Europe: A fast-track superpower?
Empire asks if the EU can pull together and be a superpower in the 21st century.
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2010 06:51 GMT

Europe has finally adopted a new treaty to strengthen its union, and chosen a president and foreign minister to speak with one voice for the continent.

Twenty-seven countries, with more than 500 million people, a combined economy bigger than the US and almost two million soldiers under arms, the European Union is to all intents and purposes, a superpower.

However, Europeans remain divided on central issues. Its cheerleaders, and foremost the dominating Franco German alliance, are celebrating the supranational Union they expect to lead globally, just as its detractors warn of a giant leap toward a federalist Europe that looks to compromise their national sovereignties and weakens their democracies.

Part 2

Despite inner wrangling, a prosperous and stable Europe has become a magnet for neighbouring countries that are being rebuffed by the most powerful members of the union.
This month's guests

Timothy Garton Ash
European Studies, Oxford University
Tariq Ramadan
President, European Muslim Network

Slavoj Zizek
Slovenian Philosopher

This raises questions about what constitutes a unified European identity.

In the spirit of multicultural diversity and openness, Europe has recognised its 15 million Muslim citizens, launched the Euro-Mediterranean process and accepted the accession candidacy of its largest Muslim neighbour, Turkey.

Recently however, Europe has been backpedalling on its overtures and promises, erecting immigration barriers and buffer zones with their less prosperous neighbours, dampening Ankara's chances of joining the Union, and raising allegations from some quarters that Europe is essentially a Christian club.

Will 27 nations be able to pull together as one and become a dominant power in the 21st century? Will they be dominated by the Franco-German axis, or will they pull themselves apart as each individual country tries to assert its own national interest before that of the collective good?

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