Why “America First” Means “Europe United”
Between the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union and US President Donald Trump's increasing aggression toward it, many fear that the EU is facing more challenges than it can handle. But, as Europeans well know, there is nothing like a crisis to get the integration process moving again.
BRUSSELS – One of the main arguments made in support of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union is that the UK will be able to negotiate better trade deals with other countries – and even with Europe – if it is on its own. According to Brexiteers like British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, because EU member states are too divided and consumed by their own crises to defend the integrity of the European project, “There is only one way to get the change we want – vote to leave the EU.”
But with less than a year remaining until “Brexit day” – when the UK’s EU membership officially ends – it is clear that the British government’s hopes of dividing and conquering the EU economy have been dashed. EU member states have remained impressively united throughout the Brexit negotiations. And while Brexit itself is nothing to celebrate, the process has at least shown that Europe is strongest when it is challenged.
In fact, for many Europeans, the EU seems to have returned from the dead. Slowly but surely, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel – the bloc’s two most powerful leaders – have shown signs of coming together to pursue long-overdue EU-level reforms.