Echoes of the Past in the Debate Over Europe's Future

Feb 28, 2018 | 19:01 GMT

Demonstrators protest the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union in front of the British Parliament building on Feb. 26, 2018.

The European Union faces several formidable challenges in the years ahead, not least among them the loss of the United Kingdom as a member.

(JACK TAYLOR/Getty Images)


  • The debate over reforming the European Union will once again expose the rifts among member states' priorities and strategic imperatives.
  • At the heart of the discussion is the enduring question about whether the bloc can overcome history and geography to become a federal superstate.
  • In the long run, the European Union's main challenge will be to keep its internal divisions from paralyzing it, as challenges in and beyond the bloc multiply.

The European Union is thinking about the kind of bloc it wants to be. As EU members consider a range of reforms -- including measures to help the eurozone better withstand crisis and to make European institutions more efficient -- the underlying question is whether the bloc should become a federal superstate. The conversation isn't a new one for the Continent. But given the many challenges facing the bloc, and the differing priorities among its members, the latest iteration of the federalism discussion could deepen the divides among the European Union's constituent states....

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