Frailty, thy name is Europe

Top EU leaders, including the president of France and chancellor of Germany, meeting in Brussels
Brussels, March 10, 2017: French President Francois Hollande (L) German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) and other European leaders during an EU summit (source: dpa)
  • European Union governments need to formulate a security policy taking into account a possible withdrawal of American engagement
  • The EU also needs a trade policy after Brexit and the collapse of the TTIP, and a common migration and integration policy to deal with another deluge of migrants from Africa
  • A credible fiscal policy is also critical, with the euro under a potentially terminal siege
  • Above all, European leaders must face the reality that continuing business as usual while trying to shame rebelling voters into acquiescence is a prescription for the populists to win

The coming to power of Donald Trump in the United States has sent shock waves through European politics. The new president praised Brexit and scrapped the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), suggesting that bilateral trade deals with individual European Union members would work better. Adding insult to injury, Mr. Trump’s ambassador to the EU called on markets to short the euro, as the common currency was supposedly doomed to collapse. Some Europeans have begun to wonder if the new administration in Washington is truly concerned about the EU’s future.

The two most disturbing components of this new order are related: President Trump’s consistent refusal to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin and his branding of NATO as an obsolete pact. The frightening realization in Europe is that if the U.S. decided to no longer stand by its allies, not only Poland and the Baltic states would be at risk.

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