Is the EU Paralyzing Itself?
European integration has been compared to a bicycle that must be moved forward, because otherwise it falls to the ground. According to this analogy (which does not imply that Europe is a Tour de France) integration is an ever-moving process that always demands new stimuli, otherwise the forces of stagnation and disintegration will gain the upper hand.
The introduction of Euro coins and notes, as well as the looming enlargement of the EU eastward, should provide the needed stimulus, and add to the economic dynamics of the EU. But when the EU expands to include 27 members, its decision-making process will risk becoming deadlocked.
The economic heterogeneity of such a large number of members, when paired with the unanimity required for core decisions to be taken on issues such as taxation, the budget, fundamental rules and other areas, means that the common denominator for decisions in the EU will become smaller and smaller. National interest and the status quo will become even more dominant, deepening the chance of paralysis.