In his new book, “Europe United: Power, Politics and the Making of the European Community” (Cornell University Press, 2011), University of Notre Dame political scientist Sebastian Rosato explores threats to the European Union (EU) and warns of the unraveling of a European community.
According to Rosato, the European Union was created with a very specific purpose in mind: protection against the Soviet Union. Consequently, “when the Soviet Union died in 1991, that fundamental purpose disappeared. No Soviet Union, no EU required. The entire European order is collapsing around us,” Rosato says.
“The Europeans failed to build a military challenge to the U.S., despite lofty rhetoric to the contrary,” Rosato says. “They failed to pass a constitution, and they have been slowly eviscerating the single market and single currency.”
Growing nationalism among strong countries of the EU poses a threat to the euro – the single currency of the EU – with the possibility that Germany, the major financial force of the EU, could grow impatient with requests to bail out fellow EU countries.
Should the EU’s strongest members – France and Germany – attempt to exercise more control over the powerful European Central Bank, “You may have something that’s called the European Union, but with two powerful, independent governments running the show, it is a union in name only,” Rosato says.
So what would the decline of the European Union mean to the U.S.?
According to Rosato, with the U.S.’s view of itself as the world’s economic and military police, dealing with a dismantled EU will require much more diplomacy in dealing with independent governments.
With evidence that the EU already is collapsing, Rosato believes that “all Europe’s allies should plan contingencies.”
“Simply put, the European community’s best days are long gone, and there is worse to come.”
Contact: Sebastian Rosato, department of political science, firstname.lastname@example.org, 574-631-0378