Ever-Closer Disunion

Stefan Auer


Herewith, a double paradox. The EU’s set of driving motives—its telos, so to speak—are undergoing a two-track inversion. The bloc was initially designed to slide gently towards federalization whilst remaining a largely toothless actor on the world stage. And yet, it has since grown into a geopolitical player of its own that’s internally at peace with the present deadlock of integration. Sometime between the eurozone crisis of the early 2010s and Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the bloc’s entire architecture has been thusly turned inside out. Scholars, journalists, and practitioners in Brussels and national capitals are still at pains to gauge the depth of this sheer revolution. Stefan Auer may have lost some sleep over it. A former—and likely future—recipient of the prestigious Jean Monnet Chair for EU studies, Auer is as astute an observer as any of the EU’s institutional dynamics, a skill honed with the distance afforded by successive professorships in Australia and Hong Kong. In this interview with Jorge González-Gallarza, he surveys the tangle of crises the EU has faced over the past decade, all compellingly diagnosed in his newest book, European Disunion (2022).

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