No secret, here: Europe's got issues. The EU has a number of problems to tackle for it to survive—and the Greek crisis was just one of them. There have been debates over trillion bailouts, and open-border policies, with France deporting 800 Roma in August. This week, commentators have been reflecting on other challenges facing the EU following a long essay on European integration by Henry Farrell in the journal Democracy. Farrell thinks the EU needs tough economic and political reforms, though "European leaders forgot how to justify integration to their citizens." Here's what he and two others are saying.
- The Problems Europe Needs to Address, with U.S. Help Europe has a lot of problems, writes Henry Farrell. It is in Americans' best interest to help solve them. "Even when the United States wants to ignore Europe, it has much more in common with it than with most other parts of the world. ... The European Union has not only helped bring peace and stability, but has helped spread democracy in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall." But among the challenges confronting the European Union are a "general crisis in European integration," with "the EU [lacking] the political legitimacy to undertake major institutional changes," as well as an urgent need for reform to promote "sustainable fiscal policies" and "cushion asymmetric shocks." He proposes a few ways to go about addressing these issues. "What is remarkable is how few of the proposals that have been discussed forthrightly acknowledge that the European Union is an intensely political space," Farrell writes. "America's most important role may seem modest-making it emphatically clear to Europe, and in particular to Germany, that collapse of EMU or imposition of a fiscal straitjacket would have unacceptable international consequences, and quietly nudging Europeans onto a beneficial path of institutional change."
- ...Not to Mention Europe's Foreign Policy Conundrum At World Politics Review, Judah Grunstein thinks "the same vacuum Farrell identifies in terms of the union's economic planning and monetary governance exists in its approach to foreign policy as well." He also likes "Farrell's observation that, if the EU is in desperate need of a new raison d'être, it's not due to some inherent weakness or shortcoming. Rather, it's in part because ... the union's alternative model of peaceful diplomacy has simply not taken hold in the rest of the world." Right now, "the problem is that Europe's military resources do not match the global ambitions such a vision implies," while, at the same time, "any reform to the global governance system will require reducing European prerogatives rather than expanding them."
- And to All These Problems, Let's Add the Roma "The European Union has plenty to worry about: soaring debts, wobbling banks, declining influence, a war in Afghanistan," writes the Financial Times' Gideon Rachman. "But at their most recent summit, EU leaders took a break from the serious stuff to have a blazing row about the fate of Europe's gypsies." Not that he's saying the problems posed by the Roma aren't serious: "the political and moral questions raised by [their] migration are both difficult and dangerous for the EU," he continues. In the long-term, the Roma need to be educated, trained, and employed, and that won't come cheaply. He sees this, in some ways, as a nice test of the European Union's ability to overcome the many challenges it currently faces:
In the long-run, the cherished right of free movement of people within the EU may come into question as resurgent nation states reclaim the right to control their borders and to bestow the benefits of citizenship. The Commission likes to talk about "European solutions". Now it needs to find one.