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Interview with Charles Kupchan: Fraying European Unity

July 10th, 2012

Bernard Gwertzman with CFR.org talks to Charles A. Kupchan, an expert on European affairs, in a Q&A from CFR.org.

By: Charles A. KupchanCharles Kupchan Interview with Charles Kupchan: Fraying European Unity

Europe is experiencing its worst major economic and political crisis since World War II, says CFR Europe expert Charles A. Kupchan. While the recent summit lays out “steps that at least for now appear to be calming the markets and pushing Europe in the right direction,” says Kupchan, there’s a real question about whether Europe’s publics are ready for further integration.

“The jury is still out on whether the member states and their respective populations are prepared to bite the bullet and countenance intrusions on their sovereignty when it comes to core questions of economic and political decision-making,” notes Kupchan. Kupchan also says that the United States, beset with its own fiscal and financial problems, can only urge Europe to bold action and is not in any position to come to Europe’s aid.

How bad is Europe’s economic and political situation?

The European Union is still in the midst of its greatest crisis since World War II. The crisis has both economic and political components. The core economic issue is that the eurozone remains beset by financial instability and concern about the solvency of key member states. And that economic fragility intersects with the question of political unity, because the economic crisis is eating away at the social fabric of European unity. The crisis requires a collective response–that is to say, more political integration–if it is to be adequately solved in the long run. And the jury is still out on whether the member states and their respective populations are prepared to bite the bullet and countenance intrusions on their sovereignty when it comes to core questions of economic and political decision-making.

Read Charles Kupchan’s full interview on the Council on Foreign Relations website here or CNN here.

Dr. Charles Kupchan is former Director for European Affairs on the U.S. National Security Council. He is currently Professor of International Affairs at Georgetown University and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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