Caging the Nation State: Technocrats versus Democrats in the European Union

Project Expert

Matthias Matthijs
Matthias Matthijs

Senior Fellow for Europe

About the Project

The EU’s current integration malaise is the result of a backlash against the previous economic consensus, centered around the single market and the single currency. That institutional status quo significantly “‘caged’” Europe’s member states by limiting national policy discretion and is incredibly hard to change, even in the face of persistent national democratic opposition to it. Furthermore, under German leadership that rules-based consensus has only been strengthened in the past decade. While elites in Berlin remain loyal to the Europe they have built, their counterparts in Paris, Rome, and London either insist on different variations of more “‘voice”– through more discretion at the national level and solidarity at the EU level– or advocate an outright “‘exit” from the project altogether. Through an ongoing CFR roundtable series on European politics, this project will culminate in a book-length manuscript that will examine the causes of the EU’s decade-long crisis and whether it can lead to a new political and economic settlement to put the EU on a more sustainable footing now that the United Kingdom has left.