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This time, the EU could collapse This decade could well be the Union's last

On the march. (Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images)

On the march. (Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images)


December 11, 2023   5 mins

Over the last decade it has become an inevitable cycle: every election that shocks the interests and expectations of the EU’s technocrats is met with predictions of the bloc’s inevitable break-up. I’ve been guilty of this myself — even though, in every case, the EU has survived or at least lingered.

Despite this trend, the shock victory of Geert Wilders’s Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Dutch general election last month feels different. More than anything, it suggests a malaise more profound than the normal run-of-the-mill economic shocks that have previously imperilled the existence of the EU and, more specifically, the European Monetary System.

The traditional source of instability within the eurozone has been economic: the austerity policies imposed by the European Commission on the so-called periphery countries such as Italy, Greece and Spain. While these measures have usually contributed to a degree of political backlash (frequently accompanied by the threat of leaving the currency), the European Commission and the bloc’s core members have generally concocted technical solutions that kick the fundamental problem down the road. Their instinct is always to mitigate and salve rather than resolve the prevailing political anger. Occasionally, the populist parties elected on the back of this discontent are even co-opted by Brussels and become willing handmaidens of neoliberal policy. Italy’s new government, led by Giorgia Meloni, is a striking example of this process in action.

But as the latest round of elections throughout Europe have illustrated, this frustration has now taken root at the very heart of Europe: places such as the Netherlands, France and even Germany, long considered core eurozone countries. In France last year, President Emmanuel Macron was re-elected in France, but the election also marked the best-ever result for Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National, and Macron’s party then lost its majority in parliament. In Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats are currently polling in third place in Germany behind the Right-populist Alternative for Deutschland (AfD), which has increased its share of the national vote to 21% in the latest polls.

Exacerbating Germany’s political fragmentation is Sahra Wagenknecht, who previously served as a member of the German Bundestag for the hard-Left Die Linke. She has since announced both her departure from the party, and officially formed a new populist party of the Left, Bündnis Sahra Wagenknecht. Early polls give the party an average of 14% support nationally, likely drawn from the same pool of voters currently attracted by the AfD. But what is most noteworthy from a polling standpoint today is this new Left-Right rebellion could potentially secure more than one-third of the total votes. As Brave New Europe’s editor Mathew Rose has noted, add to those numbers the 25% of German voters who do not even bother to cast their ballots in most elections, and it suggests that the combined vote of the establishment parties in Germany comprises less than half the country’s total population.

Then there is last month’s result in the Netherlands. The PVV has been led by 60-year-old Geert Wilders, a Right-wing firebrand long known for his aggressive anti-Islam, anti-immigration, and anti-EU rhetoric. After last month’s election, Wilders now leads the biggest political party in the Netherlands, winning 37 of the 150 seats in the Dutch lower house (and almost a quarter of the popular vote). While some commentators have suggested that it will be hard for Wilders to form a governing coalition, the leader of his centre-right rival, People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, has already indicated some willingness to “tolerate” if not support a PVV-led minority government in parliament. And the cordon sanitaire around Wilders may not last forever: Sweden, whose mainstream parties had previously collaborated to exclude outsiders from government, is now governed by a coalition that includes the far-Right Sweden Democrats.

The difference between this populist revolt and those of the 2010s is that it is not a primal reaction to economic dissatisfaction; it is a symptom of a broader realignment in European conservatism. Europe’s populist leaders are not only challenging the political mainstream (and their corresponding ideology). More like Donald Trump’s effect on the Republican Party, these figures are moving to transform a conservatism defined by traditionalist instincts into an anti-establishment, nativist and, in many instances, profoundly xenophobic and racist movement.

The perception that the continent is facilitating uncontrolled immigration is the major driver behind this trend. In 2022, there were just fewer than 1 million applications for asylum in the EU, 52% more than in 2021 and the highest level since 2016. Further contributing to the problem is the fallout from the Ukraine conflict, a conflict which Washington has apparently decided to leave Europe to finance, as well as the reconstruction of an increasingly dysfunctional, enervated nation from which millions have already emigrated to other parts of Europe. The arrival of large numbers of refugees and irregular migrants has placed the EU asylum system under great stress, particularly as member-states have failed to agree on a balanced method of sharing responsibility for the asylum-seekers.

Additionally, the unequal burden of the costs of climate mitigation policies has also played a major role in fomenting discontent across the EU. This started with France’s gilets jaunes protests, and has more recently manifested itself in the Netherlands where the incumbent government appeared to scapegoat Dutch farmers for the big increase in nitrogen emissions, which in turn led Rutte coalition to propose significant cutbacks in agricultural production to meet climate change obligations. This, despite the fact that government policies for decades had encouraged farmers to intensify production, no matter the environmental costs.

Ultimately, these are structural social problems, and they are not easily rectified via mere technical economic adjustments to the currency union, or softening the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact. The issue is further complicated by the fact that the European parties of the Left have become the avatars of economic austerity and are increasingly viewed as aloof from the problems faced by ordinary citizens. European voters have been offered nothing but “There is no alternative” politics from both the mainstream Left and mainstream Right over the past several elections. And no matter which party citizens in Europe vote for, policies remain unaffected, which is increasingly encouraging a shift toward more radical populist political groupings.

Rather like the election of Donald Trump in 2016 (and the growing possibility of his return to the White House in 2025), the political tremors experienced today in Europe are decades in the making, a systematic failure to address rising public anger about the nature of civic society across Europe. The populist Right has so far been the greatest beneficiary: its leaders have strategically positioned themselves as political outsiders and as critics of the “ruling elite”, enabling them to easily tap into the gulf of popular anger that has been directed at the EU and the national governments viewed as its intermediaries.

