The European Union Political Crisis: What Can the EU Learn from the U.S.?
Over the past 60 years, the process of European integration has gradually transformed a divided, war-torn continent into a model for reconciliation and unification and a prosperous global leader. Recently, however, a crisis of confidence has gripped the European Union and threatens not only its economic strength, but also its social, political, and institutional durability. The crisis is now testing the limits of integration within the current framework. Increasingly, Europe appears to be at a crossroads between competing visions for “more Europe” or a “multi-speed Europe” with variable degrees of integration.
On March 4, the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings (CUSE), in cooperation with the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University SAIS and the European Parliament’s Liaison Office, hosted a discussion with European Parliament Member and Chair of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Group Guy Verhofstadt. In his comments, Mr. Verhofstadt considered the EU’s future political and economic integration and the parallels with America’s experiment in federalism. David Frum of Newsweek and The Daily Beast offered comments and moderated the discussion. Senior Fellow Fiona Hill, director of CUSE, provided introductory remarks.
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[Trump] didn't say one word about Ukraine and he had to be briefed on this stuff. The only person to say that the United States says the annexation of Crimea wasn't legal and disagrees with Russia was the president of Russia. The overall contrast [with Trump's criticisms of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and the EU earlier in the trip] coupled with Trump's inability to say Russia had done anything to contribute to the downturn of US-Russia relations, either way it's scary. Either he forgot there's a problem or he wasn't willing. He would have had no problem listing his grievances against Germany, but against Putin, he's not capable of saying anything.
[European allies will be relieved Trump did not announce major concessions but] will note that this U.S. president is much more interested in domestic politics than geopolitics or anything to do with Europe... [Trump] doesn’t worry about getting too close to Russia now, his base won’t mind and his people won’t resign.