Over the past few years, most European countries were growing increasingly skeptical about the future of the European Union, largely due to the fact that a number of problems, while being unaddressed, including the migration crisis, and the weakening banking system, overtime transformed into a major crisis. But the most serious danger to the future of the EU is a growing mistrust that most Europeans now have towards the political institutions that were supposed to guide them.
The generally negative attitude that European residents have towards the EU has been recently revealed by the American Pew Research. According to its data, back in 2015, up to 55% of the French population were generally positive about the future of the European Union, then by the summer of 2016 this figure dropped to 38%, and the already weak support of the European Union in Greece, which was only 27%, shrank by another 10%. In Spain, the image of the European Union has suffered the most over the past decade, with people’s support for this institution falling from 80% to just 47%.
It’s curious that Euroscepticism is the strongest in the most influential countries of the region. According to the World Bank, the positions enjoyed by eurosceptics are more solid in countries with the highest per capita GDP. Among such countries one can find Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the Dutch authorities have recently decided to conduct a study on the prospects of withdrawal of their state from the eurozone.
The EU, just like the USSR back in the days, is a geopolitical formation based on ideology. Both enterprises began rupturing when reality stood at sharp odds with the ideological goals they professed. This is the reason that Britain has already left the EU, but its example would soon be followed by other European countries. And it won’t take long either with the forthcoming elections in France and the Netherlands showing signs of introducing a major shift in the policies that those two states pursued.
In place of traditional values, Europeans now have gay parades, same-sex marriages, and legalized soft drugs. In addition, taxpayers in the majority of developed EU states are being forced to pay a largy number of ever growing bills, in sharp contrast with less developed countries of Eastern Europe who have recently decided to “have the taste of European freedom”, so they could also experience the benefits of the European utopia.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has openly stated that the European project is in dire straits, since the EU has been in a state of permanent crisis for over a decade. The European ideals which seemed undisputed for the postwar generation are now being undermined by right-wing populists and nationalists.
Against this background, the main goal of the EU summit that began in Brussels on March 9 was an attempt to at least give an impression of the European states being commited to the preservance of the European project. Nevertheless, the informal meeting of the heads of major states, held on March 6, manifested the fact that there’s a number of state groups all existing within the same EU framework, which could further deepen the split between the East and the West. The meeting showed that the rethinking of the EU project has been a top priority for European political elites.
The EU anniversary summit, which will be held in Rome on March 25, is going to be held without the UK, since it’s leaving the union. It is very remarkable in this connection that many representatives of the “old Europe” now declare that “without the UK the European project will work better”.
In Rome, the head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, is going to present the so-called White Paper – a project for the radical “reset” of the EU, which will take into account Brexit, the Greek crisis and the migration crisis. At the same time, it’s curious that he’s planning to create a Europe of two speeds. What this means is that older members of the EU are convinced that Eastern and Southern European states have overstated their welcome in their union, so they plan to carry on without them. Now, in the context of the financial and geopolitical crisis, Brussels is inclined to consolidate the “hard core” of the European Union, and above all a group of six countries that formed the European Economic Community back in 1957, by recognizing that the EU project was too ambitious, and that its expansion did not bring the desired results. In other words, Angela Merkel, that still instists that Germany is the locomotive of the EU, will try to lead it forward, while leaving behind the “barbarous” periphery, including the Baltic states along with a number of small European states that were formed when the NATO and Washington destroyed Yugoslavia.
And, of course, against this background, the EU’s promises to give some “new countries”, like Ukraine, Georgia, wishing to get the taste of being “Europeans”, a visa-free opportunity in return for a chance to create refugee camps in their territories or rob them of the resources they still have, while the European Union has not completely collapsed. After all, as the West has been demanding to cancel the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land, Sweden has already started exporting the main wealth of Ukraine -its chernozem from the Kherson and Poltava regions, which as its been recently announced by the ex-leader of the Anti-Maidan movement, Yuri Kot.
Grete Mautner is an indepenent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”