Two all-too-plausible scenarios could turn 2015 into an annus horribilis for Europe: a further erosion of integration within the EU, and a collapse of Ukraine. Both would greatly weaken Europe’s role in the world and its foreign policy resources. To be sure, the list of things that could go wrong for Europe this year is long; these two, however, would be game-changing.
Erosion within the EU is already in progress in several ways. Triggered by the bumpy road towards treaty revision and the financial crisis, the EU has become less coherent and more intergovernmental. Politics in countries of crisis as well as those doing better has become more inward-looking. A cost/benefit approach to integration has come to dominate political bargaining in Brussels. Trust among member states is on the decline, as is the confidence voters put into national and EU politics and institutions.
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