How to confront the reality and tackle the challenge? The savviest solution lies in deeper economic integration within the Western world, to reap the benefits of scale, innovation and diversity. Obviously, the cornerstone of all Western integration is between Europe and the U.S. The mooted Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would be a major first step, but we should seriously consider bolder moves, for instance a full-fledged EU-U.S. economic union. I am personally convinced that the world will force us, sooner or later, to acknowledge this necessity and start working on it.

The endgame of this solution is an Atlantic economic superpower, which would wield unprecedented capacity to impart and withstand economic losses relative to the rest of the world, whose hard security would be guaranteed by NATO. Such a scenario would translate to more autonomy and international clout for all Western nations, and bring together our like-minded societies. The societal geography of the two rims of the Atlantic is beautiful: rich in natural resources, the best universities of the world, still the best technological bases, human diversity, shared values and hopes. The economic integration of Europe and the U.S. would allow for sustained long-term development on both our shores, and the repatriation of large chunks of manufacturing from the rest of the world.

However, before we can begin working toward a full trans-Atlantic economic union, we must first address the significant mistrust of our citizens in the realms of trade and economic policy.