Issue Number 477
Happy New Year to all our readers and wishes for a peaceful and productive 2019.
For the last two years the EU has been confronted with serious crises, from Brexit to the ‘New Cold War’ including the escalating global trade war. At the same time, the two ‘Engines of Europe’ – Germany and France – are under pressure as their economies slowdown in the middle of several EU blocks’ agendas like the Southern European, the Central-Eastern European and the Nordic-Baltic-Benelux ones.
Europe’s biggest problem is a sense of lack of orientation. The big declarations on institution building and more effective coordination have been gradually reduced to a wish list. Plans such as the Banking Union collide with disagreements among Member States. Budgetary discipline remains at the forefront and the necessary proposals for strengthening the development dimension are missing.
Political integration is not moving forward, with Member States even denying common guidelines on various issues. All this creates a climate of uncertainty and people’s mistrust for the upcoming European elections. The election result will likely reflect growing popular dissatisfaction with the EU.
With social democracy in deep crisis, the Christian Democrats swinging backwards and forwards as to whether they will turn right, with new political shapes passing an identity assessment, there is not only an open possibility but a certainty of a protest vote, part of which could go to the far-right variants. The anti-EU faction will gain more influence and the ability to delay integration and reforms.
Rational politicians and supporters of the EU need to counter this false and sinister picture once and for all, now, before is too late! But in order to defeat the unfeasible nationalism of “my country first”, Europe must be reborn again based upon its basic values: transparency, social and territorial cohesion and solidarity. Send a clear message that “Europe is more important” for prosperity and peace. Utopia? Time will tell.
Managing Director – Editor
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