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Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel recently was anointed as the last defender of liberal Western values. But that vision died with her announcement that she supported prohibiting Muslim women from wearing a “full veil” face covering. Even Merkel could not ignore illiberal currents buffeting Germany as well as the rest of Europe.

The European Union began with economic cooperation among Belgium, France and Germany. The expanded Common Market promoted growth and prosperity, offering an example of freer trade that even U.S. President-elect Donald Trump might have supported. The early version of the EU appeared determined to eliminate more economic barriers than it created.

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