That pretty much sums up the EU. Great idea, but he application of it got messed up along the way. Too many social issues as well as economic were not addressed as the zone was enlarged over the years.
The Brits -- in their role as Trojan horse -- pushed for rapid enlargement, having in mind a kind of free trade area. The Germans and French were a bit more conservative, having in mind more a community of similar countries.
Still if any good is to come from this, the EU will be reformed and hopefully a stronger entity in the long run.
It's really been the political and financial elites that have gone for the European idea -- not so much the people. Maybe this has benefited European ruling classes more than the people. In addition to any ruling class benefit, there's been this nebulous political and cultural idea of Europe as a unity -- a reincarnation of medieval Christendom (which explains why the Turk will never be allowed to join save for his risible "associate" status). To what extent Europe is a unity can be debated -- the German people don't feel any great sympathy for, or solidarity with, the Greek people for example. Whatever the case, the idea of "Europe" needs to be critically re-examined. Among other things, is it going to be in thrall to a financial overclass, with all the inequity and turbulence that that implies? Or is it going to be structured along more social democratic lines, with the people not subject to the buffeting and stomach-turning roller-coaster ride the Americans are having to endure?