European Unity in the Face of Crises

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Europe is used to dealing with crises. In fact, what we now call the European Union is a result of one of the biggest crises in modern history. But there is something different about the crises that Europe faces today: they are all happening at a time when solidarity within the EU is weaker than ever before. From the Eurozone crisis to the migration crisis to the rise of right-wing extremist groups and recent terror attacks on the continent, Europe has her hands full, trying to balance conflicting national interests and uniform policy response.

Jean Monnet, a founding father of European unity, once said, “Europe will be forged in crises, and will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises.” It seems more and more unlikely that the sum of the solutions to current issues will leave Europe stronger and more unified than before. Sir Michael Leigh, former Director General for EU Enlargement at the European Commission, says, “EU unity has been challenged by almost a decade of low growth and high unemployment […] Europe needs to find new motivation and new incentives if it is to move forward.”

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