January 25, 2019

People dressed for the cold weather pass by flags tied to railings outside parliament in London, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. Credit: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

The vision of a united Europe was born out of the ashes of the Second World War. Early supporters included former British prime minister Winston Churchill, who was one of the first to champion the idea of a “United States of Europe.”

The European Union is now a vast political and economic union of 28 member countries and, with more than 500 million people, its combined population is the third largest in the world after China and India.

But the European Union did not begin as a large political project – rather as a series of small steps in an American effort to promote postwar security, according to Mark Blyth, professor of international economics at Brown University.

As politicians in Britain struggle with the details of their country’s divorce from the European Union, two and a half years after the Brexit referendum, Gillian Tett, U.S. managing editor of the Financial Times, and Blyth discuss the forces uniting Europe and the many issues threatening to tear it apart.

Three Takeaways:

  • European integration did not begin as a large political project, but rather as a series of small steps in an American-led effort to promote postwar security, according to Mark Blyth.
  • The European project started with the creation back in 1951 of the European Coal and Steel Community, an organization of six countries
  • Neither Gillian Tett or Mark Blyth have lost hope in the European project even though they say “the system has taken a good beating,” in the last 10 years and is in need of urgent reform.

More Reading:

Business, Europe, Brexit, EU, Gillian Tett, Mark Blyth, European Union

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