10 Crises of the European Union

Currently, the EU faces a number of interconnected crises. Some of them are institutional, others are caused by objective factors and demonstrate a general unpreparedness – perhaps even an unwillingness – on the part of Brussels to cope with new threats. Still other types of crises are operated ones in which the important role is played by the USA as the main partner of the EU in military, political and economic matters. And of course this partner tries to advance its own interests.

Crisis of the general policy of European integration

The enthusiasm and pathos derived from the creation of uniform space has burnt out, especially after the main beneficiaries from the project of the EU, i.e. Germany and France, has become ever more obvious. The system of the adoption of political decisions in the EU (European Commissioners are not elected by direct vote) contradicts democratic standards and values. And that fact alone undermines the foundations of the national states within the EU and strengthens the role of the bureaucracy. It generates a general mistrust of the supranational institutions which do not have authority. In addition, the weakened sovereignty of the national states significantly reduces their roles as players in the realm of international politics. If in the past Germany, France, Italy and other countries applied for the status of power-centers (even if they remained dependent on the USA via NATO), now their possibilities noticeably reduced.

The interests and ambitions of certain countries face not only the natural competition from the outside, but they also meet with internal sabotage which is expressed through the blockade of various initiatives. For example, Germany did not support the development of the Mediterranean Union which was initially backed by France. Similar mutually dependent vulnerability led to the emergence of the concept of the EU as a small power.[1] If, during the modernist era, Europe could boast of having a coalition of powers that contributed to setting the tone of world history, today (in the postmodern era) the EU is not considered to be an entity of absolute values with regard to global policy.

Crisis of economy

The risk of a Greek exit from the euro zone – and also the current debate about possible new candidates for a default – shows an insolvency regarding the economic policy of the EU. Though well known neoliberals like George Soros constantly advise European politicians on economic matters, the EU abstains from both full-fledged liberalization and a return to a more rational approach to the management of the banking sector.

Thus, there was a threat of the EU’s withdrawal of its Transatlantic partnership on trade and investments – i.e. what is intensely lobbied by Washington.

The European public is a crucial target of this American initiative. Nevertheless, researchers note that according to the international standards and laws of the EU, there is only the mandate on negotiation, but these negotiations take place behind closed doors under the pressure of Washington. Moreover, there were numerous attempts from the USA to undermine the European rules of data security.[2] Reports of both the European and American consumer organizations and representatives of civil society testify to this fact.

Such actions are, as a rule, conducted through the lobbyist companies. For example, through "Hogan Lovells", which created the "Coalition for Privacy and Free Trade". The direct political interests of the USA are obvious among such "heavyweights" as Hugo Paemen,  the former US Ambassador in the EU; the former representative of the USA on trade, Clayton Eutter; the former Deputy Chief Technology Officer in the White House, Daniel Weitzner[3]; all of these men work for Hogan Lovells. Will the European consumers manage to stand under the pressure of the multinational companies? It is obvious that it is also a question of political will among the leaders of the EU countries.

Analyzing the macroeconomic indicators in the EU, the German observer Eric Zuesse came to the following conclusions concerning the consequences of joining the EU to transatlantic partnership:

- Within the first 10 years the agreement will lead to European net - export losses. The following entities will suffer most of all: Northern Europe (2,07% of GDP), France (1,9%), Germany (1,14%), and also Great Britain (0,95%);

- The agreement will cause decrease in GDP growth. Taking into account European net – export losses, Northern Europe will face the largest reduction of GDP (0,5%), France – (0,48%), Germany – (0,29%);

- The agreement will cause a failing of the labor income. France will suffer most strongly; it will lose 5 500 euros for one able-bodied in annual calculation, Northern Europe – 4 800 euros, Great Britain – 4 200 euros, Germany – 3 400 euros;

- The agreement will lead to loss of jobs. The EU will approximately lose 600 thousand workplaces. The greatest losses will be in Northern Europe – 223 thousand, Germany – 134 thousand, France – 130 thousand, and also Southern Europe – 90 thousand;

- The agreement will lead to losses of state revenues. The margin from the income on indirect taxes (excises, a value added tax) in relation to the state subsidies will be reduced in all European countries. Most strongly it will concern France where total losses will be 0,64% of GDP. Deficiency of state budgets of all European countries will increase with possible excess of the indicators fixed by the Maastricht agreements in 3%;[4]

- The agreement will cause the increased financial instability, accumulation of imbalances, the reduction of export revenue, salary share in the income of the population and also of state revenues. In this situation the demand will have to be maintained by the income and investments. At the same time against the decreasing rates of consumption the growth of sales won't be able to act as a driving force. Growth of cost of assets which will support the income and investments (generally in financial sector) will become more realistic option. Potential threat of macroeconomic instability at such model of economic development is well-known and that was shown by the last financial crisis.[5]