Consequently, the material fact and the idea of Europe is fragmenting, and the EU is facing a situation not unlike that of post-communist Yugoslavia. In that case, once the organising genius of Tito’s government disappeared, the delicate bonds between the country’s states together became frayed and eventually dissolved, often violently. Similar types of fractures are now emerging throughout the European Union — which has no such charismatic figurehead to speak of — and even within its richer countries, which long felt as if they were being unfairly burdened by the so-called Mediterranean “profligates”. The threat to the Union is very real, and compounded by the temptation its leaders might have to push once more for “ever closer union”, further alienating the voters who they have failed to interpret or understand. For once, predictions of the European Union’s demise do not seem to be overwrought.


Marshall Auerback is a market commentator and a research associate for the Levy Institute at Bard College.

Mauerback

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Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
4 months ago

I have no issue with the essay, but this kind of unsubstantiated references always annoys me; “…transform a conservatism defined by traditionalist instincts into an anti-establishment, nativist and, in many instances, profoundly xenophobic and racist movement.”

According to the EUs own statistics there are 23 million non residents living within its borders, or 5.3% of the population. Those are big numbers.

Alan Osband
AO
Alan Osband
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

He seems to be highly thought of at LAProgressive :

Philip Broaddus
PB
Philip Broaddus
4 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

Bard received a $500 million dollar endowment pledge in 2021 from George Soros. That explains the tone of the article.

Dumetrius
D
Dumetrius
4 months ago

He has his pride! Won’t work for free!!

Peter D
PD
Peter D
4 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Nice comments fellas. So glad to see that I am not the only one not happy with the tone.
Considering the fact that the flows of migration are into the West and those non whites living in the West are not leaving, this little bit of evidence proves beyond doubt that we Westerners are the least racist and xenophobic of the lot. I prefer to go on evidence rather than the clickbait brain farts of our so called “educated elites”.

0 0
0
0 0
4 months ago

Ah yes that bogeyman Soros. What would the deluded do without him.

Philip Broaddus
PB
Philip Broaddus
4 months ago
Reply to  0 0

0 0, seriously? Man up, dude. I didn’t say anything except that George owns the university, and it’s logical that anything coming out of it conforms with what George would want expressed. I actually figured that out in my 40’s. Or 50’s. I’m just killing it.

Marshall Auerback
MA
Marshall Auerback
4 months ago

For the record, I am NOT employed at Bard College. I am a research associate at the Levy Institute, which happens to be domiciled at Bard, but that’s the extent of the connection.

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
4 months ago

In that case, why do you stigmatise citizens who resent mass immigration to their societies, especially by people from very different and unassimilable cultures, as ‘xenophobic’ and ‘racist’?
Most media folk commit this rhetoric of contempt and it is one of the big reasons why populism grows in leaps and bounds. Vast numbers of regular citizens, who are not right-wing, nor hostile to foreign nations as such, are exasperated by this libel.

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“profoundly xenophobic and racist movement.”
This is exactly what conservatism is all about. It has no other purpose and you are willing to worship clowns like Trump and Wilders to get it.

John Riordan
JR
John Riordan
4 months ago

“It has no other purpose…”

So conservatism, according to you, is a system exclusively dedicated to xenophobia and racism?

It’s always fun to see cretins like you prove how hopelessly out of depth you are whenever a civil and informed exchange of views is required.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
4 months ago

I’ve got it, you are Diane Abbot. I claim my £5

Dumetrius
D
Dumetrius
4 months ago

He’s actually Michael Porti-yo, dressed up as Diane.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
4 months ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

I have always had my suspicions

Daniel Lee
DL
Daniel Lee
4 months ago

Thank you for this opportunity to click the down thumb. Thoughts and prayers.

Dumetrius
D
Dumetrius
4 months ago

LOL. Always the patsy.

Last edited 4 months ago by Dumetrius
James Lemons
RS
James Lemons
4 months ago

I see you have learned nothing from the events which led to ‘clowns’ like Trump and Wilders, and Brexit too for that matter. Normal, working people who don’t live in fashionable metropolitan areas are seriously tired of the liberal elite. The same elite which looks down its nose at the working classes and decries their crudeness and so-called racism and xenophobia, and thinks it knows what’s best for them. Folk are railing against Lennon’s Imagine world of borderlessness and faithlessness, i.e. failed globalism. They are railing against politicians who’d sooner witness a war crime than spend 5 minutes with a constituent. The tide needs to change. The turn of the wheel is due.

Last edited 4 months ago by James Lemons
Steve Jolly
SJ
Steve Jolly
4 months ago

Even if you’re right, so what? As the author states, it’s become increasingly obvious that this is the way the political winds are blowing, and in a democratic state, the will of the people shall prevail for good or ill. The alternative is government by a morally upright minority, and the word for that is authoritarianism. Given the choice between a somewhat racist and xenophobic but mostly free and democratic state which protects and looks after its own people, its own interests, and its own culture, or an authoritarian state led by self-righteous zealots such as yourself which must suppress the popular will, abrogate individual rights of free speech, and resort to brute force just to keep civil order, I prefer the former.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
4 months ago

The Plonk Socialist has many similarities to the raincoat men who flash their trouser snakes at strangers.

Bill Bailey
BB
Bill Bailey
4 months ago

Open another bottle, that’s about the most useful thing you can do.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
4 months ago

You were -99 when I came back here. Can’t have you missing out on your century.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago

You are the xenophobic. It is xenophobic to hate white prople.

Matt Hindman
MH
Matt Hindman
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Ah so that is where all the “math is racist” garbage is coming from. Too many peasants are trusting their own mathematical calculations over some bureaucrats. Why next thing you are going to tell me is that the economy sucks and I have been paying way more for every damn thing.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
4 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

You only think that because MAGA Republicans have been inundating you with misinformation and – not being a progressive – you are not as smart as they are and are easily manipulated. Don’t worry – new censorship laws will take all the cognitive dissonance away.

