Five reasons why Europe is cracking up

At Open Democracy, José Ignacio Torreblanca writes:

Denmark has reintroduced border controls with the populist excuse of controlling crime. By taking the step, the country that was once a model of democracy, tolerance and social justice has placed itself on the frontlines of a Europe that is increasingly surrendering to fear and xenophobia. Greece, meanwhile, has spent more than a year teetering on a cliff edge and few fellow European governments seem disappointed that it may abandon the euro – some of them are even secretly supporting the markets against Athens. Finland has thrown itself into the arms of xenophobic populism and, following in the footsteps of Slovakia, has refused to finance the bailout of Portugal. With elections around the corner, France and Italy have taken advantage of the Tunisian uprising to restrict the free movement of people within the European Union. And Germany, unhappy at managing the euro crisis amid regional elections, has broken ranks with France and the United Kingdom in the United Nations Security Council, ignoring the Libya crisis and undermining 10 years of European security policy.

With the future of the euro in doubt and the Arab world erupting, European leaders are governing on the basis of opinion polls and electoral processes, hanging on to power through any means possible even if that results in undoing the Europe that it took so much time and so many sacrifices to build. Few times in the past has the European project been so questioned and its disgraces so publicly exposed. It would seem that in the Europe of today, having a large xenophobic political party is obligatory. The truth is that Europe is cracking up along four fault lines: its values, the euro, foreign policy and leadership. If there is no radical change, the integration process could collapse, leaving the future of Europe as an economically and politically relevant entity up in the air.

This crisis is neither brief nor temporary: we are not just going through a bad patch, nor are we victims of groundless pessimism. To see the danger facing the project of European integration we only have to look back one decade. The contrast with the current situation is revealing. After launching the euro on January 1, 1999, the European Union approved the Lisbon Strategy, which promised to make the EU the most dynamic, competitive and sustainable economy in the world. The bloc also committed itself to expanding freedom, security and justice, taking European integration into areas such as policing, justice and immigration, which until then had remained on the sidelines of the construction of Europe. And to crown this process and to give itself a real political union that would allow the bloc to become a relevant global actor in the 21st century world, it launched the process of drafting the European Constitution.

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One thought on “Five reasons why Europe is cracking up

  1. MB

    The typical think tank article above makes much of Europe’s so-called ‘xenophobia’ — but the truth is, most Europeans are not racist, but most do indeed, feel great concern about the mass immigration of the last ten years,a demographic change that is, according to most reliable reports, studies and stats, a massive seismic shift which is the largest change to population figures in Europe’s recorded history.

    Why do most Europeans feel concern? Well, let’s take UK as an example : For the last fifty years, hard working, well intentioned Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sikh, Jamaican and Irish immigrants have done all they could to integrate and contribute and find their own niche alongside an equally struggling white working class — they achieved a lot. Race relations and social cohesion were fairly good in the UK — after a hard struggle of course.

    But now,all that effort, all that trust, all that new social cohesion, so hard worked for, all that success — has been undermined. A cynical upper middle/upper class has encouraged mass immigration — for the simple reason that the newcomers work for low wages, and they have encouraged mass immigration to encourage further lack of social cohesion as a tool of control and to further break down community unity, as a means of social control.

    These are the facts.

    So, what is to celebrate about mass immigration to Europe since it overwhelmingly serves an upper/upper middle class business/social control agenda and not the interests of ordinary people?

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