Europe’s National Wild Cards

After almost 70 years of peace, Europeans seem to have forgotten why unity was so important, indulging nationalist sentiment without regard for its potential consequences. At the same time, they fail to grasp that their economies are too closely interconnected for independent economic policy to work.

DUBLIN – Europe’s needs and Europeans’ desires are at odds. At a time when strong, coordinated action is needed to stave off financial collapse in the European Union, the popular support that drove European integration over the last six decades is waning.

After almost 70 years of peace, Europeans seem to have forgotten why unity was so important, indulging nationalist sentiment without regard for its potential consequences. At the same time, they fail to grasp that their economies are too closely interconnected for independent economic policy to work.

This failure is rooted in electoral politics’ confinement to individual countries, which forces politicians to pretend that they can address economic issues with national policies alone. Indeed, politicians face no electoral pressure to pursue broader action, even if it would bring domestic benefits.

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