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  • Too late to save the EU?

    Brexit brought an enormous excitement in the discussion about EU's future. The unexpected election of Trump as US President another one. The Pavlov reaction by many of the EU leaders was twice the same old song: we need more Europe, more budget, more buildings, more staff, more member states

There was hardly any attention for analyses and ideas of experienced people, pro-Europe but with a critical approach of the current EU. That seems too much for Europhiles pur-sang as the liberal Verhofstadt, the socialist Pittella, etcetera. Their firm rigid and short-sighted attitude is: who doesn’t agree with me, is against me.

‘The EU’s achievements in 60 years of progressive integration far outweigh its present shortcomings’, writes Giles Merritt, Founder of Friends of Europe, a distinguished Brussels based think tank. Daniel Guéguen, another pro-European veteran, blames the so-called Big Bang, the expansion from 15 to 28 member states in the beginning of this century, for the current problems. This nearly doubling of the number of member states in a very short period caused, in his opinion, the ‘totally unmanageable’ situation the EU is in.

Maybe we have also to listen to two Americans authorities, sympathising with the European integration process but in critical way: Nobel Prize winner Stiglitz and Walter Russel Mead. In their analyses of the disarray the EU is in, the euro is the cause. Both advise to deal with this cause of the problem, the euro, instead of having to struggle with the consequences of it. Or as the Germans call it: nicht kurieren am Symptom.

The well-known Greek journalist, Athanase Papandropoulos, approaches the EU problems more philosophical. You can find the 5 articles in this special report.

N. Peter Kramer,
Editor-in-chief


The converge criteria were that countries had to keep their deficits and debts relative to their GDP down. That was viewed as the necessary and almost sufficient conditions for making the euro work. Several of the countries that went into crisis, Spain and Portugal for instance, actually had a surplus before the crisis and a very low debt-to-GDP ratio. But they still had a crisis. That tells us an important lesson: what the people who were behind the creation of the euro thought was going to be a critical condition was not!

How a common currency threatens the future of Europe

The Euro started 17 years ago, and was supposed to enhance commercial ties, erode borders and foster a spirit of collective interest, furthering the evolution of former wartime combatants into fellow nations of a united Europe, the European Union

The post-Delors years have gotten worse and worse, with Commission Presidents poorly chosen or rather well chosen to do badly or do nothing at all. The list is long: Santer, Prodi, Barosso I and II, and now Juncker. The Juncker Commission, now in place for 18 months, has got everything wrong. Whether on Grexit or Brexit, a proactive approach on these issues was required, to see them as an opportunity and not a threat. Making Greece leave the Euro while cancelling the country’s debt and assisting its recovery would have been the right EU solution for sustaining the single currency. Instead, the Greek crisis goes on, still unsolved.

The European Union: 20 years in the wrong direction

Brexit on 23 June, glyphosate on 24 June… On issues big and small, the EU needs to re-build itself from top to bottom

The constellation of power on Brussels is still that of the old establishment, drawing the anger of new forces. Indeed, there is a time lag between national and EU-level political change. New parties gain power at the EU level only once they enter national government while more establish the power basis first at the regional or local level or online. As a result, that may be very influential in setting a new political agenda in national politics but it is the old parties that still represent their countries in Brussels.

The EU and its ancient enemies

Seventy years after the famous speech of W. Churchill in Zurich the specter of nationalism is once again present in Europe. On September 18, remind us the Foreign Affairs Magazine, the Alternative for Germany, the Islam and anti-immigrant party won 14.2 % of the vote for the Berlin’s regional parliament

Europe must regain control of its frontiers; its citizens must believe that their union can prevent an unending flow of migrants across the sea and over land. This means more naval power in the Mediterranean and expanded surveillance of Europe’s frontiers. It also means building up European hard-power capacities (including intelligence and military options) to better manage events in North Africa and the Middle East that affect vital European interests.

Europe needs its realist past

The founders of the European Union were hard headed pragmatists—and their wisdom could help today’s leaders handle Putin, migration and Brexit

The days are long gone when Europeans’ national cultures were part of their colonialist armoury. Today the flow is if anything reversed, with Europe absorbing strong cultural influences from Asia, Africa and the Arab world. But the EU’s growing focus on the cultural affinities of its member countries is becoming vitally important.

Making the most of Europe’s ”saving graces”

No one would deny that these are difficult times for the European Union

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