Since 2010, the European Union (EU) has confronted the most severe economic and political crises in its history. The Eurozone financial crisis has left Greece and its southern European neighbors mired in the worst recession since the Great Depression and threatened to rip apart the monetary union that is widely seen as the capstone of 60 years of successful European integration.
At the same time, Europe has been the destination for millions of migrants and refugees fleeing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. This has resulted in strong domestic opposition and strained the economic and political resources of EU member-states.
The Brexit referendum in June 2016, when the “Leave” campaign garnered 52 percent of the vote in the United Kingdom, has left doubt about the country’s future in the EU. It also triggered the possibility of a breakup of the United Kingdom and stoked fears that other countries may seek to leave or renegotiate their relationship to Europe.
On this side of the Atlantic Ocean, the election of Donald Trump – who has openly criticized the European Union and raised doubts about the United States’ commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – has raised concerns that the seven-decade era of deep trans-Atlantic cooperation is drawing to a close.
- Is the European Union’s progress toward an “ever closer union” in jeopardy?
- Will the EU survive, either in its current form or with fewer members?
- Will the United Kingdom leave the EU and trigger a broader unraveling of European integration?
- What impact will Europe’s economic and political crises have on the United States, international security, and the global economy in the years ahead?
- Does trans-Atlantic economic and geopolitical cooperation have a future in this new era of populist nationalism?
Two panels of distinguished guests will address these questions during a symposium sponsored by the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs, Jean Monnet European Union Center of Excellence, and Center for European Studies. The afternoon symposium on April 6 is free and open to the public.