Peter B
Peter B
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Just to be clear – what’s the EU’s definition of a “non-resident” ? Which of the groups below are included and what is the breakdown between them (plus any I may have missed) ?
Visitor/tourist/work assignment from outside the EU
Student
Awaiting decision on asylum/residence
Illegal

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

All their definitions depend upon who they are talking to.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Quite so. And doesn’t the imbecile realise that nationalism always was conservatism, simply updated to the era of mass politics? For in what do the two really differ? What is a “traditionalism” which allows the demography of its country to be transformed under its feet? Which pathetically keeps up the forms until they have become mere pretences? Which is nothing but the obsequious usher to stupid left wing pieties, such as the author’s own? I’ll tell you: it’s called cowardice, and it is currently taking refuge in pedantry. Our author here trots out the r-word and the x-word, just as any sopping “liberal” imbecile would: but is the creature so blinkered as to think that such impulses are to be found only and solely among the much put upon European natives? Has he even heard of Rotherham and its “grooming” gangs? And what is “phobic” about the profoundly rational fears among native Europeans that their homelands will be riven by settler societies, given the unprecedented rates of migration that the author’s fellow “liberal” imbeciles have imposed upon us? I used to think well of Marie Antoinette; but when I read articles like this, and witness her intellectual descendants telling us all to “eat cake”, I begin to understand the revolutionaries.

Last edited 4 months ago by Simon Denis
Miguel Reina
Miguel Reina
4 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

You took the words right out of my mouth but expressed them far more eloquently than I could have. Well said sir.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
4 months ago
Reply to  Miguel Reina

Many thanks. I am sure you are both too modest and too kind; either one of us might have expressed the point first. Beyond that, I take a grim comfort in these scarcely sane days of ours that increasing numbers are wise to the fanatical cruelty of the left and the cowardly pedantry of the “centre”. I pray that the awakening of the aged, tired, demoralised, sated western public is neither too feeble nor too late. Best wishes…

Bill Bailey
BB
Bill Bailey
4 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

There is a great deal of antagonism between those who have come here and adhere to the Religion of Peace, and those who come here but don’t. Which is not surprising given that there is almost no part of the globe (South America maybe) where the Religion of Peace isn’t actively at war with the non-adherents. From US, Europe, Balkans, Caucusus, Africa , Indian Sub-Continent, China (tho’ China’s leaders are more than match for Islam so far) , Malaysia and the Philippines.

William Shaw
WS
William Shaw
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

He also gets his facts wrong.
E.g. “Washington has apparently decided to leave Europe to finance (Ukraine)”
A statement that may become true at some point in the future but at present is totally inaccurate.

Hugh Bryant
HB
Hugh Bryant
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Yes. As soon as a writer conflates the desire for properly managed borders with racism I stop reading.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
4 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Agreed. And much the same for conflation of criticism of the actions of the Israeli government with anti-semitism.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
4 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

True – it’s more a consequence of ignorance.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

For the sake of symmetry and fairness, and to avoid accusations of propagandising, the use of the term  Right-populist should be balanced by the use of the term Left-unpopulist.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

In an earlier unrelated post you mentioned being taught as a child in a Roman Amphitheatre. Which one may I ask?

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago

Curium. Why the curiosity?

Last edited 4 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I noted that as well. That particular line actually seems completely out of sync with the rest of the article, though, predicting the end of the EU and noting the various failures of globalism and the rise of populist parties in Europe. He doesn’t seem to strike the apocalyptic, ‘what shall we sensible right minded people do?’ tone I expect from authors who casually lob accusations of racism about. I rather wonder if the author simply threw that in there to get his article more widely published. I can easily imagine that throw away line as being the difference between getting published in many many more places without greatly affecting his overall message, because most people who know what they’re about already basically ignore accusations of xenophobia and racism as political dog whistling for certain ideological factions. As much as the right is accused of dog whistling, the left is equally guilty. I wonder how much that line reflects his actual views or is simply a recognition that the people who control most media share an ideological persuasion and ideologies and pay more attention to buzzwords than actual content.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

‘just read that Ireland’s non-residents/migrants living within the country has reached 18% of the total population, a figure presaging possible great societal distrust and upheaval.

Bill Bailey
BB
Bill Bailey
4 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Perhaps that’s why the EU is demanding the Irish cull their cattle, they need more space?

Sam Brown
Sam Brown
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

It does more than annoy me, because there is absolutely no analysis behind the assertion other than if you are not happy with the seemingly limitless and borderless immigration of people who don’t have the skills we need and, because most on the boats throw away their ID, we can’t identify and are probably quite a high security risk given from whence they appear to emanate, you must be a xenophobic racist. Whereas most of the men on the Clapham Omnibus consider that view to be sensible, logical and not recognised by the politicians, despite people voting against higher numbers for decades, or, it seems, this writer….and his head-in-the-sand ilk.

starkbreath
starkbreath
4 months ago

‘An anti-establishment, nativist and, in many instances, profoundly xenophobic and racist movement’. Sounds a lot like Islam, methinks.

Stuart Bennett
Stuart Bennett
4 months ago

Back in 2016 I heard Douglas Murray make the prediction that excesses of the left coupled with their dogged refusal to accept any negative outcomes of unlimited migration would fuel the less savoury elements of the right into power. Turns out Mr Murray was correct. Again.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
4 months ago
Reply to  Stuart Bennett

TBF it’s not a hugely profound insight.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
4 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Clearly it is for those of the Left

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
4 months ago
Reply to  Stuart Bennett

That was being said in every Pol Sci department in the world from about the early 80s.

Even my Pol Sci professor said it, in between bites of re-digesting Maoism for Sydney’s leafy North Shore.

