That Europe’s best days are over has become a common refrain. Journalists, analysts, and even world leaders observe that “the Continent’s grand unity project is failing, and its global influence is fading”; lament “the coming erosion of the European Union”; and explain “why Europe no longer matters.”
Such pessimism can hardly come as a surprise. Crises loom well beyond the European horizon. China has arisen as a major economic power. Russia is asserting its will across the globe. Citizens of democratic countries have responded to the lure of economic populism. And with the United States in retreat from multilateralism, and the United Kingdom exiting the EU, even the union’s most ardent supporters have grown understandably convinced of the inevitability of its decline.
And yet an important dimension of the EU’s power remains unaffected by any of these trends, and that is the EU’s capacity to
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