Growth to the East has turned the group into an financial appendage of NATO
European integration is among the most mythologized topics of contemporary world politics, which is already filled with illusions and legends that don’t have anything to do with the tough actuality of worldwide relations.
In sensible phrases, the cooperation of a big group of Western European nations in state regulation of the economic system is clear: it has allowed a comparatively honest distribution of the advantages of a common market. In political phrases, nevertheless, this cooperation has created such a big, ephemeral superstructure that it’s inconceivable to differentiate reality from deception, and even fiction, in the case of the European Union.
And we will solely guess on the future types of interplay amongst Western European states, whose most important goal will stay to maintain their peoples subservient to the need and whims of their untouchable elites. Due to this fact, the best prediction about the way forward for European integration is one primarily based on the optimum types of sustaining social stability. Even when this requires, for instance, a shift away from conventional financial actions or a whole abandonment of the power of nations to handle their very own funds. Thus, European integration will take the shape vital to satisfy its main objective.
If this implies admitting nations to the EU that aren’t formally prepared, that’s no downside both. The existence of clear guidelines figuring out which state with which financial and political system is an appropriate ‘newcomer’ is nothing greater than a fable. Or a product of its time, such because the ‘Copenhagen Standards’ for membership, which have been developed for a really totally different worldwide actuality. All of the extra so as a result of the suitability of a rustic for membership just isn’t a dogma, however an instrument for coping with it by those that set the tone inside the bloc.
The identical is true of the interior improvement of the EU, and it could be naive to see deviations from the mythologized template of its stability that emerged in our notion within the Nineteen Nineties as indicators of dramatic decline and degradation. Even the obvious mental starvation of the higher echelons of ‘united Europe’ can solely horrify idealists just like the creator of those strains. In actuality, we have no idea whether or not European integration now wants intelligent political leaders and even inventive bureaucrats. In any case, if heads of state and authorities are appointing failed ladies or aged traitors to high positions, then maybe that is precisely what the EU member states want and what’s of their nationwide curiosity.
Over the previous decade and a half, the EU has skilled a number of main crises, none of which have fatally wounded it, though they’ve significantly modified it internally. Every time, the response of EU nations has been precisely the alternative of what one would count on on the premise of the dogma of European integration. Between 2008 and 2013, the EU economies have been caught within the maelstrom of the worldwide monetary disaster. A number of nations of the south, most notably Greece, suffered essentially the most. Along with Spain, Portugal and Eire, Athens even misplaced its sovereignty in setting macroeconomic coverage. The measures taken in 2011 to strengthen monetary stability within the Eurozone have dealt a blow to the primary achievement of integration – a comparatively honest distribution of the advantages of the widespread market: now the EU has created ‘perpetually poor’ and ‘perpetually wealthy’ nations.
On the identical time, Germany and France have succeeded in significantly extending the scope of the certified majority rule, which permits secondary laws to be adopted on the situation that it’s supported by 55% of the member states representing 65% of the EU’s complete inhabitants. Such a precept permits a couple of massive powers to dictate the principles by profitable over a few medium-sized nations. Because of this, a lot of the EU’s inner politics has change into a clique of Germany and its French and Nordic allies, reasonably than a seek for compromise by all its members. Everybody else has discovered themselves able the place they will solely battle for the distribution of advantages, the precise dimension and guidelines of that are decided by a small group of states.
The second disaster to hit the EU in 2014-2015 was brought on by the inflow of refugees from the Center East and Africa. A number of components contributed to the urgency of the state of affairs. Firstly, the variety of these struggling had certainly elevated dramatically – it had reached tons of of hundreds, if not thousands and thousands. Second, underneath the circumstances, Turkey began its personal sport, utilizing the refugees as an instrument of stress on Brussels and Berlin. All of the extra so as a result of then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s populism demanded that the EU pour cash into the issue at Turkey’s borders, as a result of in any other case she would actually have needed to fulfill her promise to soak up all of the refugees.
