EU 2015: Crises, nothing but crises

Christoph Hasselbach, Deutsche Welle, 31.12.2015

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The European Union has experienced some difficults times over the years. But this year some issues came together, which hit the EU right at its core. Christoph Hasselbach takes stock. [...]

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban declared the refugee issue to be a "German problem" and closed off the country with a fence, firstly to non-EU neighbor Serbia and later to EU partner Croatia.

Since then, fences have been erected everywhere and border controls re-introduced, the open-border system in the Schengen zone has been restricted. "Europe is missing and Union is missing too", complained an exhausted EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Also Janis Emmanouilidis from the Brussels think tank European Policy Centre sees the Schengen system, as one of the great European achievements "strongly under pressure" and "fundamentally undermined." [...]

Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said in November "can you imagine that we send our army to fight in Syria, while 100,000 Syrians drink coffee in Berlin and watch how we fight for their security?" Janis Emmanouilidis sees behind the shift to the right in Europe the citizens' impresssion, that the EU "is increasingly less in the position to solve problems." The result is a trend towards "nationalization." [...]

Janis Emmanouilidis sees Europe at the end of this year endangered by crises - the euro crisis, the refugee crisis, the Ukraine crisis with the strained relationship with Russia, the situation after the attacks in Paris.

He sees the danger in the "fragmentation of the EU". And this has led to "that support for the EU sinks and support for populist forces increases." Finally all of these crises "can only be managed when there is cooperation at the European level."

But he remembers earlier critical moments like those, when many asked whether Greece could or should remain in the eurozone. Every time we ultimately saw that "there is no real alternative to European cooperation."

See original text at Deutsche Welle here



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