Ilya Somin (The Volokh Conspiracy):The Future of the European Union
This is one of the better summaries of the whole EU project, to my mind. On the side of virtue, Somin points out the free movement of goods, services, and people throughout the ancient and varied national homelands of Europe -- a huge and amazing accomplishment all by itself. As Somin says, "the establishment of free trade and freedom of movement throughout Europe are two of the greatest advances of freedom in the recent history of the Western world".
On the side of vice, Somin is also correct to point to the "variety of regulatory and redistributive initiatives", giving rise to, and bound up in, immense layers of bureaucracy. No doubt some of that is a consequence of trying to protect various established elites or power centers from the trade winds that a free market engenders, but much is also the result of trying to overlay a market with command and control. That can be done, of course, since every country does so, but in Europe, to a greater extent than elsewhere, we see a real confusion of two distinct systems of decision-making, and two views of basic fairness. The result is contradiction, ineffeciency, injustice, and instability.
One other point should be raised -- it's not a vice, but it is at least a potential problem: the definition and security of the EU's borders. Borders matter, even for super-states, because they define the boundaries of the state's ability to establish and protect the freedoms of its citizens -- if they can be crossed with impunity, that ability is increasingly weakened, and a reappearance of old nationalisms becomes a predictable reaction, as we're seeing. There are lessons there for both sides of the Atlantic.