The reinvention of Europe. How to stop Europe falling apart

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Publication Date 2011
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The EU is in trouble. But what are the ideas that can revitalise Europe and make it a force once the immediate crisis is over?

'Die situation ist da – the situation is there' as Konrad Adenauer famously said. The European Union is currently faced with a crisis that threatens it on several levels, from the day to day functioning of governments to the principles that have underpinned its expansion over the last couple of decades.

The global financial crisis has translated into a European sovereign debt crisis and a crisis for one of the fundamental pillars of European integration, the euro. This is dividing member states, and threatening the EU’s model of an integrated community of nations that share sovereignty through multilateral institutions. It is not just the euro and projects like Schengen that are being shaken, but a vision of a prosperous and united Europe that punches its considerable weight on the world stage.

What needs addressing, therefore, is not just the immediate cause of the crisis, but the whole edifice of European union. This was the background to an article by George Soros in the Financial Times, where he argued that:

'Generating the political will would require a Plan B for the EU itself… An open society does not treat prevailing arrangements as sacrosanct; it allows for alternatives when those arrangements fail.

It should be possible to mobilize a pro-European silent majority behind the idea that when the status quo becomes untenable, we should look for a European solution rather than national ones.'

Over the latter half of 2011, ECFR will collect a series of essays and articles that examine how Europe can get through this period of crisis and once again become a relevant and vital part of the 21st century world. This will build up to ECFR’s annual Council Meeting in Warsaw in November 2011 which will debate the reinvention of Europe.

You can find the commentary articles for 'The reinvention of Europe’ project in this special section of the ECFR website, along with related blog posts and other material.

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ECFR: True Europeans now need a 'Plan B', July 2011

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