Europe’s Charm Offensive

Make Europe Work Again

Jean Monnet, one of the EU’s founding fathers, set the bar high for the success of the European Union. To what extent has it passed the “Monnet Test”?

Nathalie Tocci, director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali.
Nathalie Tocci, director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali.TANIA/CONTRASTO/laif

As the current EU political-institutional cycle ends and with European elections scheduled in June, what have we learned from the last years? What should Europeans do to make the most of the years ahead? EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen started her mandate identifying the green and digital agendas as the cornerstones of her tenure, set against the broader ambition of transforming her organization into a “geopolitical Commission.” What steps have been taken? Where has the EU fallen short of expectations? What should be done to make Europe work again?

The last years have been amongst the most tumultuous in the EU’s history. It has witnessed a pandemic, Europe’s most devastating conflict since World War II, and the deadliest Middle East upheaval since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began 76 years ago against a backdrop of an escalating climate crisis, growing US-China rivalries, and weakening respect for multilateralism.

„The EU still has a long way to go if it aspires to be a geopolitical player.“

Nathalie Tocci

It was Jean Monnet, one of Europe’s founding fathers, who said that “Europe will be forged in crisis and will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises.” Before looking ahead, it is worth asking whether and to what extent has the EU passed the “Monnet Test” and what lessons it should have learned.

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