Europe’s Challenges and Reform: Nicole Gnesotto’s Insights

Nicole Gnesotto is a French historian, expert in European and international issues. Since July 2006, she has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Notre Europe think tank.

She is a fervent supporter of the process of European construction.

Europe a victim of world changes

In this first part, the author shows that the European Union is hit by several evils stemming from multiple causes.

A Europe victim of external factors

N. Gnesotto explains that Europe is experiencing crises that it did not cause, such as the economic crisis of 2008 or the migration crisis of 2015. These ills are also strongly linked to globalization.

As a result, the middle class, which fears impoverishment, criticizes this phenomenon. She explains that Europeans have always suffered on the front lines the effects of conflicts that are not theirs.

A Europe responsible for its ills

However, she qualifies this statement and shows that Europe is also at fault. She explains that crises are not just external to the continent, as shown by the state of Greece’s finances before the 2008 crisis.

In addition, she criticizes the wait-and-see attitude of Europeans towards Africa and the Middle East. A wait-and-see attitude that sometimes leads us to blindly follow the United States. It also shows that leaders have been too optimistic about Vladimir Putin’s policies.

Europe is therefore affected by external ills, but it is the actions of Europeans which amplify the continent’s ills.

Reforming the European Union to reform the world

In this part, the author criticizes the economic policy of the European Union towards its inhabitants. Indeed, she explains that the process of European construction has only revolved around the objective of establishing a single market.

Furthermore, the European Union does not aim for the good of Europeans, but seeks to satisfy the consumer. It therefore does not fight against the harmful effects of globalization, penalizing the inhabitants of member countries.

In addition to this, she is very critical of the non-action of the European Union on tax havens, such as Ireland, a popular country for GAFAM and in particular for Apple which sets up its headquarters there.

In addition to economic problems, she also criticizes the inaction of the European Union against populist far-right powers, such as in Hungary, Poland and Italy, which do not share the same vision of Europe as the other members. . Which penalizes the process of European construction.

Ultimately, she thinks that Europe is making a mistake by opposing progressism and nationalism. She explains that the European Union must protect Europeans.


Outside Europe, no salvation

In this chapter, the author draws up a outlook for the European Union.

The ostrich or restoration scenario: this is according to her the most likely scenario, the European Union will not change, like an ostrich putting its head in a hole. She explains that it will remain as it is by favoring the single market, not helping the European.

The black swan or the rupture: the increasingly politically powerless European Union risks disappearing.
The rebound scenario, known as the Kangaroo scenario: the European Union makes the right reforms and bounces back in order to play a role in international relations and take into account the will of Europeans afraid of the impoverishment caused by globalization.


This book is useful for all subjects on European construction. Indeed, the author clearly shows that the objective of establishing a single market has been successful. However, she explains that many ills affect the European Union today. The economic vulnerability of the middle classes and the absence of a geopolitical nature are challenges for member countries. Furthermore, reforms are needed to avoid the black swan scenario.

If you are interested in the European Union, you can listen to this podcast. You can also see this interview with Nicole Gnesotto during the Covid crisis.


Previous post Highlights from November 11 at Cité de la Musique