Thirdly, political actuality got here into battle with a long-standing fable: in line with its slogans, the EU was a union of like-minded individuals, whereas in actuality every nation solely cared about its personal residents. The refugee disaster didn’t deal a deadly blow to the construction of the bloc exactly as a result of the solidarity it most endangered was a fable within the first place. If it had labored and nations had sabotaged widespread insurance policies, it could have been an issue. And since nobody believed in solidarity because it was, everybody step by step accepted the truth that some nations took in refugees whereas others solely pretended to open their doorways to them. In the long run, the southerners have been merely ‘pushed underneath the bench’, and threatened that their calls for for a good redistribution of refugees inside the EU may result in budgetary issues.
The third disaster to hit all of Europe was the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Right here, the acquainted options of the present stage of integration have been on full show: an absence of solidarity, a poorly certified forms in Brussels, financial inequality and, in fact, the wealthy nations agreeing on how a lot of the ‘widespread’ price range cake they have been ready to share with weaker members of the neighborhood.
On the identical time, there was a mini-crisis triggered by Brexit. We’re not significantly within the the explanation why the British elite determined to go down this highway, however its consequence may actually have been the entire domination of Berlin and its closest satellites inside the EU. However a pressure majeure has occurred within the East, and the EU nations should discover new options in a radically modified worldwide setting.
Europe is now experiencing its fourth main trendy disaster, centered on the navy and political battle with Russia over Ukraine. The chance of the confrontation with Moscow changing into a consolidating issue for the EU is negligible. The engine of this confrontation is NATO, and European integration has quickly change into a overseas financial appendage of the US-led navy bloc. Because of the unprecedented severing of ties with Russia, even Germany, which was used to main the EU, is no longer doing properly.
The opposite members of the EU are mainly detached – you don’t cry about your hair if you’ve misplaced your head. Additionally, the truth that the battle with the Russians hits the smug Germans the toughest is even good for Italy, Spain, and France, in some respects. Furthermore, it’s the southern Europeans and the French who’ve the least to lose from the Ukraine disaster. They’d no probability of doing something critical on the worldwide stage with out a inexperienced mild from Washington.
The Germans, then again, at one stage may truly imagine that they have been appearing independently and even stammered about an equal dialogue with the People. All that’s now previously. So are the distinctive benefits that Germany loved from its vitality partnership with Russia. So issues aren’t so unhealthy for the remainder of the EU nations which were residing underneath German diktat in earlier years.
Western European elites are consistently searching for methods to keep up their standing. The evolution of European integration is among the vital instruments on this search. The EU’s collective establishments – the European Fee, the European Parliament, and the Court docket of Justice – have discovered themselves in a brand new actuality. The one market offers the fundamental freedoms to which peculiar individuals have change into accustomed: comparatively low-cost items, safety from overseas rivals and the power to maneuver simply from one EU nation to a different in quest of a greater deal.
The achievements of integration within the area of mutual openness are very conducive to the atomization of society, the place there isn’t any longer a collective curiosity of residents, however solely particular person pursuits. Even the inflow of Ukrainian refugees has not change into a major problem – the EU labor market is able to digest a major proportion of low-cost labor. In any case, not all those that got here from Ukraine are crooks and millionaires hiding from mobilization. Of those a number of million individuals, the bulk are peculiar staff able to take any job and able to present providers within the formal and casual sectors.
I’m removed from believing that the EU will face critical upheaval within the close to future. The one issue creating actual uncertainty is the rising recognition of the non-systemic opposition in Germany. However even right here there’s a excessive chance that even the radicals of the AFD can be tamed – not by Brussels, however by Washington. As a corporation, the EU is on its method to changing into an financial appendage of NATO, as skeptics have warned for the reason that early days of integration.
Briefly, the advantages Western Europeans derive from the widespread market are sufficient for them to tolerate the EU’s inefficiency in every thing else. As for the opportunity of EU enlargement, Ankara won’t ever be a part of it, and even the need of the US won’t assist overcome the colossal cultural barrier between Türkiye and the Western European states. It’s completely pointless to debate whether or not Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia can be admitted to the EU, as a result of we have no idea the longer term destiny of those nations as such. Equally, it’s a waste of time to invest concerning the penalties of their hypothetical participation within the EU for the way forward for ‘united Europe’. Particularly since, as we now have seen above, even the accession of a rustic that’s fully unprepared for membership wouldn’t be a tragedy for the EU political system, which has to this point managed to satisfy its most important duties.