Europe’s Overly Complex Union

Despite its clear advantages, a “grand deal” covering the major issues that the EU faces has always been something of a chimera. A key problem lies in the intricacy of the EU itself, which is poorly equipped to function in times of chaos – like now.

PRINCETON – The European Union is currently facing challenges more severe than even the debt crisis that threatened to sink the eurozone earlier this decade. North-South and East-West tensions in Europe have continued to rise since then, and are now being aggravated by growing uncertainty about the future of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government. Could these tensions finally tear the EU apart?

Logically, there is no reason why the EU should now be at risk of destruction. Not only has a sustainable agreement on Greek debt finally been agreed; but the United Nations Refugee Agency has recorded just 42,213 refugees so far this year – nowhere near the million-plus who arrived at the EU’s borders in 2015.

Yet, this year, there has been a spike in angst over migration, in what seems like a delayed reaction not only to the huge influx three years ago, but also to the sense of insecurity brought on by the 2008 global financial crisis. Europeans are more worried about the future than they were a decade ago, not least because they are not convinced that their political leaders can respond effectively to current challenges.

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