European Union at a Crossroads

April 5, 2019 • Volume 29, Issue 13
Will political divisions tear the EU apart?
By Jonathan Broder


Amid the United Kingdom's Brexit crisis and a surge in populism throughout Europe, the 28-nation European Union (EU) is facing renewed questions about its future. Nationalist-populist governments rule in Italy, Hungary, Poland and Greece, and populist parties are posing stiff challenges in France and Germany, the EU's most powerful members. A slowing economy and worsening relations with the Trump administration, which calls the EU a foe on trade, present additional challenges to the Union. But many political analysts believe the EU remains strong, noting that the U.K.'s expected departure from the federation has chastened foes of European integration and led them to drop their drives for Brexit-style secessions in other countries. The EU also has drastically cut illegal migration from Africa and the Mideast — a major source of populists' anger. Nevertheless, many experts say next month's elections for the EU's Parliament will be crucial. They predict a strong showing for populists, who would be in a position to keep the EU from becoming more powerful.

Populist demonstrators in Paris (Getty Images/Pool/Kiran Ridley)
Populist demonstrators in Paris, known as gilets jaunes or yellow vests, protest the policies of French President Emmanuel Macron on March 23. The protesters also say European integration has harmed workers. Elsewhere, populists are challenging the European Union's powers. (Getty Images/Pool/Kiran Ridley)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
European Unification
Apr. 05, 2019  European Union at a Crossroads
Dec. 16, 2016  European Union's Future
Jan. 09, 2015  European Unrest
Apr. 17, 2012  Future of the EU
Aug. 2007  The New Europe
Oct. 28, 2005  Future of the European Union
Nov. 27, 1998  European Monetary Union
Jun. 28, 1991  Europe 1992
Jan. 13, 1989  Europe 1992: Danger or Opportunity?
May 11, 1979  Electing Europe's Parliament
Jan. 17, 1973  European Security
Sep. 03, 1969  Benelux Cooperation
Jun. 15, 1966  European Realignment
Sep. 19, 1962  Political Integration of Europe
Mar. 27, 1957  European Economic Union
Jan. 02, 1952  European Unification
Jan. 08, 1951  Defense of Europe
May 21, 1947  Federation of Europe
Nov. 16, 1939  Federal Union and World Peace
Apr. 12, 1933  European Political Alignments
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