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The European Union: An idea whose time has gone

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Once considered the best idea in global politics, today’s Europe is a pale shadow of its glorious past

Last year ended with a sense that the certitudes of the past with which international relations have evolved over the past few decades are fast vanishing. One of the most ambitious projects in the global order since the end of the Second World War has been the voluntary restrictions taken on by the nations of Western Europe in an attempt to carve out the supranational authority of the European Union. Over the years, the EU emerged as a benchmark of what an ideal regional organization should look like. Regions like South Asia and the Middle East often looked at with awe as to what those Europeans were able to achieve even as other regions struggled with getting basic bilateral cooperation going.

But today’s Europe is a pale shadow of its glorious past. It has been moving from one crisis to the next over the last few years. The new year had opened with the bruising question of Brexit as the British political system scrambled to find a deal that is acceptable to most. The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, had tabled a motion of no confidence in the British prime minister, Theresa May, after she made it clear that the nation’s parliamentarians would not vote on her Brexit deal........