Loukas Tsoukalis (2022) Europe’s Coming of Age. Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. viii + 256.
European integration has had many successes and failures, Brexit being one of the biggest failures. Despite the setbacks, the EU has been acquiring more functions and members and has now reached a stage where it needs to become a political adult.
In this book, one of the world’s leading authorities on Europe provides a lucid and wide-ranging appraisal of contemporary European affairs – of how the EU became what it is today and the key challenges Europeans must now confront. These challenges include the search for a common foreign and security policy that will also require a more symmetrical transatlantic relationship; the search for democracy beyond the nation-state; more inclusive societies; the development of the euro into a fully-fledged currency; a higher degree of autonomy in high technology and the greening of economies.
In Tsoukalis’ view, what is at stake in these challenges is whether the EU can exercise effective political power in a multipolar, highly asymmetrical, and increasingly unstable world, and whether it can find a workable relationship between global markets and domestic social contracts. Willing and able countries should lead the way. The stakes are high – and not just for Europe. A declining and marginalized Europe would not be able to defend fundamental interests and values, including freedom and security for its citizens. And the world would greatly benefit from the moderating influence of a regional power that operates on the basis of broad consensus and compromise.
This bold and ambitious book, based on extensive experience of European affairs, will be of value to anyone interested in Europe and its future as well as anyone concerned with the great political challenges of our time.