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The EU: An Obituary

A major account of the failings of the European Union—and why it has to go
The European Union is a besieged institution. It is struggling in vain to overcome the eurozone crisis and faces an influx of refugees not seen since World War II. The Schengen Agreement is a dead letter, and Britain stands on the brink of leaving altogether. The EU is unfit for the challenges of the coming age of increased global competition and high tech. In sum, the drive for an “ever-closer union” has set Europe on the wrong course: plunged it into depression, fuelled national antagonisms, debilitated democracy, and accelerated decline. In this pithy, rigorously argued book, leading historian John Gillingham examines a once great notion that soured long ago.

From its postwar origins, through the Single Market, to the troubles of the present, Gillingham explains how Europe’s would-be government became a force for anti-democratic centralization and inept policy-making. Brussels has inspired a world of illusion that now threatens to undo the undoubted achievements of integration. The EU: An Obituary is an urgent call to the political Left, Right, and Centre to act before it is too late.

Reviews

  • “John Gillingham has established himself as one of those very rare commentators who can read European history in three dimensions.”
  • “An excellent, up-to-date history of the EU which overturns many preconceived ideas and challenges the views of Eurofanatics and Eurosceptics alike.”
  • “John Gillingham is the pre-eminent American historian of the European Union.”
  • “At a time when clear thinking about Europe’s political and economic future is urgently needed, John Gillingham has provided a convincing diagnosis of the EU’s present malaise and a challenging set of prescriptions which deserve to be taken seriously by Euro-philes as much as by Euro-sceptics.”
  • “As a means to take corrective actions and ultimately save the EU, Gillingham pursues a historically driven reassessment of the EU’s past aimed at examining missteps, discovering subsequent solutions, and offering a glimpse into a potential future. In light of the its uneven course during its years of formation, expansion, and consolidation while currently faced with systemic threats, the EU requires fundamental reforms to remain relevant in an increasingly globalized international system.”

Blog

  • [Audio]: Frédéric Lordon and Cédric Durand discuss Internationalism and Democracy after the Eurozone Crisis

    On January 30, Frédéric Lordon and Cédric Durand appeared at the NYU Department of Sociology for a conversation on "Internationalism and Democracy after the Eurozone Crisis," moderated by Jonah Birch. 


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  • Lapavitsas: "The left is paying the price for its conservative discourse on the currency union."

    An economics professor at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, Costas Lapavitsas (born 1961) visited Barcelona last week to present his latest work, Eurozone Failure, German Policies and a New Path for Greece. In this text he advocates Greece leaving the euro, as an instrument for overcoming the country’s crisis. Critical of Alexis Tsipras, Yanis Varoufakis and Syriza (he had been an MP for the party before the third deal with the Troika), Lapavitsas is conscious that his positions regarding the EU and the euro are still in the minority among European progressives. Nonetheless, he believes that "the first step for the Left is to say that the currency union has to end."

    Oriol Solé Altimira's interview with Lapavitsas was first published in 
    El Diario. Translated by David Broder. 




    A year ago you were in Madrid for the presentation of the Plan B for Europe. How do you think that this initiative has developed?

    The Madrid discussions were interesting, because a lot of people came and there was a good atmosphere. Nonetheless, they were politically confused, because various ideas were presented on what the Left ought to do about Europe, without any concreteness. People still think that it is possible to change the European Union. One year later, I think that this position has lost supporters. More people have realised that if we want an alternative, a different path or different strategy, we have to take radical steps also with respect to the institutions and the EU.

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  • Abandoning the Euro Could Help Save Europe

    First published in Le Monde. Translated by David Broder.

    No European sovereign, no real budget; no budget, no viable economic policy. As long as Europe does not break out of this dilemma, the Eurozone will remain mired in the vicious circle of stagnation, resentment, and conflicting responsibilities. If a budgetary federalism is out of reach, it is crucial that we can adjust exchange rates in order to give dynamism to growth and employment. And this requires leaving the currency union.

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