Next Year Marks the EU's 50th Anniversary of the Treaty
After a period of introversion and stunned self-disbelief,
continental European governments will recover their enthusiasm
for pan-European institution-building in 2007. Whether the
European public will welcome a return to what voters in two
countries had rejected so short a time before is another matter.
There are several reasons for Europe’s recovering self-confidence. For years European economies had been lagging dismally behind America (to say nothing of Asia), but in 2006 the large continental economies had one of their best years for a decade, briefly outstripping America in terms of growth. Since
politics often reacts to economic change with a lag, 2006 ’s
improvement in economic growth will have its impact in 2007,
though the recovery may be ebbing by then.
The coming year also marks a particular point in a political cycle
so regular that it almost seems to amount to a natural law. Every
four or f