What if Europe Fails?

Thomas Wright
Content Type
Journal Article
The Washington Quarterly
Issue Number
Publication Date
Summer 2012
Center for Strategic and International Studies
The European Union is engaged in a ferocious political, diplomatic, and economic struggle to preserve the future of the single currency, the Euro, and the viability of what has become known simply as ''the project,'' namely the process of integration that has been the bedrock of Western European politics for over half a century. It is distinctly possible that its members' efforts may fail, either in the short or long term, and give way to an era of disintegration. Some have sounded the alarm: German Chancellor Angela Merkel famously remarked, ''If the Euro fails, Europe fails.'' Former president Nicolas Sarkozy of France predicted, ''If the euro explodes, Europe would explode. It's the guarantee of peace in a continent where there were terrible wars.'' Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski warned the Euro's collapse could cause an ''apocalyptic'' crisis. Harvard economist Dani Rodrik cautioned ''the nightmare scenario would . . . be a 1930's-style victory for political extremism.'' After all, ''fascism, Nazism, and communism were children of a backlash against globalization.'' The erosion of democracy in Hungary and the rise in support for populist parties in Greece, the Netherlands, Finland, and France appears to some to be the beginning of the end.
Political Geography
Europe, Finland, Greece, France, Germany, Netherlands