Last edited 4 months ago by Dumetrius
Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
4 months ago

Among the more zealous Remainers there was always a sense that “Europeans” – by which they meant EU administrators – were more civilised, more trustworthy and generally more virtuous than their British counterparts and that by voting to leave the EU we were casting ourselves out of some Edenic EUtopia – all thanks to the racism and stupidity of the Faragistes who would usher in a hard-right, nationalist govt.
I keep an archive of comments I posted in the aftermath of the referendum result and sometimes it’s consoling to read back through them and see when I was right – equally it is illustrating to read comments that proved to be wildly off the mark, such as my confidence that, once negotiations started, the pique at our leaving would soon be overcome by the pragmatism of business and we would reach an amicable solution quick quickly!
But here is something I wrote in Feb 2017 that I think still stands up ……. 

It’s all very well for Remainers to claim that the EU is an inherently benign organisation and that we would be better off simply gifting dominion to supranational EU govt rather than rely on our own (admittedly shambolic) parliament. But what if circumstances change?

Britain does not have a history of extreme governments. No Communists or Fascists are ever likely to be in government here – despite what some of the more lurid catastrophists employed by this paper might like to pretend. But the rest of Europe? Well, it’s happened before.

Remainers are sanguine about a remote power-structure, untouchable by the electorate, because:

a)    they have no faith in the electorate – whom they hold in contempt.

b)    they have faith in a benign technocratic elite who can maintain the cosy, globalist status quo of which they approve.

But what if that changed? What if we saw a rise of openly nationalist, right wing parties gaining support across the bloc? What direction might the EU take then to accommodate them? I would suggest that Mrs Merkel flinging open the doors of Europe to mass immigration makes that all the more likely – we’ve already seen migrant hostels attacked in Germany and growing complaints from across the EU from those whose lives are being impacted by the large influx of unassimilated migrants.

If those tensions grow – and I’ve no doubt they will- then support for anti-immigration parties will rise.

Posters here go on about UKIP and the Tories under Mrs May as though we’re seeing a neo-fascist resurgence here – which we palpably are not. In fact, if you want to guess the European country which is probably the least likely to see any far right party even get a toe-hold in power – it would probably be the UK.

Go figure. But you wouldn’t know it if you relied on Guardian CIF for your worldview. Genuine far right groups in the UK generally consist of 6 angry blokes down the pub, muttering under their breath. These idiots are no more likely to get a sniff of power than Marine le Pen is to be voted UN Secretary General.

Remainers assume that the EU will continue to implement policies they agree with. If they started implementing policies Remainers opposed, would they be so supportive?

There is a false assumption that the lack of influence any one nation has over the EU is unimportant as the EU will continue to pursue policies they support. If support for the hard-right grows it will likely lead to vastly different EU legislation. Remainers dismiss the notion of Sovereignty as an irrelevance now – but they might find themselves grateful that Brexiteers regained the influence of British voters. 

Eric Mader
Eric Mader
4 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Thanks for posting. I agree much of it stands up. And I, from the US, saw some of the same things, first that the UK was not in any sense going fascist, but esp. where Merkel’s open doors would lead.

Enfuriatingly familiar is your portrayal of the hysteria in those days—the claims that the Brexiteers would usher in some kind if far-right government. The US in this regard (i.e. hysteria) was and is on the same page. In both cases the populists may not have the best answers, but the center and left are so prone to infantile screaming that it eventually makes the populists look at least sane to much of the electorate. Sane by comparison.

Where Europe is dragged next is very hard to say. Same with the US. A showdown is shaping up across the board. What irks me to no end is the way our elites only seem set on provoking it.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
4 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Edenic EUtopia

That’s a phrase to remember & plagiarise

Daniel Pennell
Daniel Pennell
4 months ago

In general,I do not disagree with the author’s conclusions or his analysis.

I do not think it is comprehensive enough, but it is an essay and not a book.

My issue with it is his bias.

This quote gives it away.”…nativist and, in many instances, profoundly xenophobic and racist..”.

If “nativist” means that you desire to retain your unique cultural identity and norms then I see nothing particularly wrong with that or that it is abnormal.Particularly when the change is perceived as making life harder and less pleasant and more threatening, when the changes are being driven by outsiders with values that conflict with your own.

Resisting large scale immigration is not inherently xenophobic or racist. Most of these people who are against the tsunami of immigration would very likely have no issue with the migrants were they staying where they are from, they would probably be fine with them if they were to go visit them in their countries of origin. It is when the migrants come to these new countries in numbers that alter the social makeup of the receiving country that the problems start. This is particularly true when these migrants have values that conflict with the majority of the receiving nation or are determined to change the receiving nation to suit themselves without regard to the natives. And this is exacerbated when the migrants are an economic burden.

Terry Raby
Terry Raby
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Pennell

Being anti-rational people saying ‘racism’ often mean ‘rational’.

Pedro the Exile
Pedro the Exile
4 months ago

The perception that the continent is facilitating uncontrolled immigration is the major driver behind this trend.
Aha-its all a matter of perception then -phew-for a minute I though immigration was totally put of control throughout Western Europe and only likely to get worse-so those dreadful- anti-establishment, nativist and, in many instances, profoundly xenophobic and racist folk –just need to alter their perceptions.

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago

More like Donald Trump’s effect on the Republican Party, these figures are moving to transform a conservatism defined by traditionalist instincts into an anti-establishment, nativist and, in many instances, profoundly xenophobic and racist movement.

Stopped reading here. Thank you for saving my time.
PS. His X/Twitter: Israel’s assault forced a nurse to leave babies behind. They were found decomposing.
https://twitter.com/Mauerback/status/1733986138711322966

Last edited 4 months ago by El Uro
Dumetrius
Dumetrius
4 months ago
Reply to  El Uro

He’s like one of those guys squirming on a chair to keep a fart in. The smart money was on the fart ; I don’t know the game’s rules but if you can’t even make it halfway through without the R or X word . . .

John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago

The EU must complete political union in order to survive. If it doesn’t, the Euro will destroy the economies of Europe. The article is correct that Brussels has always just kicked the can down the road until now and may do so for a while yet, but that cannot last.

