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PALO ALTO, Calif. — The European Union has been so successful that you would have thought there would be dancing in the streets at its 50th anniversary. Alas, there has been only persistent talk of failure — to achieve political union, to adopt a constitution, to exercise global leadership and vision, to implement economic reforms and the list of laments goes on.

“The EU is on autopilot, in stalemate, in deep crisis,” claims Joschka Fischer, the former German foreign minister and an important voice in Europe.

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