vanrompuy2_KENZO TRIBOUILLARDAFP via Getty Images_future of europe KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images

Adding Ambition to Europe’s Unity

The war in Ukraine has shown that only by acting together can the European Union hope to remain an effective player. At the June 23-24 EU summit, the European Council should agree to establish a “Wise Wo|men Group” tasked with identifying core policy priorities and governance reforms.

BRUSSELS – The European Union has reacted faster, more decisively, and with greater unity to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine than to any previous crisis. Together with its allies, the EU and its member states have provided important military, economic, and humanitarian support to the Ukrainian government and put severe economic pressure on the Kremlin to stop its atrocities. But the difficulties the Union faced in imposing a common oil embargo against Russia reveal differences among national governments that also reflect diverging views on how to deal with the Zeitenwende we have been experiencing since February 24.

This is no moment for disunity. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine has opened a new chapter in Europe’s seemingly permanent crisis and represents a structural break with the past, profoundly disrupting the continent’s security architecture and undermining fundamental assumptions in most areas of EU policymaking.

EU leaders must have the political will and stamina to prepare the Union for a new era – with no taboos when it comes to implementing major policy innovations and establishing more effective governance structures. To do so, they should continue to demonstrate both unity and ambition along a concrete reform path.

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