New divisions, groups and fault lines in the EU reveal differences not just between countries but within countries and between ideologies, too. Europe has never simultaneously faced so many challenges. Brexit, the eurozone crises, sluggish economic growth, high unemployment and immigration along with social inequality weigh heavy on Europe’s future. Terror attacks have spotlighted the dangers of violent radicalisation. These developments come against a background of technological innovation that, from a competition viewpoint, is too slow, but in social terms others see as too fast. Technological progress is mostly empowering and positive. But although it boosts innovation it can also be disruptive to labour markets, health and social systems. Other challenges include calls for a re-think of the EU’s democratic mechanisms and the future of foreign policy and new and old security threats.

Group 1: The Integrationists

They make a strong case for more central power over national budgets and argue for rigid fiscal discipline to stabilise the euro. Some call for a strong European federation to replace the weak, incapacitated confederation of member states that exists today. They argue for a Europe with a united defence force, a common foreign policy, a small but powerful European government and a fully fledged European treasury with its own resources.

Groupe 2: The Pragmatists

For the pragmatists the EU needs to streamline, cut red tape and create jobs. They believe the  objective has to be to convince citizens why the EU does certain things. They argue that the issue is not about more or less regulation, but to set objectives more precisely. The pragmatists believe that the EU shouldn’t get booged down in ideological discussions about a superstate versus nation states. They believe that the focus should be on practical cooperation that will lead to a stronger and better Europe.

Group 3: The Expansionists

The expansionists want less restrictive EU borrowing rules and greater flexibility to prop up their banks. More growth and more investment, less austerity and less bureaucracy. The expansionists claim lack of economic growth is killing Europe.

Group 4: The Sceptics

The more Eurosceptics believe the member states and not EU institutions form the basis of the EU and that the democratic features of the EU can only be strengthened through member states. They argue that the EU is not in Brussels, but in the 27 capitals. They also call for the European parliament to include nationally elected politicians.

Group 5: The Populists

This group includes several populist Eurosceptic parties, including the far-right Front National (FN) in France and Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), as well as figures associated with Italy’s 5 Star Movement. To varying degrees, these parties favour a mass EU exit.

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