The European Union began fairly modestly in the 1950s when six European states agreed to create the European Steel and Coal Community to share their resources in these areas. Coal and steel were seen as crucial for waging war and the idea was that if these resources were collectivised, then war between the participating states would be impossible.
Since then, what eventually became the EU has evolved into a bloc of 27 countries that has developed a common approach to nearly every aspect of economic policy, including a single currency. The EU also insists on a common approach to human rights and democratic institutions. Candidate countries have to sign up to these, as much as to the disciplines of the single market.
Giles Merritt choses five books to help you understand the challenges facing the EU and what it might look like in the future. One of the biggest challenges for Europe over the past 10 years has been making good some of the Euro’s shortcomings, exposed during the financial crisis. Economic historian, Barry Eichengreen looks at the challenges facing the single currency. And Philippe Legrain looks at some of the broader issues of identity and belonging that the EU throws up.
The EU started life as a small trading bloc but now spans 28 (soon to be 27) countries with half a billion people. What can be done to help its institutions catch up with the new reality? Giles Merritt, author of Slippery Slope: Brexit and Europe’s Troubled Future, has some ideas.
The rise of China means the study of its history is suddenly in vogue. But, says historian Norman Davies, there’s as much to learn, if not more, from looking at states that have disappeared
With hindsight, was the euro a good idea? Will it come through the present crisis intact or will any country decide to leave? And what happens if they do? Economist Barry Eichengreen recommends the best books on the euro.
Europe should be run for all Europeans and not just the French and German banks, argues the author of European Spring, Philippe Legrain. He recommends the best books on Europe.