The United States Needs a Euro Policy

If Democrats win in November, a bold new approach to Europe is required—and within reach.

Watching Ursula von der Leyen, the new German President of the European Commission, present the European Recovery Package to the European Parliament this week was to receive a history lesson.

“Europe is a story about generations,” she began. “Each generation of Europe has its own story,” she continued. Pointing backward to three political generations before her—first, that of the founders, then of the creators of the single market and common currency and finally that of the uniters of east and west with enlargement—von der Leyen cast herself, and those assembled, in the role of the coronavirus generation.

“We owe it to future generations,” she implored her listeners. The stakes could not be made clearer. Will the generation of Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, and Guiseppe Conte write themselves into the European history books in this recovery, or will they fail?

Talk of the latest “eurocrisis” can trigger eye-rolls in Washington. Von der Leyen’s proposal should not. The intense negotiations that led to the breakthrough Franco-German proposal, which permitted the Commission to launch the European Recovery Package, had been marked by deep fissures appearing in the Union, which should alarm this generation of U.S. foreign policy hands.

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