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The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 member states located primarily in Europe. It was formed in the aftermath of World War II to promote peace, stability, and economic prosperity in the region. However, the EU faces a number of challenges that threaten its future prospects. This lesson will examine some of these challenges and discuss the potential future of the EU.


One of the biggest challenges facing the EU is the departure of the United Kingdom (UK) from the union, commonly known as Brexit. The UK voted to leave the EU in a referendum in 2016 and officially left on January 31, 2020. Brexit has created uncertainty and instability in the EU, as it is the first time a member state has left the union. The EU and UK are currently negotiating a trade deal, but the outcome remains uncertain. The loss of the UK's contributions to the EU budget and its influence in decision-making will also have an impact on the future of the EU.


The EU has faced a significant influx of migrants and refugees in recent years, particularly from the Middle East and Africa. This has created political and social tensions within the EU, as member states have struggled to agree on a common approach to the issue. Some countries have closed their borders or implemented strict immigration policies, while others have advocated for a more open and humanitarian approach. The EU has also faced criticism for its handling of the migrant crisis and its failure to provide adequate support to member states on the front line of the crisis.


Euroscepticism refers to the opposition or skepticism towards the EU and its institutions. This sentiment has been on the rise in many member states, particularly in the wake of the financial crisis and the migrant crisis. Eurosceptic parties have gained support in several countries and have been successful in national elections. This has created a challenge for the EU, as it threatens the unity and cohesion of the union. The EU must address the concerns of Eurosceptics and work to regain the trust and support of its citizens.

Integration or Decentralization

The future of the EU is also dependent on whether it will continue to integrate or decentralize. Integration refers to the process of further political and economic cooperation among member states, while decentralization refers to the transfer of power from the EU to member states. Some argue that further integration is necessary to address the challenges facing the EU, while others believe that decentralization is necessary to address the concerns of member states and citizens. The EU must strike a balance between these two approaches to ensure its future success.


The EU faces a number of challenges that threaten its future prospects, including Brexit, migration, Euroscepticism, and the potential for further integration or decentralization. However, the EU has overcome challenges in the past and has the potential to do so again. The EU must work to address these challenges and ensure that it remains a strong and united union that promotes peace, stability, and economic prosperity in the region.

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⇦ 4. EU Policies and Programs