe’s recent achievements and identified its goals for the coming years. She dedicated significant attention to the European Green Deal and the Digital Agenda, and called for the completion of the banking union and capital-market

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EU leaders have tended to operate on the assumption that Europe is inevitable, and that Europeans are inescapably bound together in a community of fate. But many citizens don’t see it that way, and if they aren’t given a more convincing rationale for European integration, the only inevitability will be the EU’s demise.

MADRID – In her first State of the European Union address, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen offered a wide-ranging view of the current moment. She touted Europe’s recent achievements and identified its goals for the coming years. She dedicated significant attention to the European Green Deal and the Digital Agenda, and called for the completion of the banking union and capital-market integration. In normal times, it would have been a solid, if not particularly inspiring, performance. These are not normal times.

Yes, the policies and actions Von der Leyen described are important. But, at this point, no policy will fortify the EU’s foundations sufficiently. No grand-sounding program or budget increase will ensure its...

Ana Palacio
Ana Palacio, a former Spanish foreign minister and former Senior Vice President of the World Bank, is a member of the Spanish Council of State, a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University, and a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on the United States.

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