by Mark Leonard
Against the odds, Brexit and Trump have inspired a new mood of unity among Europeans. Rather than defending the world of yesterday, Europe’s leaders need to reinvent the EU’s relationships with the outside world and with its own citizens to give meaning to the idea Europe can protect its own.
Europe has to abandon its hopes of creating the world in its image. Instead of continuing to live the dream of universalism, the way forward for the EU is to embrace and secure its exceptionalism, preserving the dream of a strong liberal order internally while accepting a return to a weaker liberal order in the rest of the world.
The EU also needs to restore the permissive consensus which allows it to function, both between the EU and its citizens and between its member states. Instead of promoting interdependence, the EU needs to make it less risky by dealing with negative consequences connected with migration, free trade, and monetary union.
Franco-German leadership will be essential but the new Europe is more likely to succeed if it mobilises a Europe of flexible coalitions rather than one of concentric circles.
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