If the Euro collapses, it is hard to see how the EU itself could survive the disaster. The Euro, whatever its other faults, has at least succeeded in one way: it has bound its member states into EU membership far more tightly than is true for non-Euro nations (this is one of the main reasons that Brexit was actually possible for the UK). Its collapse would certainly not be restricted merely to the loss of monetary union: it would take down the whole EU with it.

I’m not arguing with the article here by the way, I’m just pointing out that Brussels has a strong incentive to complete political union as an alternative to allowing itself to fall apart, and in addition has possessed this incentive more urgently ever since it took the step of creating the Euro, which turned political union from an eventual ambition into an essential and urgent requirement.

So what’s going to happen in future? I certainly don’t pretend to know. But the article above does seem to ignore the possibility that Brussels will fight hard for its own survival and does possess one strategy that still might work, namely to make EU collapse a worse option than sticking with it for EU member states, no matter how bad EU membership becomes. The prediction I make is that Brussels will choose this path. The prediction I don’t make is what will happen after that.

Last edited 4 months ago by John Riordan
William Shaw
William Shaw
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Countries that foolishly join the Euro are doomed to forever wear the Brussels yoke.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
4 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Not so sure of that. Target 2 balances remain a rather esoteric but potential nuclear bomb for the Eurozone. It all depends upon what they really are.
According to Lagarde at the ECB Target 2 balance are simply paper entries in an accounting system to make the books balance. (Though even my limited knowledge of double entry ledgers both sides matter, one side is very much German!)
According to a group of German Economists, Target 2 balances are in fact loans from Germany to whoever (basically Southern Europe) BUT they are collateral free, interest free loans.
Now, with the current crisis in Ukraine and the incredible stupid response of the West to sanctioning Russian energy, Germany is ‘de-industrialising’. Net Zero & Germany’s insane Green energy policies appear to be speeding that up, so as Germany begins to feel the pinch, one would think they are going to be looking to delve into their ‘savings/reserves’.
So what IF the German economists are correct? Then presumably those ‘savings/reserves’ Germany is going to turn to, are in fact the ‘ledger entry’ or ‘collateral free, interest free’ loans to Southern Europe, including Italy and Spain. As far as I am aware, the reason German Euros pour into them is because they need them. So I guess they haven’t many to spare, so when Germany comes knocking at the door of the ECB and says –
“Can you dole out some of that cash from our Target 2 balances?”
What is going to happen? The ECB may suddenly find the German economists were right, that Spain and Italy would go bankrupt IF they paid those balances back AND on hearing that Germany may well demand (as the IMF apologised for doing so to Greece)
“The immolation of Spain and Italy on the Altar of the Euro.”
BUT lets say Italy gets stroppy – and their right wingers go nuclear, and leave the Euro and their new Lira they say has an exchange rate of 1 Lira = 1 Euro, but promptly print it all and hand it to the ECB for forwarding on to Germany?
Hmm interesting times there. BUT what if they didn’t even do that? They are reputedly ‘collateral free!’ so what if they just said, “Sorry we’re broke ,can’t pay won’t pay.”
Look at the size of Germany’s Target 2 balances – the Bundesbank might go into meltdown not just metaphorically.
Meanwhile the Eurozone will have gone up in smoke, and with it, probably the EU.

Last edited 4 months ago by Bill Bailey
John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

Yes, basically: the Target2 system describes the “loans” made by Germany (and other smaller creditor nations like the Netherlands) to the periphery nations, which exist because the money has in fact been already transferred to the periphery nations. In reality they are real fiscal transfers from one nation to another that have already happened.

The Target2 system calls them loans because the Euro was supposed to be self-correcting in this respect and consequently the treaties underpinning the Eurozone mean that the transfers cannot be regarded as anything but loans. However, they cannot in truth ever be be repaid: while the mechanics of the Eurozone insist that the money is owed back, the reality is that the debtor nations cannot repay the sums tranferred, while the northern creditor nations benefitted from an artificially-low exchange rate and the effective transfer of demand from the debtor nations to themselves. So, the Target2 ledger may well not be able to describe its balances as fiscal transfers, but in practice that is exactly what they are: wealth transfers from richer to poorer regions within the same currency zone.

How the electorates of the creditor bloc will react to this reality, however, might not be such an easy answer.

Last edited 4 months ago by John Riordan
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

The establishment overestimates the power of economics. Brussels has already tried the ‘make leaving painful’ approach with the UK and it only made them more determined. When societies are already enduring economic pain, the promise of more economic pain will not be sufficient as a deterrent. It will only make them angrier and more hostile, and depending on how forcefully such a strategy is pursued, make the end result far more violent and destructive than it needs to be. I can easily see a relatively peaceful breakup turning into a war or at least the seizing of domestic assets held by foreign firms. It’s not like that there isn’t ample historical precedent for exactly that. Moreover, the EU lacks a central military. What little military power exists in the EU is dependent upon the member nations, and there’s very little indication they are able to fight any sort of war. The US military will continue to protect Europe in return for obedience but it won’t fight the Europeans civil war for them.

John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I do agree that the EU member states no longer have a pain-free future ahead of them. Whether the EU survives or not, the member states face difficult challenges ahead.

As a Brexit voter I might once have been a bit “told you so” about this, but actually looking at the amount of social, economic and political damage that has been done to Europe in recent years, I feel nothing but sadness (and not just because the UK isn’t out of the woods either).

One aspect of policy madness that is far too unremarked is Germany’s present deindustrialisation. If you had predicted to me that Germany would actually deindustrialise when facing an energy shortfall (however it arises, the Ukraine War needn’t have been the only way this happened), I would have laughed with derision. Surely not, I’d be saying, they’d just stoke up the coal fires again, right?

The climate lobby seems to possess the dubious distinction of having as much power to destroy even a strong economy as an actual war. How the hell did we let these people start making important decisions?

