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More Europe, Less Brussels

STOCKHOLM – The failed coup in Turkey has reminded us – as though a reminder was needed – of the once-inconceivable stability that the European Union has brought to Europe. But if the post-Brexit EU is to survive, it will need to change the way it thinks about itself.

So far, sad to say, this isn’t happening. Immediately after the Brexit vote, for example, the six founding countries of what used to be the European Economic Community (EEC) – Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands – gathered to discuss what to do. To no one’s surprise, the other 21 EU member states felt offended at being left out.

This incident points to the larger challenge that the EU must overcome if it is to secure its post-Brexit future. Simply put, the idea of the Union must resonate with all Europeans, not just those who get invited to exclusive meetings.

The EEC was established in 1957, and the official aspiration then, as it is now for the EU, was to recreate the Europe of Charlemagne that existed more than a thousand years ago.