In his Friday column, the New York Times' Paul Krugman argued that the economic, refugee, and terrorism crises are threatening to splinter what should become "the United States of Europe."
Instead of banding together and facing these crises from a position of strength, the European Union foisted the cost of bank bailouts onto national governments, exacerbating the financial crisis; left the management of borders to national governments instead of instituting a union-wide policy, exacerbating the refugee crisis; and left antiterrorism initiatives up to national governments instead of imposing policies that were effective across all member nations, exacerbating the terrorism crisis.
"Imagine how New Yorkers would feel if political paralysis in New Jersey were getting in the way of any effective antiterrorist policy there," Krugman wrote, "and you have a good idea of the problems Belgium has created for France."
What can be done? According to Krugman,
Ideally, Europe would respond to these setbacks by strengthening its union, creating more of the institutions it needs to manage interdependence. But the political will for that kind of move forward seems lacking, even for the most obvious steps. For example, on Tuesday the European Commission proposed the gradual phase-in of a Europe-wide system of deposit insurance, which is the bare minimum needed to maintain stable banks within a currency union. Yet the plan faces furious opposition within Germany, which sees it as a giveaway to its spendthrift neighbors.
The alternative is to take a step back, which is already happening on border controls. European leaders are, rightly, concerned that each such move damages the whole European project...