New York Times
September 1, 2012
Who won the most medals at the Olympics? Europe. Who has the largest economy in the world? Europe again. And where do most people want to go on holiday? Europe, of course. On many measures of power, the European Union belongs with the United States and China in a global Big Three. Yet say that to officials in Beijing, Washington or any other world capital today and they would probably laugh out loud. As European leaders stagger into yet another round of crisis summitry, this potential superpower is widely viewed as the sick man of the developed world.
Why? The flawed design of the euro zone has made Europe’s recession more acute than America’s, and a collapse of the euro zone would drag the rest of the world economy down with it. But why haven’t Europeans shown the political will to save the euro zone by moving toward closer fiscal and political union? What happened to the forces that drove the project of European unification forward over the last 60 years? And, if those have faded, where might Europeans find new inspiration?
As I recently argued in Foreign Affairs, the five great drivers of European unification since the 1950s have now either disappeared or lost much of their energy.