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Democracy Over Sovereignty in Europe

The EU's future may not be officially on the ballot in the upcoming Dutch, French, German, and Italian elections, but the results will certainly go a long way toward determining Europe’s fate. A victory for pro-European forces would provide perhaps the last opportunity to fix the central problem of the EU's Maastricht framework.

MILAN – The future of the European Union may not officially be on the ballot in the upcoming elections in the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Italy, but the results will go a long way towards determining Europe’s fate.

Anti-EU sentiment is more widespread than ever, as demonstrated by the feverish campaigns of right-wing populist insurgents like Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and Marine Le Pen in France. But there are also signs of support for revamping and reinventing the EU – a message being espoused by the likes of France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Martin Schulz.

Any pro-EU campaign, to be convincing, must address the problems stemming from the euro. Adopted by 19 of the EU’s 28 member countries (27, after Brexit), the common currency has become a major source of disillusionment with European integration. Though the euro crisis, in its most acute form, is over, the eurozone remains a fragile construct. In the event of renewed volatility, doubt about its survival could easily return.

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