Crisis of European culture

Formation of the general space of the EU forced to create special programs urged to underline the unity of the community countries. However, instead of appealing to historic facts and the European traditions (i.e. underlining the pluralistic values), including Christian roots, Brussels provoked creation of post-modernist model, the most known as multiculturalism. Leaders of Germany and France officially declared the crash of this model a few years ago. Though the criticism of multiculturalism is generally connected with a demographic imbalance and process of Islamization of Europe (and now the EU must adopt the norms of its own native citizens in face of Muslim culture, that is more resistant than amorphous “European” set of rules), the roots of this problem are deeper, and possible consequences can be much more serious (but also hypocritical embraces under the flag of tolerance cause generation of such figures as Anders Breivik). It is not only about emasculation of historical memory and its substitution by trite ersatz culture, but also about an education system which institutionalizes of intellectual degradation. Finally it can lead to a dehumanization and change of an anthropological picture of Europe. One of the sad facts of this process – adoption of law on same-sex marriages that shows the next crisis connected with sexual orientation.

Crisis of gender identity

The project of transhumanity advanced by the USA even more often is perceived in the EU as the mechanism of destruction of the European peoples of rich culture and history. Unfortunately, a number of laws, such as legalization of same-sex marriages and gender education, were already implemented in the countries of Europe, but they cause serious resistance in the vast majority of the population and can be reconsidered in the future.

Nevertheless, it seriously strikes on image of the EU. Europe is even more often perceived as a nursery of sodomy and legalization of perversions. The narrative about Gayropa[6] already became the property of both an ordinary discourse, and scientific researches.

Military-political crisis

The Ukrainian conflict and a false target in the form of Russia had an essential impact on the restructuring of the EU armed forces or to be exact, predetermined the plan of the manipulative actions taken by the USA on the European arena. The EU countries within

NATO became the hostages of instructions from Washington, having developed the long-term operation "Atlantic Resolve".

Besides the debate about the role of NATO, the need of the corresponding payments at the level of 2% of GDP and creation of the European forces of reaction, in the EU there appears the problem connected with different opinions concerning the strategy of actions itself.

On February 11, 2015 the military-political group sent the letter of recommendation to the Council of Europe where it was specified that all member states of the EU politically support carrying out operations or missions, but only the limited quantity of them wishes and has possibility to take part in military actions.[7]

This EU military-political group’s recommendation compelled to adopt the new provision on the mechanism of the general expenses administration of on carrying out military operations of the European Union, known under Athena code-name. The main idea consisted in presenting the EU as a source of safety.

We will note that various civil and military EU missions are now carried out in the states situated far from the European Union’s borders: Afghanistan, Djibouti, Somalia, Seychelles, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Niger, Central African Republic, Palestine, Kosovo, Bosnia, Georgia and Ukraine.

On March 27, 2015 the decision 2015/528 was made which approved 49 points and two appendices on financing, compensation and the reporting during preparation and carrying out such operations. This bulky bureaucratic document underwent criticism from the public for its discrepancy with reality. In general an imbalance between desires and possibilities, especially financial, were declared as crisis of military-political system of the EU.[8]

Crisis of good-neighbourhood

The policy of the neighbourhood of the EU has long history. Officially it is directed on creation of friendly buffer zones in Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and South Caucasus. Actually part of the projects turned into the instrument of political and economic expansion (projects of "Eastern Partnership" and "Southern partnership") operating in the framework of "soft power". On the other hand, the absence of deep understanding of needs and interests of the neighboring countries led to emergence and escalation of the conflicts in the southern Mediterranean that caused a domino effect and a humanitarian disaster in North Africa and in the Middle East.

It should be noted that the EU usually concludes agreements on association in exchange for the obligation of carrying out political, economic, trade or judicial reforms. In exchange for this associated state can get duty-free access to some or to all EU markets, the market of agricultural products etc., and also financial or technical assistance.

It is important to note that among the countries of the Southern partnership only Algeria and Syria from 2000 to 2011 had positive trade balance with the EU, but in both cases it is connected with export of energy carriers. For all other southern countries of the European neighbourhood policy block the trade deficiency was recorded.

Data of Eurostat give such statistics on the countries[9]:

Algeria - 2005 of 11460 million euros, 2010 of 5445 million euros

Egypt - 2005 - 1066 million euros, 2010 of-6843 million euros

Israel - 2005 - 4095 million euros, 2010 of-8244 million euros

Jordan - 2005 - 1964 million euros, 2010 of-2261 million euros

Lebanon - 2005 - 2845 million euros, 2010 of-4274 million euros

Morocco - 2005 - 2228 million euros, 2010 of-5140 million euros

Palestine - 2005 - 192 million euros, 2010 of-267 million euros

Syria - 2005 of 1916 million euros, 2010 of 115 million euros

Tunisia 2005 - 626 million euros, 2010 of-1163 million euros

In other words, these states got the European goods and services more, but didn't sell their goods to the EU countries. It is typical for liberally focused economy when one country or group of the countries creates special conditions for penetration on the markets of other powers, under the screen of the open market and free trade, at the same time using protectionist measures for certain types of production to protect their own producers.

The data provided in the “European Neighbourhood Policy Countries. Essential macro-economic indicators” 2013 report published by the European Commission convincingly testify that the EU, but in no way the countries of the Southern partnership was the winner.

