Europe

EU official Tusk: Idea of one European nation is 'illusion'

  • From left, European Council President Donald Tusk, Professor Joseph Halevi Horowitz Weiler President of the European parliament Martin Schulz and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, right, attend the panel discussion "State of the European Union", in Rome, Thursday, May 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    From left, European Council President Donald Tusk, Professor Joseph Halevi Horowitz Weiler President of the European parliament Martin Schulz and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, right, attend the panel discussion "State of the European Union", in Rome, Thursday, May 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi, left, talks with the president of European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, center, and the president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, right, during their meeting in Rome, Thursday, May 5, 2016. (Angelo Carconi/ANSA via AP Photo) ITALY OUT

    Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi, left, talks with the president of European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, center, and the president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, right, during their meeting in Rome, Thursday, May 5, 2016. (Angelo Carconi/ANSA via AP Photo) ITALY OUT  (The Associated Press)

  • President of the European parliament Martin Schulz , left, and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, right, attend the panel discussion "State of the European Union", in Rome, Thursday, May 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    President of the European parliament Martin Schulz , left, and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, right, attend the panel discussion "State of the European Union", in Rome, Thursday, May 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

Top EU officials are debating the state of the European Union.

EU Council President Donald Tusk said Thursday evening in Rome the idea of one European nation "was an illusion."

Nationalists and anti-European sentiment have gained ground in elections in several EU nations. Fears of being overwhelmed by migrants are testing a major EU accomplishment — Schengen "border-free" travel — as several countries erect or plan physical barriers.

Tusk acknowledged that the EU is facing a "risky and tricky" moment. But the former Polish prime minister said that while the "utopia" of an ideal Europe is "unrealistic," Europe can tackle its challenges keeping the continent's pluralism in mind.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, citing the migrant crisis, said "suddenly we discovered that not everyone was applauding or sharing" EU views.