A torn European flag flies in Bordeaux, southwestern France, February 18, 2016. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau
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It's little wonder the European Union can't find common solutions to Europe's urgent problems when its main members are having such different national conversations.Flip to Britain and the talk is all of national sovereignty and a possible Brexit in the buildup to a June referendum that might end the country's schizophrenic membership of the EU.When those countries' leaders come to Brussels, they often cannot even agree what they should be discussing. For the last two EU summits, Britain wanted the focus to be on its demands for a renegotiation of its membership terms to give Prime Minister David Cameron a "new settlement" he can sell in a June 23 referendum on whether to stay in the bloc.German Chancellor Angela Merkel, fighting for her political life against domestic critics of her open door for refugees, wanted the EU to concentrate on urgent measures to secure Europe's external borders, register migrants, send home rejected asylum seekers and share out refugees among EU states.EU countries have largely ignored the quotas of refugees they agreed last year to take in, and Hungary is now planning a referendum on whether it should have to accept any.
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