Brussels passes the ball back

Banking crisis has seen a shift in the EU from European solidarity to national responsibility, writes Erik Jones

The World Today
Published 27 September 2018 Updated 9 November 2020 4 minute READ

Erik Jones

Director of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute

One of the great divides in European politics is between those who would restore national sovereignty, such as Hungary’s Viktor Orban and Italy’s Matteo Salvini, and those who would defend and promote European integration, like France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel.

This is a contest that will shape the European parliamentary elections to be held in May 2019. It would be a mistake, however, to frame that contest as offering a sharp dichotomy. The elections are more symptomatic than transformative and the transformation is already well underway. Moreover, the shift is not a matter of national sovereignty versus European integration. Europe’s member states are already sovereign even if, to borrow from the first British White Paper on Brexit, sometimes it does not feel that way.

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