ATHENS – On March 25, Europe’s leaders convened in the birthplace of the “European project” to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. But what exactly was there to celebrate?
Were they reveling in Europe’s disintegration, which they now call “multi-speed” or “variable geometry” Europe? Or were they there to applaud their business-as-usual approach to every crisis – an approach that has fanned the flames of xenophobic nationalism throughout the European Union?
Even dyed-in-the-wool Europhiles admitted that the Rome gathering felt more like a wake than a party. A few days later, British Prime Minister Theresa May sent her letter to the EU formally triggering the United Kingdom’s slow but irreversible exit.
The liberal establishment in London and around the continent is aghast at how populism is tearing Europe apart. Like the Bourbons, they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Not once did they pause for critical self-reflection, and now they feign shock at the legitimacy gap and the anti-establishment passion that threatens the status quo and, consequently, their authority.