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"Europe's Troubles: Power Politics and the State of the European Project"

In this Sept. 21, 2007 file picture the Euro sign is photographed in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany.
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"Europe's Troubles: Power Politics and the State of the European Project"

Journal Article, International Security, volume 35, issue 4, pages 45-86

Spring 2011

Author: Sebastian Rosato, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2005–2006

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Quarterly Journal: International Security



The 1990s were years of great optimism in Europe. As the Europeans were putting the finishing touches on their economic community, observers pre­dicted that political and military integration would soon follow. Optimism has turned to pessimism since the turn of the century, however. Most analysts believe that the economic community is in crisis, and hardly anyone predicts the creation of a political or military counterpart to it. Why has the European project run into trouble and what does the future hold? The answers to these questions are largely to be found in the distribution of power. It was the over­whelming power of the Soviet Union that drove the Western Europeans to consider a variety of integration initiatives and to build and maintain the European Community (EC) during the Cold War. In 1991 the collapse of the Soviet Union deprived them of a compelling geostrategic reason to pursue further integration or even to preserve their economic community. As a result, the Europeans have made no real effort to establish a political or military com­munity over the past two decades, and the EC has slowly started to fray. As long as there are no significant changes in the balance of power going forward, worse times lie ahead.


For more information about this publication please contact the IS Editorial Assistant at 617-495-1914.

For Academic Citation:

Sebastian Rosato. "Europe's Troubles: Power Politics and the State of the European Project." International Security 35, no. 4 (Spring 2011): 45-86.

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