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Policy Briefing
The unhappy state of the union – Time for a new “grand bargain”

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

During the briefing, Loukas Tsoukalis, Professor of European integration at the University of Athens and President of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), analysed the current ‘state of the Union’ and set out the key elements for a new grand bargain, outlined in his latest publication, The Unhappy State of the Union. The crisis since 2007-2008 has manifested itself in many different ways, with economies languishing, some even imploding, anti-systemic parties on the rise, a growing disconnect between politics and society, and support for European integration reaching an historical low. All this, coupled with a growing fragmentation between and within countries. Europe seems divided between creditors and debtors, between euro countries and the rest. Divisions run deep also within countries as inequalities continue to grow. Tsoukalis argues that Europe needs a “new grand bargain” to break its Gordian knot. Such a bargain, according to him, would require a broad coalition of countries and the main political families in Europe to recognise the value of the European project and the need to give it new shape and form in a rapidly changing internal and external environment. If we continue with “muddling through”, he believes that Europe will remain weak, internally divided and inward-looking.

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