Last edited 4 months ago by John Riordan
Shrunken Genepool
SG
Shrunken Genepool
4 months ago

It’s quite simple. Monetary union, requires fiscal/welfare integration; but this can’t work without a level of mutual identification that within nation states required centuries of coercion, war and elimination contests to establish – and this all prior to democracy. Unless the EU wants to suspend democracy and spend a century enforcing a single European language and culture (and that won’t be Greek , anymore than Welsh functions as the lingua franca in the UK)….a single monopoly of violence, a single monopoly of education…..to match the monetary monopoly they so rashly established….the whole thing will collapse. It’s just a matter of time. The Euro was the most illiterate act of statecraft in history

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
4 months ago

“… an anti-establishment, nativist and, in many instances, profoundly xenophobic and racist movement.” This is standard cant from the anti-white open-borders left.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
4 months ago

The backlash against the European establishment may, as described, be growing and becoming fused with anti-elite and other populist sentiments but one needs to be realistic:

1/ The main underlying cause of the disenchantment is economic and, in particular, low wage growth. This is mostly the result of globalisation and immigration and not the EU per se. (In Eastern Europe even this does not apply since the advantages of integrating with the EU have outweighed the impact of globalisation).

2/ The EU remains surprisingly popular in most EU countries. Even in Greece, those who think membership is a good thing outnumber those who believe the opposite. The growth in vocal anti-EU minorities in many EU states does not alter this fact.

My guess is that, over the next few years, the EU will adjust by tightening the labour market at the bottom end thus triggering higher wages – and dealing with the root cause of the disaffection – by moving decisively to reduce immigration and increase protectionism (as the US has already done). Various sacred EU and human rights shibboleths will have to be sacrificed but, as a result, the EU will probably survive.

Last edited 4 months ago by Alex Carnegie
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

How very depressing!

Peter B
PB
Peter B
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

The low economic and wage growth are as much a result of EU policies on trade, competition and innovation and regulation in general as they are of globalisation.
I’m sure there are some countries in the EU for whom the EU represents a more efficient and less corrupt means of govenment and administration than the domestic alternative and for whom it is popular (plus the fact that most of these will be enjoying the EU subsidies from the richer states).
But aren’t labour markets under national control ? What is the actual mechanism by which the EU can and would “tighten the labour market at the bottom end” ? The EU is already protectionist in many ways (in recent news, Macron is trying to torpedo the free trade agreement with Mercosur which has taken almost 30 years to agree). And it has no authority on immigration.
Yes, some of the EU and human rights shibboleths need to go. But I’ll believe it when I see it. We’re dealing with unaccountable beauracrats here who will never act to eliminate their own jobs.

John Dewhirst
John Dewhirst
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Your analysis may well be valid but serves only to highlight that the underlying contradictions within the EU will increase to the extent that the EU is ungovernable. The tensions posed by Hungary, debt limits or immigration alone will dictate sclerosis and indecision resulting in failure to satisfy popular expectations.

laurence scaduto
LS
laurence scaduto
4 months ago
Reply to  John Dewhirst

I think “popular expectations be damned” is a major plank of the EU Charter.

Pat Davers
Pat Davers
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

This is what I think too, more or less. The irony is, of course, with the EU becoming less liberal than the UK on matters such as immigration, those who voted for Brexit might end up regretting that they didn’t remain and those who voted against Brexit might end up relieved that they left.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
4 months ago
Reply to  Pat Davers

Too true!

Daniel Pennell
DP
Daniel Pennell
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

You can probably add Net Zero to the things that will get tossed over the side.

can't buy my vote
C
can't buy my vote
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Pennell

Absolutely. Chasing Net Zero could bankrupt the EU. Just ask Germany.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
4 months ago

Net Zero is arguably why the Netherlands has finally gone for Wilders. Ireland is also another curious situation. Immigrants are almost 20% of the population. The IRA fought a war to get rid he the immigrant Brits/Scots (they didn’t get a victory exactly) but now they find that they are on the wrong side of the uprisings in Dublin over other ‘occupiers’.
Add to that the demand to cull so many Irish Cattle and the Irish must be wondering what is going on, given their all out assault on the GFA/Brexit Britain when the EU needed storm-troopers. Where is the EU loyalty they expected?
BUT the big issue is – IF Germany is going bankrupt, they’ll only do so once they use up all their reserves. So WHERE ARE all those German Euros that they accumulated over all those years with an export led economy? Target 2 anyone?

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Personel is policy. The EU, as a bureaucratic organization, cannot make the reforms and changes you mention without a very high amount of turnover and a much more ideologically diverse talent pool within its staff.
Meanwhile, f**k the Leviathan.

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago

ideologically diverse talent pool within …a bureaucratic organization sounds like oxymoron, sorry 🙂

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

That’s a good healthy dose of realism for us in the populist camp, but at least things are moving in the right direction for a change.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Germany and where all its spare Euros are is the Elephant in the room.
Check out Target 2 balances, as I posted about earlier. That smoke and mirrors area is where the EU is likely to fail, because at some point, Germany has to get back those balances, and with Germany de-industrialising, that maybe sooner than anyone thought. Do you think Spain/Italy to name 2 can pay back those balances? Then IF the German economists are right, when asked, what if Italy et al then say they can’t pay – what happens then?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
4 months ago

The EU will not collapse, it will just slowly fade into irrelevance with countries doing their own thing more and more. There is no appetite whatsoever among the remaining members to leave (and why would you when GB has manifestly failed to demonstrate any kind fo advantage to leaving) – rather Le Pen & Co want to change it from the inside, maybe push back on the integration process somewhat.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
4 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Agreed. The EU makes everything easy for the local politicians. Any difficult issues can be blamed on EU legislation.
Watch out for the WHO’s Pandemic Treaty next year. This will allow politicians to sign away responsibilty for actions in a pandemic. Basically, the WHO will tell each country when to go into lockdown, who to buy vaccine from, when to cancel all international flights, etc. The EU will sign up for this.

