Wiktor Dabkowski/ZumaPress

Strengthening Europe’s Limited Power

Limited power is often confused with weak power, which lacks the tools needed to act within its sphere of authority. But it is the sphere of authority that should be limited, not the power to act within those limits – a principle that EU leaders would do well to understand and apply.

PARIS – The results of last weekend’s European Parliament election are as puzzling as they are shocking. No single theory accounts for the variety of national results.

In Germany, where European Union policies have been highly controversial since 2008, the electoral campaign was remarkably colorless. But in France, where neither financial assistance nor the European Central Bank’s initiatives to combat the crisis incited disagreement, anti-EU themes were prominent.

Neither economic variables, like GDP growth, nor social variables, such as unemployment, explain why Italy voted en masse for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s center-left Democratic Party, while France endorsed Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front.

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