This week the world has watched events unfolding in the Ukrainian capital Kiev with deep unease.
The corrupt oligarchy of President Yanukovych was eventually swept away by a popular uprising that wants their country to look west rather than east.
Thousands of miles away, on the other side of the Atlantic, slow progress is being made creating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a free trade agreement between the EU and the US that would create the world’s largest single market and provide an effective counterweight to the rise of China.
These connected events clearly demonstrate both the strengths and weaknesses of the European project. The immense power of free markets to promote sustainable economic growth makes everybody better off. It is also one of the strongest catalysts for the spread of liberal democracy that we yet know.
But the European Union in its current state is sharply divided between the prudent, businesslike northern countries such as Germany, the UK and Scandinavia, and the southern fringe, unfortunately including France, that appear to think the world owes them a living and they can continue to live beyond their means indefinitely.
If the Conservatives are returned to power in 2015 then David Cameron will be pushing for the repatriation of certain powers from Brussels to enable the entire EU to function more efficiently. This will go some way in returning to a vision of the EU as a free market of sovereign nations.
I welcome this, but only as a first step.
It is in Britain’s national and economic interest to withdraw from the EU completely and leave the death-grip of protectionism and inefficiency that threatens to spread from the southern periphery into the economies of every other member state.