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In Europe We Distrust

MADRID – For decades, critics of the European Union have spoken about a democratic deficit. I never accepted that reproach of the EU and its institutions, but I do see a new and dangerous deficit within the Union – a trust deficit, both among governments, and among the citizens of various member countries. Indeed, if today’s euro banknotes included a motto, as dollars do, it could well be, “In Europe We Distrust.”

This lack of trust has brought the eurozone to the cusp of implosion, and is calling into question the very future of European unity. The arc of EU history seems to be bending to catastrophe – the sort of periodic European disaster that integration was intended to prevent. Grandiloquent as it might sound, the disintegration of the euro and the disarray that would engulf the European project, not to speak of the global repercussions, would unleash comparable devastation.