Their flags were still there: at the European Parliament in Brussels, August 2011.
François Lenoir / Courtesy Reuters

When the heads of the EU’s three major institutions -- the European Commission, the European Council, and the European Parliament -- collected the Nobel Peace Prize together in Oslo last December, they spotlighted the vague mandate and lack of institutional clarity that are at the core of the organization’s current problems. Unless these institutions can garner legitimacy among European citizens and transform the EU into a real federal union, with common fiscal and economic policies to complement its single currency, Europe will be worried by its future as much as its past and continue to find its social model battered by the gales of an ever more competitive global economy. 

The first step forward has to be developing an economic growth strategy, to escape the union’s current debt trap and to create breathing space for the tough reforms that can make Europe as a whole competitive again.

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  • NICOLAS BERGGRUEN is Founder and President of Berggruen Holdings and Chair of the Berggruen Institute on Governance’s Council for the Future of Europe. NATHAN GARDELS is a Senior Adviser at the Berggruen Institute on Governance and Editor of New Perspectives Quarterly.
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