The slow death of Europe

There are, broadly speaking, three potential scenarios as far as the future of Europe is concerned. Only the very brave will predict at this time which one will be chosen by the Europeans—or to which they will sleepwalk. The European Union may break up, wholly or in part within a few years. The stronger economies will stick together, renegotiating a new framework. The weaker ones will be excluded. They will find it very difficult to face the future with its increasing imbalances and the danger of protectionism on their own. Perhaps they will be loosely united in a second union, hoping that after a while they will be promoted again to the championship league—to borrow a concept from the world of European soccer. The future of the Euro is uncertain; it may survive the present crisis, but what about the next? There is no willingness for now proceed towards political unity, but it is even more difficult to imagine a return to the fragmented Europe of pre-EU days…

To opt out of Europe would be very costly, even more costly than staying in. For this reason the present uneasy situation is likely to continue for a long time: a big-but-not-very-happy family, constantly bickering and complaining that their national interests are not taken into account, incapable of coordinating their domestic policies, let alone having a common defense and foreign policy. Kicking, screaming and threatening, individual countries will in the end not leave the fold. This allows for survival, but certainly not for a civil and moral superpower, the great model for all mankind in the twenty-first century.