Project Syndicate

Europe’s Three Eastern Questions

Today, the European project is shaking. Of course, I am confident that the eurozone’s ongoing sovereign-debt crisis will be overcome, and that a more integrated and effective Europe will emerge. But, to get to that improved Europe, not only must the sovereign debt crisis be resolved; relations with three major countries to Europe’s east – Turkey, Russia, and Ukraine – will need to be put on more secure footing.

I was of the generation in my country that lived through the transition from dictatorship to democracy four decades ago. For us, the European Union was a dream. Indeed, we used to quote Ortega y Gasset: “If Spain is the problem, Europe is the solution.”

I continue to believe, very deeply, that Europe is the solution, particularly for societies that need to deepen – if not establish – a democratic tradition. Closer relations between Europe and Turkey, Russia, and Ukraine can deliver for them many of the same benefits that we in Spain always associated with Europe.

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