The Expansion of Discontent

European Parliament Park, Brussels.
European Parliament Park, Brussels.

The European Union suffers ‘enlargement fatigue’ as it continues to grow.

by Peter Bjel

It is a rare feat for a massive trans-governmental entity to be awarded so prestigious an award as the Nobel Peace Prize. However, in October 2012, that happened. A Nobel was awarded to the European Union — its substantial efforts at stopping the cycle of warfare after 1945 in Europe cited as well as its help in maintaining peace since then. One Irish citizen was quoted in the Financial Post: “It’s a good thing. Europe’s in a crisis, but compared to the wars — even compared to the Cold War — Europe is in a better place. People are suffering, but they are not dying. On balance they have achieved a lot.”

No doubt. The broader successes of the E.U. — as a trans-national project, as well as a magnet for genuine democratic and political reforms for newcomer members — cannot be disputed. However, critics are right in pointing out that a Nobel will not fix the significant problems that the bloc currently faces. Finances, debts, and economics aside, nowhere else has this become more apparent than in the area of …

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