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The new array of European Union subgroups is a sign of deeper malaise

By Matthew Karnitschnig

BERLIN — Metternich, the godfather of pan-European statecraft, once famously quipped that the Balkans started just beyond Vienna’s ramparts.

In the emerging EU of 27, the Balkans are everywhere.

The European Union could always be neatly divided into regional blocs that, for the most part, pursued a common agenda, whether the northern group around Germany or the southern “Club Med” countries led by France.

That changed recently as the flurry of economic and political crises to befall the EU spawned an alphabet soup of subgroups, with like-minded capitals looking for strength in numbers.

Now, Brexit is accelerating the trend as countries seek allies ahead of the coming debates over the EU’s future.

Last month, Athens hosted the inaugural gathering of the “EUMed” (Greece, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus and Malta), replete with a custom…

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