An imperfect union: Can the EU be saved?

In a four-part series, the German newspaper Der Spiegel takes an in-depth look at whether the European Union is destined for dissolution, or whether there is enough commitment among European leaders – and citizens – to fight for its future.

Part One considers some of the bolder ideas for restructuring and rescuing the union, including shrinking the number of member countries, allowing citizens to vote directly for “European commissioners,” and strengthening Brussels by granting it greater powers and reach.

Part Two more closely examines the idea of trimming EU membership from 27 countries to 17 recognizing that the euro zone’s survival heavily depends on recognizing the political and economic changes which have occurred since its inception.

Part Three addresses one of the major stumbling blocks to moving the euro zone forward – the so-called Merkel Method. While the decisions being made in Brussels will impact all members, those decisions are being made – for the most part – by Germany and France. The authors argue that not only is the policy of intergovernmentalism failing the Union, there also is a troubling lack of transparency among the decisionmakers.

Part Four argues that France will play a critical role in the union’s failure or success. In short, one official asks, “will they play along?”

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