The European Union at 60: Strategic Renewal or Adrift Amidst Multiple Crises?

Kirsty Hughes, 2017
Picture Credit: Kirsty Hughes


The European Union at 60 is beset by challenges that threaten its purpose, cohesiveness and impact. Some openly ponder whether the EU could disintegrate, Brexit just the first sign of a future trend, or whether the EU will disappear into a side-lined irrelevance.

Others are more positive. The EU’s 27 leaders – now minus the UK for all strategic and practical purposes – insist that the EU will remain united and focused. As the EU’s 60th birthday is celebrated, the EU27 will line up, rightly enough, to celebrate the Union’s many achievements in its first six decades. But they know that the future looks unclear and challenging. Faced by an increasingly difficult and unstable neighbourhood, and with plenty of internal challenges too, the EU will need political leadership, wisdom and creative thinking to navigate its next decade.

In this policy note, we explore some of these challenges, the EU’s responses to them, and suggest some new strategies for the EU to explore.