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
4 months ago

As will whichever charlatan is running this country.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
4 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Very astute.
Keep an eye on Meloni. I suspect she’ll use the EU as a foil to maintain her popularity with the Italians, with a neat combination of loud opposition and quiet cooperation, and do very well.
It’s a model that the rest will learn to emulate.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
4 months ago

Germany was the prop that kept up the EU/Eurozone, it is likely to be Germany that will bring it down, and that via the Euro. After all with Germany de-industrialising thanks to the insanity of it Green Energy, the stupidity of sanctioning its main Energy supplier – Russia (who by the way still supplies the EU) then ALL those spare Euros they made from the export led economy may soon cease to be spare. If they become needed? Then the fun starts, because where are all those spare Euros? Ask the ECB.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
4 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

You forget that the EU flagship is the Euro and the Eurozone. The Eurozone can collapse, IF it does, the the EU goes with it.

AC Harper
AC Harper
4 months ago

Party, these figures are moving to transform a conservatism defined by traditionalist instincts into an anti-establishment, nativist and, in many instances, profoundly xenophobic and racist movement.

Could it perhaps be a reaction against the increasingly oikophobic and self hating arrogance of the EU Establishment?

Emmanuel MARTIN
EM
Emmanuel MARTIN
4 months ago

Could the EU collapse ? Let’s pray, and act for this glorious goal.

Daniel Lee
DL
Daniel Lee
4 months ago

Who says there’s never any good news in the media?

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
4 months ago

Fingers crossed then. It won’t collapse but just fade into irrelevance.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Currency Unions do NOT fade into irrelevance. Ask the Soviet Union, it was their ‘economic/monetary system’ as much as anything that destroyed the political system and led to the famous sayings such as
“We went to sleep in one country, and woke up in another” 

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
4 months ago

“. . . the organising genius of Tito’s government . . .”

The House of Flowers in Beograd, overgrown and half-forgotten on a hillside, full of tatty woodcarvings from every non-aligned kleptocracy you can imagine, shows something of an EU past and probably its future.

Never could a thing be more gone than the era where Margaret Thatcher arrived, dressed somberly but tastefully, to pay her respects at the Marshal’s funeral.

Heading down the hill, I fall instep with a Chinese tourist. Who isn’t really a tourist, of course.

Later, a mile away, we turn up to the unveiling of maybe the world’s largest mosaic. Shows Christ’s ascent to heaven, in a cathedral under construction since 1939. Of course, it’s designed to outflank the Haga Sophia.

The event’s benefactor ? Gazprom.

Inevitably, Lavrov is there. Why do I keep running into him?

You can see the West’s future from Belgrade’s hills.

Last edited 4 months ago by Dumetrius
Peter Principle
Peter Principle
4 months ago

Unherd’s mission statement: “… to push back against the herd mentality with new and bold thinking, and to provide a platform for otherwise unheard ideas …”. So how did this piece get published?

John Kirk
John Kirk
3 months ago

Sounds like you’re a happy herd animal.

Graeme Laws
Graeme Laws
4 months ago

Is there one political party in the EU with a central manifesto commitment to leave? I think not. Is anyone else having a referendum on EU membership? I think not. Is there evidence to show that all supporters of right wing parties xenophobic racists? I think not. The threat to the EU is much the same as the threat to the UK. Look no further than the bond markets.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
4 months ago

I dont understand the supposed link between nitrates emissions to water and its impact on AGW. Isnt nitrogen a big part of the atmosphere already? How can hitrates be a greenhouse gas?

can't buy my vote
can't buy my vote
4 months ago
Reply to  Anna Bramwell

They’re not a greenhouse gas, but they can affect groundwater and ecosystems through acidification. Ammonium sulfates and nitrates are particulate air pollutants and can increase ozone levels that cause respiratory problems. Whether or not this is a serious threat is debatable. India and China have the highest levels on earth yet people still thrive there.
Ammonia is used in fertilizers to fix nitrogen in soil. Humanity would starve without it, and the production of synthetic ammonia (183 million tons annually) uses natural gas as a feedstock. Green ammonia is too expensive to produce on such a massive scale. Another reason why eliminating fossil fuels is a really bad idea.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
4 months ago
Reply to  Anna Bramwell

CO2 is a gas of life. Concentrations at present are at virtually all time lows. WITHOUT CO2 at sufficient concentration ALL life of the planet dies with the Green photosynthesizing plants. The Greens are a scientifically illiterate cult, subtly used by the UN, conMann and others for their own benefit. Lovelock summed it up when asked why only he seemed to be recanting ‘Climate Alarmism’
‘I made a mistake’
As “an independent and a loner,” he said he did not mind saying “All right, I made a mistake.” He claimed a university or government scientist might fear an admission of a mistake would lead to the loss of funding.
Now, if you have a hour or so to listen to a few lectures, try these ‘scientists’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSfdpmEafGI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttNg1F7T0Y0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2nhssPW77I
,

James Kirk
James Kirk
4 months ago

Two EU countries. 21% and 24% for AFD and PVV? Not occasion to celebrate here in UK, numbers which will send a Party into oblivion.. The awful prospect of PR where two types of Party can gang together and prevent the popular Party succeeding. In effect nobody gets what they want. A Buridan’s Ass situation.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
4 months ago

The more you stretch to the left, the further the backlash to the right.

Charlie Two
Charlie Two
4 months ago

and he hasnt even mentioned Brexit!

tug ordie
tug ordie
4 months ago

Honest question to this type of thinker: what is the line between virulent xenophobia and wanting to provide for the living standards of your own people. I’ll take my answer off the air

Andrew F
Andrew F
4 months ago

Organising genius of Tito?
I am sorry but it was pure and simple dictatorships holding Yugoslavia together, against wishes of constituent parts.
I travelled in Soviet Block and Yugoslavia a lot in 70s and early 80s and it was obvious that the only reason it was not falling apart was the threat of violence.
As far as EU falling apart soon it is just wishful thinking.
EU is quasi religious project.
Many countries are locked in by Euro currency.
If you adopted Euro, cost of leaving is prohibitively expensive.

