The European Union (EU) lacks, for the ﬁrst time since the Single European Act was signed in 1985, a grand project. This, coupled with the need to assimilate ten new members into the decision-making processes and the recent failure to ﬁnd a formula acceptable to all on the EU constitution, leaves it in uncharted waters without an integration lodestar.
But enlargement has not been the Union’s only major undertaking in the last decade. Digesting the contents of the Maastricht treaty, signed in the aftermath of the Cold War and German reuniﬁcation in 1991, have preoccupied members. Economic and Monetary Union has been realised – after a combination of painful public expenditure restructuring in some states, and nip-and-tuck in others’ public accounts to ensure compliance with the ‘convergence criteria’ of low current account deﬁcits and lowering levels of public debt.