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A Less Perfect Union

Europe After the Greek Debt Crisis

Demonstrators gather to protest against the European Central Bank's handling of Greece's debt repayments, in London, June 2015. Neil Hall / Courtesy Reuters

The European Union is an unparalleled historical experiment in governance. There is no other example in modern times of such an intensive effort to establish a peaceful, prosperous political community beyond the nation-state. Forged out of the ashes of two devastating world wars and a great depression, the union of nation-states has been increasingly bound together through markets, laws, and institutions. Although the trust and optimism that must underpin such a community has waxed and waned over the years, the poisonous atmosphere that has arisen in the wake of the Greek debt negotiations is remarkable, particularly as it comes on the heels of several decades of such extraordinary success.

First, let us be clear: The EU is not collapsing, and, no matter what happens to Greece and the eurozone, the EU’s institutions, laws, and policies will remain in place for the foreseeable future. But the perception that Germany made

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