Last edited 4 months ago by Andrew F
Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
4 months ago

re “a conflict which Washington has apparently decided to leave Europe to finance” – oh really? The USA has already forked over $116 BILLION…I very much doubt that the EU would come to the USA’s assistance should Mexico invade the country. Europe should pay for conflicts in Europe and NATO should be disbanded.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
4 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

The USA would have invaded Mexico before the first soviet tank arrived on its shores. Russia exhibited a greater degree of patience but no one believed them when they kept saying “Ukraine/NATO is THE red line”

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

And yet it is now apparent why Ukraine was so keen to join NATO. Russia was always going to invade someone, and Ukraine obviously realised that it was the No.1 candidate. Finland realised it was the No.2 candidate, which is why it has now joined NATO.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

NATO is needed now more than ever. It was founded to provide a counterbalance to Russia and its allies, and given that Russia has recently shown how warmongering and expansionist it is, the need for NATO must be apparent to everyone now.

Anton van der Merwe
Anton van der Merwe
4 months ago

The EU has shown itself able to adapt when confronted with extreme pressure. One significant recent change is the willingness of the EU to issue bonds, which will relieve the fiscal tension inherent in the Eurozone. They have classified nuclear power and gas as sustainable, making reducing emissions much cheaper. Their new immigration policies are stricter in response to concerns about difficulties assimilating some immigrants. There is nothing xenophobic about being concerned about the problems immigrants can bring when they do not integrate. The answer is to ask more of immigrants. Only those willing to adapt to EU laws and norms should be accepted.

Last edited 4 months ago by Anton van der Merwe
Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
4 months ago

The EU or the ECB? Then has anyone thought of the consequences of the ECB issuing bonds on the bond markets of Italy and Spain?
Gas, cheaper? Germany last winter bought up so much LNG at any price that it priced Pakistan and Indonesia, to name but two Asian states, out of the LNG market. Both have now turned to coal.
The EU/West continues to sanction Russia and so the price of LNG isn’t going to be ‘cheap’ for some time. It is only cheaper relative to the insane costs of windmills/solar farms.
The fact Germany also shut, yet again, its nuclear plants isn’t a great start for the EU’s redefining sustainable (renewable?) IF it were not for the Eurozone and a common currency, the EU maybe able to fade into irrelevance, but the Eurozone isn’t going to ‘fade away’ – when it fails, it will be with a bang.

Catherine Conroy
Catherine Conroy
4 months ago

Green measures, immigration and gender politics should be left to individual countries. It may be bad for the environment, racist and bigoted but countries feel their own culture is being attacked by the EC.
For instance, calling the Polish government racist was stupid and they had a perfectly sensible response to that: they’d had no terrorist attacks in the country and they were able to take in a large amount of Ukrainian refugees. On the other hand, historically liberal countries such as Sweden and Denmark are now realising the social problems caused by unfettered immigration and are beginning to take ruthless action.
Forcing social ideologies such as demanding recognition of same-sex marriage and trans rights, in historically conservative countries is bound to foster resentment. The European union should not interfere in its members’ sovereignty; that’s how we end up with horrible leaders such as Viktor Orban as his legitimate fights against EC influence also involve attacks on any opposition within his country.

0 0
0 0
4 months ago

The EU will survive if it stops its absurd immigrationist policies and ceases to reduce the european identity to ashes through its suicidal musticultural stance.
We, fervent Europeans, live in hope.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
4 months ago

” The demise of the European Union “ ……nothing less !!!
There won’t be any demise of the European Union even if the author seems to relish the prospect. No stand alone economy would survive it, starting with the French……especially the French.
To want to have control over one’s borders and who gets in is what people want……80 % of French want a full stop to immigration. It seems the Dutch want the same, so do the Germans, the Danes, the Swedes……etc ……..the reason why the UK voted for Brexit.
Marine Le Pen Party is already credited with 29 % of the votes at the coming European election next April and my bet is she will get the presidency in 2027. The so called immigration law that was shot dead last week and should be reintroduced in its tougher original version, will not change that as it is not tough enough.
So……apart from controlling immigration, the European economy will remain integrated, no one will leave the Euro and this article will have been for the birds.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 months ago

“anti-establishment, nativist and, in many instances, profoundly xenophobic and racist movement”
Yawn.
Might as well read The Economist ,The Guardian or The New York Times
I expected something more interesting when I subscribed to this website.

William Brand
William Brand
2 months ago

Moslems and Africans in Germany should ask a Jew about the fate of Germanies unpopular minorities. One suspects that the AFD party is checking out the crematoria and showers of WWII for easy modernization. The recent nonwhite immigrants int Germany should leave before it’s too late or they will leave up the chimney.

Jürg Gassmann
Jürg Gassmann
4 months ago

The premise of the EU was that business gets a single market, the EU itself is non-ideological and largely does not intrude on private citizens’ lives, nationalisms are drowned in money, and Germany pays.
The current execrable “leadership” of the EU has turned this on its head. Moreover, a coterie of benighted actors have gleefully conspired to destroy the German engine.
I agree with the author that the EU has no future on its current heading … and that is a good thing. The EU is too good an idea to give up on, but it has to find back to its knitting and quit wanting to be a NATO adjunct.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Jürg Gassmann

It seems there are are emerging, and likely converging, candidates for global empire.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Jürg Gassmann

The EU had some merit when it was just a free trade zone, but it lost such merit as it had at Maastricht.

Graham Stull
GS
Graham Stull
4 months ago

“Rumours of my demise are greatly exaggerated.” – the EU

Last edited 4 months ago by Graham Stull
Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

and rumours about Target 2 and the Euro aren’t so easily dismissed.