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The Political Logic of Disintegration: Seven Lessons from the Soviet Collapse. CEPS Essay (No. 1), September 2012

Krastev, Ivan (2012) The Political Logic of Disintegration: Seven Lessons from the Soviet Collapse. CEPS Essay (No. 1), September 2012. UNSPECIFIED.

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    In short, the European Union, as we know it, no longer exists. The very foundations on which it was built are eroding. Shared memories of the Second World War have faded away – half the 15- and 16-year-olds in German high schools do not know that Hitler was a dictator, while a third believe that he protected human rights. The collapse of the Soviet Union has stripped away the geopolitical rationale for European unity. The democratic welfare state that was at the heart of the post-war political consensus is under siege by, among other things, sheer demographics. And the prosperity that bolstered the European project’s political legitimacy is vanishing. More than six out of ten Europeans believe that the lives of today’s children will be more difficult than those of people from their own generation. Against this background, how unthinkable is the EU’s disintegration? Should Europeans make the mistake of taking the Union for granted? Should they assume that the Union would not collapse because it should not collapse? Here, Europe’s capacity to learn from the Soviet precedent could play a crucial part. For the very survival of the EU may depend on its leaders’ ability to manage a similar mix of political, economic and psychological factors that were in play in the process of the Soviet collapse. The game of disintegration is primarily a political one driven much more by the perceptions and misperceptions of the political actors than simply by the constellation of the structural factors – institutional and economic.

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    Item Type: Other
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > political union & integration/European Political Union
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for European Policy Studies (Brussels) > CEPS Essays
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2014 14:51
    Number of Pages: 10
    Last Modified: 17 Dec 2014 14:51

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