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34

APRIL 2017

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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

will derive no profit from going

has convinced public opinion

in the remaining 27 countries

of the compelling advantages

of membership. In the ever-

tougher conditions of the

globalizing world economy,

Europeans know that not even

the continent’s largest coun-

tries can expect to make their

voices heard and advance their own interests.

This is not to say that the next few years will be smooth

sailing for Europe. The need for concerted intergovernmental

action to protect the euro and recover the E.U.’s popularity

is plain to see, but hard to achieve. Ranged against a more

dynamic approach are the electoral costs of supporting more

bonds with Europe when so many voters want fewer. Succes-

sive European Union member governments have habitually

blamed Brussels for unwelcome developments, thus devaluing

the whole notion of closer

integration. The continent’s

prized solidarity has been the

casualty, and may prove to be

mortally wounded.

America’s support for

Europe’s great experiment

of voluntarily relinquishing

national sovereignty has been

crucial. It was, of course, also

in America’s own interest and remains so to this day. Washing-

ton will continue to exert a major influence on the E.U.’s future,

and the European Union will doubtless continue as a bloc.

Without Washington’s encouragement, the E.U. risks

stagnating, robbing America of its most powerful political and

economic ally; but with renewed and sustained U.S. backing

Europe will be far better placed to survive and thrive. Just as

no single E.U. country can go it alone in the 21st century, nor

should America envisage a future of splendid isolation.

n

Without Washington’s

encouragement, the E.U. risks

stagnating, robbing America

of its most powerful ally.