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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

  • The Macron Phenomenon

    This piece first appeared in Jacobin


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    The French presidential election later this month will be a major turning point in the country’s political history. Beyond the campaign’s many twists and turns — from François Hollande’s decision not to stand for reelection to the collapse of the mainstream right’s candidate, François Fillon — the fact that the two candidates most likely to face off in the second-round elections — Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen — do not belong to either the Socialist Party (PS) or Les Républicains (LR) represents a historic development.

    Since the Fifth Republic formed in 1958, the PS and LR — or any one of the various Gaullist rights — have alternated power. This year, either social-liberal Macron, from the year-old party En Marche!, or far-right Marine Le Pen of the National Front (FN) will likely become president. Every pollster predicts Macron will win in a second round runoff.

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  • Investment Bankers for Revolution, Fascists for the Republic

    David Broder's report on the French presidential election was first published in Political Critique, prior to yesterday's first round.  



    Without doubt the French election promises a political shake-up. The governing Socialist Party is at just 8% in the presidential poll while all four leading candidates vying to replace François Hollande declare themselves the challengers to "élites," or even to be "anti-systemic." Certainly the candidates are keen to represent a clean break with the record of both the Hollande and Sarkozy presidencies, associated with continual economic crisis as well as the insecurity attached to the mounting war on terror. Yet the "battle against élites" increasingly appears as a mere marketing strategy, the supposed fight against "vested interests" able to cover all manner of sins, or indeed, vested interests.

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  • [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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