Can EU Survive its “Successes”: 7-Year Recession, Jobless Youth, Migrant Flood, Greek ‘Coup’?
Three senior European Union figures have warned recently that the tensions of the past year are straining the EU to breaking point and a collapse of the project is possible.
EU President Donald Tusk, Parliament President Martin Schulz and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker all spoke in calamitous terms (scroll down for Reuters report) of their concerns for the future of the EU project. Why? And can the European Union survive its latest round of “achievements”: the Greek Crisis, the earlier Cyprus debacle, unprecedented levels of youth unemployment, undocumented (mainly Muslim and mainly economic) migrants arriving in their millions, the inexorable Rise of the Right in national politics and so on?
Here is what happened when, earlier in 2015, Germany put its boots down hard on Greece :
(See our mid-year report for background: Bankrupt Greece is a Threat to Germany’s EU Hegemony, Hence the Venom)
A four part documentary:
Published to YouTube on Dec 15, 2015
Director Theopi Skarlatos and producer Paul Mason present #ThisIsACoup, a four part documentary series telling the story of how the European Union destroyed the first radical left government in modern history.
Published to YouTube on Dec 16, 2015
With the clash with the lenders on hold, some Greeks take to the streets to organise resistance. As the crunch looms, Tsipras predicts they will run out of money by the end of May. Almost on cue, Syriza defaults on its debt to the IMF and the “rupture” begins.
Published to YouTube on Dec 16, 2015
The crunch is here. A new bank run is draining the banks, while the state is almost out of cash. Against all odds Tsipras wins a crushing referendum victory, but as they celebrate, finance minister Varoufakis is sacked. What will Tsipras do next?
Published to YouTube on Dec 18, 2015
Final episode of our four-part series telling the story of the European Union’s confrontation with the Greek Syriza party in 2015. With unprecedented access to key Greek politicians.
Here is what happened when German Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to be nice:
Clearly shocked by the anger her Greek debacle stirred among other Europeans and allusions to a rising Fourth Reich, she must have hoped a moment of emotional populism might make amends:
Unilaterally opening her doors she declared “Germany welcomes the migrants, we can do it”. However as nearly 1 million migrants overwhelmed the country’s public service capacities domestic mood music began to darken :
Meanwhile voters across Europe watched, with increasing disbelief, as millions of migrants marched all summer long and the sometimes violent and ugly scenes that ensued:
Migrants Attack Police FYROM Macedonia Audio enhanced
Published on Nov 30, 2015
Other unfortunate side effects were also reported:
Immigrants attack police in Hungary!! Police uses tear gas
Published on Sep 16, 2015
Then back home some of her own voters began to turn against her:
Not all Germans like EU’s Open Borders immigration (07Oct15)
Published on Oct 8, 2015
Recorded from BBC2 HD, Newsnight, 07 October 2015.
While in Poland virulent “migrantnitis” appeared to be rife:
POLISH PEOPLE AGAINST “IMMIGRANTS”. THE TRUTH THAT YOU WON’T SEE ON TV! – Marcin Rola’s Report
Published on Oct 18, 2015
Marcin Rola – Candidate for the RP deputy (Polish parliament) Kukiz ’15, Warsaw, number 15 on the list. The truth that you won’t see in the television.
Finally around Christmas time it emerged that the initially welcoming German population, which had been assured the migrants were all “Syrian refugees” soon learnt otherwise, took to arming themselves “for protection” and marching in protest against Merkel’s moment of madness:
“The spike in violent crimes committed by migrants has been corroborated by a confidential police report leaked to a German newspaper- Rheinische Post (above). The document reveals that a record-breaking 38,000 asylum seekers were accused of committing crimes in the country in 2014. Analysts believe this figure — which works out to more than 100 crimes a day — is only a fragment: many crimes are not reported.” – Soeren Kern Gatestone Institute
Here is what happened when the EU, driven by Merkel and finance meister Wolfgang Schäuble, refused to lower the dose of austerity poison it was administering to recession-hit EU nation states:
Most of continental Europe will be flat-lining next year with the exception of Spain (now thrown into political turmoil which may affect the forecast), and central European states such as Romania and the Visegrad Group, the latter obstinately opposed to migrant re-settlement and multi-culturalism and insisting Europe needs a rapid refresher course in its Judeo-Christian history, a return to commonsense and to first principles.
