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Europe in the Time of Trump by Guy Verhofstadt

The transatlantic alliance – which for decades has underpinned global stability, fortified democracy, and safeguarded the West as we know it – is under severe strain, and risks terminal decline. US President Donald Trump – who has repeatedly challenged America’s traditional alliances, including by attacking NATO – undoubtedly bears much responsibility for this deterioration. But Europe, through its inaction, has also contributed to this state of affairs – and now it must contribute to fixing it.

The West’s malaise is, no doubt, a result of the ongoing and unresolved economic-governance challenges created by globalization. These challenges are particularly acute in the European Union, where policy paralysis has prevented governments from fully implementing the reforms needed to overcome the financial crisis that began a decade ago.

European leaders agree that the eurozone’s current institutional setup is flawed, and they know what must be done. But they remain plagued by inertia, immobilized by conservatism, and preoccupied by domestic politics, with many leaders allowing themselves to be taken hostage by populist Euroskepticism. As a result, they have failed to take the steps required to ensure the EU’s long-term stability, including a complete banking union to backstop Europe’s finances and a genuine system of EU-wide economic governance.

The absence of a cogent US president who is willing and able to encourage the EU to make further progress toward integration does not help matters. But European leaders must take responsibility for their own recalcitrance – and take action to save the Union.

The good news is that popular support for the EU has improved markedly since the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote in June 2016, creating a window of opportunity to deliver meaningful reform. But the window will not stay open for long. And, so far, EU leaders have failed to leverage renewed support for the European project to argue for change.

Click here to read the complete report: Europe in the Time of Trump by Guy Verhofstadt - Project Syndicate

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