Risk factors of the EU and my advice to overcome them: Do not speak too much about the EU Integration. Just do it!
September 29, 2012
(source of the photo © European Parliament)“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.” – Socrates
All the important EU decision makers beginning with the presidents of the most powerful EU Institutions until the most influential EU Member States’ leaders are busy to find the way out from the EU’s biggest crisis so far. We have never had so many ideas, meetings, proposals intending to either find an immediate solution for the crisis or create a reshuffled, reformed EU. The chaos is almost complete and no-one could foresee so far, what will be the final outcome. Therefore, it made sense for me to briefly analyse the current risk factors the EU faces (1), to shortly present the exisiting strategies being on the table to save the EU (2) and finally, to present my advise (3) to find a simple but appropriate answer in order to save the future of our European Union.
(1) Risk Factors: the root of all problems is the economic crisis and its second wave, the euro-crisis
As regards history: the whole economic crisis started in 2008 in the U.S. but it became a real European-specific danger later on questioning eveng the existence of the European integration after the economic breakdown of Greece in 2010.
Do you still remember the Icesave and the collapse of Iceland, meanwhile whole Europe was poisoned by vulcanic ash?
Afterwards, the Greek disease infected other EU countries one after the other: Ireland, Portugal, later Cyprus and most recently Slovenia. We learned a completly new but deadly word: downgrading. And when really big, G20 Member EU economies started struggling such as Italy (or lately Spain), the situation became really alarming.
New imaginary borders split Europe: the two-speed Europe is not a possibility anymore but the cruel reality
The complete unity of Europe became an Utopia, and new divisions created new borders splitting Europe. We learned about the “rich and sparing” Nord and about the “poor and indepted” South. The never ending “austerity versus growth” discussion began and the two main EU-wide political parties immediately familiarised themselves with one of them. Therefore, favorising growth instead of austerity became a question of faith. Thus, the two-speed Europe became an immediate reality with the visibility of the closer integration of the euro countries. And not to mention the rebirth of EU scpeticism and some countries even put on question the added-value of the EU Membership. Furthermore, several important territories of different EU Members started to think about independence (Grönland-DK, Scottland-UK, Calatonia-ES etc.). The example of Kosovo is expanded.
Sick men of Europe: the core values and principles of the EU such as democracy and rule of law are not evidences anymore
Although the economic difficulties may undermine the stability of the Union, other non-euro EU Member States put into question the EU’s legitimity to “dictate” and new frontlines have been opened between the EU and countries like Hungary, Romania or Bulgaria. With the active involvement of the Council of Europe, there are ongoing political and legal processes based on the existing EU law and partially on the Europan Convention on Human Rights to clear the situation, but there are no light at the end of the tunnel, yet.
What a mess!
(2) Existing Strategies to save the EU
Since every disease, all of these symptomes proved the existing weaknesses of the EU and stimulated immediate reactions.
During the last, n+1 “historic” EU Summit the President of the European Council presented its plans for a Banking Union and the machinery of the Council prepares the framework of a genuine economic Union which may lead to a political Union.
The President of the Commission held its famous State of the Union-speech in which Mr. Barroso made clear his vision about the Political Union of the European Nations.
The ECB President tried to extend the ECB’s mandate with creative legal interpretation and announced his wishes to buy bonds of indepted countries in order to save the euro.
The President of the European Parliament expressed his wishes to have more say for the European Parliament in the future of the EU (bearing in mind the importance of the upcoming 2015 EP elections).
Meanwhile, the Member States are fighting each other to have a bigger piece from the EU budget cake and they keep planning the future of Europe: Europe biggest economy keeps insisting to launch a new EU convention and codify a new EU-Treaty to deepen the integration and meanwhile, 11 important EU foreign ministers presented a 4 steps plan which may also lead to a real Political Union.
(3) My nutshell analysis and expectations instead of: “Keep calm and held another Summit!”
Historia est magistra vitae. The EU Integration has its 60 years history. The EU faced and survived a lot of crises (the fall of the Pleven-plan, de Gaulle and the policy of empty chairs, the ’70ies as the decade of euroscepticism, the fall of communisme followed by the big bang – the historic enlargement of the EU, the Constitutional crisis etc.).
We speak too much instead of focusing on the right problems. My advice is to learn from the examples of the Founding Fathers (Paul-Henry Spaak, Robert Schuman, Jean Monnet, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, Jacques Delors) and simply follow their examples: Do not speak too much about the EU Integration. Just do it!
PS: If you don’t believe me, just remember: the European electors rejected the European Constitution because of saying too much: Hymne, flag and common EU Foreign Minister. They were more than happy to accept ratify and apply basicly the same legal text under the name of “Lisbon Treaty”
I remain at your disposal.
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Related earlier updates:Zoltán Massay-Kosubek