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More or Less Europe?

The upcoming elections will entrench the growing divide between those who want less Europe and those who want more. And the fragmented parliament that is likely to emerge will cast further uncertainty on the European Union’s future direction.

WASHINGTON, DC – On May 23-26, voters across the European Union will go to the polls to elect members of the European Parliament. Much will be at stake. “Never, since World War II, has Europe been as essential,” French President Emmanuel Macron wrote recently, “yet never has Europe been in so much danger.”

Forces challenging the foundations of the European project are on the rise: Brexit supporters in the United Kingdom, populist governments in Central and Eastern Europe, and far-right parties in or near power virtually everywhere. Yet supporters of further European integration have been buoyed by the bold pronouncements of Macron, France’s most pro-European president in decades.

The upcoming elections will entrench the growing divide between those who want less Europe and those who want more. And the fragmented parliament that is likely to emerge will cast further uncertainty on the EU’s future direction. More generally, European politics seems ripe for a fundamental restructuring, with the long-standing division between center-left and center-right parties replaced by differences over the extent of further EU integration.

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