The analysis of actions of the EU concerning the states getting to a framework of both "partnership" led to understanding in many these countries that actually these projects are of a veiled neo-colonialism form. As a result a number of the countries had to refuse a number of offers of the EU. And in other countries (Moldova, Ukraine) the European grants according to programs of "Eastern Partnership" simply melt away in corruption schemes.

Of course anti-Russian stances from sanctions to media hysteria is the most obvious example of the false strategy for neighbourhood.

The next crisis - a problem with migrants

Huge flow of refugees and migrants in the EU is only a consequence of the previous actions of the European Union in the countries of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Besides, the assimilated Africans and Asians (the second and third generations from the former colonies) are a certain intermediary link between new migrants and indigenous Europeans. And earlier adopted laws do not allow the resolution of humanitarian issues, and that leads to absurd and tragicomic situations.

Brussels came recently to the point when an offer to heat the vessels transporting illegal migrants were considered. So that statements for need of humanitarian missions and tolerance is no more than hypocritical policy of double standards. Polls in EU countries show that local population is categorically against new inflow of illegal immigrants from the countries of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Meanwhile the European Commission and European Parliament synchronously suggest to set quotas for the arriving migrants that, first of all will strike on countries of Eastern Europe, where also so quite deplorable situation with a demography.

The placement of migrants in the former concentration camps, where the Nazis destroyed people during Second world war,  is one more attempt to construct a good mine at a bad game.

Crisis in energy strategy

Sanctions against Russia directly impacted the energy policy of the EU. The concept of the Third power package directly contradicts national interests of a number of the states which have deficiency of own energy resources and counted on preferences from Russia. The economic benefit could be received both from gas transit, and from direct consumption. But a number of countries are compelled to suffer humiliating indications of European Commission.

Though it is officially told about need to create the consolidated position and to work for the good of interests of all members of the EU, in practice it occurs differently. In the report of the German institute on the international affairs and security devoted to power policy it is specified that "the discourse about the power union can be interpreted generally as a symptom of a crisis in integration of the EU"[10]. Despite all offered programs and strategies, including regulation of gas deliveries, green energy and climate changes, authors specify that only pragmatic approach can bring results. It is necessary to consider that this institute develops foreign policy for Germany and these recommendations mean a prevalence of will of Berlin over other states. Considering the institutional capacity of the Germans, it is possible to suppose that Germany plans to assume shadow management of future power union with the emphasis on renewables. Any leakage of the German plans and infringement of interests of the countries which now have possibility of a choice of energy resources sources, can generate deeper crisis and split between EU members.

Crisis of own promises

The impression is made that European citizens have a very short political memory. They quickly forgot not only the promises of their leaders, but also one particular example: The Thessaloniki declaration of 2003[11] is still not implemented. The Western Balkans for more than 10 years did not turn into a prospering and safe region. On the contrary – the situation in many countries of the region worsened. And the cause is: a direct short-sighted policy of the EU.

Crisis of ideas

Strangely enough, many of the considered crises are connected to the absence of ideas among European politicians. Impenitence of thinking and persuasive commitment to the limited block of the schemes connected with neoliberal ideology in various forms of its interpretations (from Left Trotskyism to the militarism of the Right) neither permits an adequate or objective look at the organic processes nor estimates them in a temporary

and historical prospect. It, in turn, blocks the possibility of forecasting and dismisses the creation of realistic scenarios, as the majority of forecasts appears to be wrong.

Perhaps, the people making decisions in the EU should look amongst themselves and more sensibly to look at the course of things, without denying the use of other models of political management.




[1] Asle Toje. The European Union as a Small Power: After the Post-Cold War. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010

[2] http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-257-ttip-ralf-bendrath.pdf

[3] http://www.hoganlovells.com/hogan-lovells-forms-coalition-forprivacy-and-free-trade-03-18-2013

[4] http://deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/TTIP-Studie-Tufts.pdf

[5] Eric Zuesse, Obama’s Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Would Be Disastrous for Europe // Global Research, November 18, 2014 http://www.globalresearch.ca/obamas-transatlantic-trade-and-investment-partnership-ttip-would-be-disastrous-for-europe/5414546

[6] Oleg Riabov, Tatiana Riabova. The decline of Gayropa? // http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2014-02-05-riabova-en.html

[7] PMG Recommendations on Article 44 TEU, Brussels, 11 February 2015

[8] COUNCIL DECISION (CFSP) 2015/528 of 27 March 2015 establishing a mechanism to administer the financing of the common costs of European Union operations having military or defence implications (Athena) and repealing Decision 2011/871/CFSP // Official Journal of the European Union, 28.3.2015

[9] http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_OFFPUB/KS-32-12-269/EN/KS-32-12-269-EN.PDF

[10] Severin Fischer and Oliver Geden. Limits of an “Energy Union”, SWP Comments 28, May 2015, Р. 3.

[11] http://www.cespi.it/Rotta/dich-Salonicco.PDF

 

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