The European Union’s founders envisioned an “ever-closer union” that gradually eliminated national distinctions. It didn’t happen, and geopolitical expert George Friedman of Geopolitical Futures says the opposite is now taking shape. “Europe” doesn’t really exist in any meaningful way.

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No Commitment to Union

Between Italy’s banking crisis and Germany’s lagging export growth, Europe’s problems look mostly economic to some observers. Friedman disagrees. Speaking in a recent Mauldin Economics video about his 2017 forecast, he said the continent’s greatest challenges are political.

The mechanisms that might solve Europe’s economic problems function only if the member states are willing to help each other, even when it is to their own disadvantage. No EU country currently has that kind of commitment.

Collaboration Breakdown Is Europe’s Core Problem

Regarding Italy’s failing banks, Friedman says a European Central Bank bailout is the only possible solution, but no one likes that idea so it is going nowhere. A series of time-buying superficial repairs disguise this reality for now, but can’t do it forever.

This collaboration breakdown is the EU and Eurozone’s fundamental problem, according to Friedman, and no one has an answer for it.

EU Members Can Just Ignore Brussels

What’s next? Friedman says the EU is effectively already gone. Nations don’t even need to withdraw; they can simply ignore any edicts from Brussels they don’t like. Several nations already are on immigration and refugee policies.

Without an ability to sanction its member states, the European Union isn’t a union in any meaningful sense. Friedman’s only question is whether—and how long—it can continue to function at all.

Watch the full interview (3:24) below or on the Mauldin Economics site.


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