It is a common strategic mistake for armies to prepare for the previous war instead of the one that is coming. In 1939, the French were ready for a redo of World War I — but not for the Nazi Blitzkrieg.
Today, the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) is gearing up to fight an ordinary European Parliament election next year, followed by more business as usual — behind-closed-doors deals, technocratic kludges and bargaining between member countries. And there’s no arguing the party’s pick to lead the European Commission, Manfred Weber, would adeptly navigate that environment.
Europe is a far more disruptive, polarized political landscape than it was four years ago. Whether it’s dealing with fiscal mismanagement in Italy, questions of asylum and border protection or the building of a genuine single market, the bloc’s challenges have one thing in common: They are political, not technical in nature. They require solutions that transcend national borders and enjoy popular legitimacy.
Like it or not, a common European political force is already emerging — especially on the far right. The dream of U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign strategist Steve Bannon of a united front of nationalists may be unrealistic, but Euroskeptics are poised to make large gains in the European Parliament.
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