Tensions are mounting in Brussels after four EU member states unilaterally banned grain imports from Ukraine. The moves are technically illegal, as trade policy can only be set at the EU level. But the Eastern European countries in question are panicking over a glut of grain that is starting to have domestic political consequences.
The European Union’s integration has often been driven by crisis. At the same time, not every problem confronting European policymakers has led to further integration. It is only when specific external threats become intertwined with tensions inside the EU that a moment of crisis can present policymakers with an existential choice.