Will the European Union survive until 2025? Three scenarios

A protest in Brussels
Brussels, Nov.10, 2016: activists block the European Commission headquarters during a protest against the subsidies for arms industries in Europe (source: dpa)
  • If contagion spreads after Brexit, the EU may have largely disintegrated by 2025, even if a small group of states, clustered around Germany, continues EU cooperation in certain areas
  • If survival instincts prevail, an EU without Britain might get a new lease of life
  • A less ambitious reorganization remains the most likely scenario

At a recent conference, participants were asked to key in a single word that expressed their vision of the European Union in 2025. The word that loomed largest on the overhead screen was "Gone."

Preposterous, perhaps, but scarcely surprising: top Brussels officials and national leaders now predict the EU's demise almost daily. This is a response to multiple, mutually reinforcing crises, concerning especially the euro area, migration, terrorism, the Schengen open-borders system, insurgent nationalist, xenophobic and euroskeptic political movements, and instability to the south and the east.

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