— Andrew Byrne (@aqbyrne) December 16, 2015
Meanwhile as a series of observers across the EU stress repeatedly, the cumbersome, over-centralised Brussels elite bunkered in Berlaymont and captured by powerful lobbyists and business interests, suffers from a undiminished democratic defict. This in turn has fostered a grassroots groundswell of conservative “populism” notably in France, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, the UK and elsewhere. It is this that the EU leaders fear might just sweep away their project.
In France’s two-round December 13 regional elections the Front National — hardline, anti-EU nationalists led by Marine le Pen — mesmerised the country with its highest score ever, taking 30% of the vote nationally. Notably 35% of those in the 18-25 year cohort who turned out, voted for the Front National, suggesting hers is seen as the party of the future by a significant chunk of youngsters whose careers, families and prospects are on the line.
As Patrice de Beer writing at Open Democracy on the outcome noted:
“For two decades we have heard that the FN was a threat that had to be tackled by social and economic changes. These changes never came to fruition. We heard about the new policies and new faces to fight the ongoing economic crisis. These new faces were too often similar to the old ones. Out of touch with the real country and from ordinary people, these politicians spend more time in the shadows of power than in marketplaces. They talk about development plans costing millions of euros to people living on the minimum wage, who are simply hoping for a job and a safer environment to live in. These politicians have lost touch and don’t see the reality. They cannot reconnect.”
For its part Spain is about to enter weeks of post-election horsetrading thanks to the disruptive arrival of the leftwing Podemos party that has broken the bi-partite consensus that has ruled for more than 40 years since the dictatorship was ousted. In Sunday’s general election, Podemos took 21% of the vote to become kingmaker in the formation of the next government.
Here is what is worrying Juncker, Tusk, Schulz et al:
Reuters news agency recently headlined its year end roundup report out of Brussels: “A year from hell for the European Union“: “By any measure, it has been a year from hell for the European Union. And … next year could be worse. Not since 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell and communism crumbled across eastern Europe, has the continent’s geopolitical kaleidoscope been shaken up so vigorously. But unlike that year of joyous turmoil, which paved the way for a leap forward in European integration, the crises of 2015 have threatened to tear the Union apart and left it battered, bruised, despondent and littered with new barriers… Jean-Claude Juncker, who describes his EU executive as the “last chance Commission”, warned that the EU’s open-border Schengen area of passport-free travel was in danger and the euro itself would be unlikely to survive if internal borders were shut … French President Francois Hollande’s year has been bracketed by militant attacks on the streets of Paris in January and November that caused Europe-wide shock over the Islamist threat from within and over failures in European police and intelligence cooperation. France’s influence in Europe is diminished by its economic weakness…”
Finally, the gloom will not be dispelled by the most recent sign that Mutti Merkel has made a serious and potentially career-destroying mistake.
According to this report: “Fabrice Leggeri head of the EU’s Frontex agency, charged with guarding the borders, has warned that large number of refugees entering Europe pose a serious security risk.
He added: ‘the civil war in Syria is making it much harder to check the authenticity of Syrian passports found on those entering Europe. Leggeri told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag: ‘The big inflows of people who are currently entering Europe unchecked are of course a security risk.’ Welt am Sonntag said that according to Western intelligence services, Islamic State militants had probably procured tens of thousands of real passports after taking control of local authorities in parts of Syria, Iraq and Libya. They may also have seized machines used to produce identity documents.
“The newspaper said, without specifying its sources, that Islamic State was doing a brisk trade in the passports, which sell for between £700 and £1,000 on the black market.”
Story: Ken Pottinger
To add to Mutti Merkel’s woes over her open-doors welcoming policy: German police complain regularly about the disrespect for the law shown by longstanding and recent arriving Muslim-origin migrants.
Here the Stuttgarter Zeitung (via Breitbart) reports on the latest problems:
“One of Germany’s most high profile police officers has spoken out about the abuse faced by her fellow officers from migrants, and the total failure of integration for thousands of young Muslims who proudly proclaim ‘sh*t on Germany!’
“Despite being of a migrant background herself, commissioner Tania Kambouri has not been shy in her criticism of the failures of the integration process in Germany which is making life difficult for police, as they are harassed and even ganged up on by migrant men.
“Speaking in an interview with Stuttgarter Zeitung, Mrs. Kambouri said the German state was not taking the problem seriously enough, and said the police were under threat. While identifying “young Muslim men” as the main problem she and her colleagues faced, she did qualify herself, remarking: ‘They are, as far as I can see, men from Muslim countries. But whether they are practising Muslims or not, I can not tell’…”