The European Union is gradually collapsing, and its institutions, instead of protecting democracy, have become a problem – says German historian, Heinrich Winkler.
The European Union has ceased to be a community of liberal values while reaching unanimous decisions in Europe is becoming increasingly difficult – Winkler explains for Der Spiegel, as reported by Sputnik News. .
In his opinion, having a pro-European majority in the Strasbourg Parliament will soon be no easy feat – the anti-European parties have been gaining in popularity and it is uncertain whether the pro-European forces will get enough votes to replace the current European Commission president.
Want to open a company in Serbia? Click here!
During Jean-Claude Juncker’s term in the office, the European Commission has ceased to be the guardian of European agreements, according to the German historian. The Commission was more a political body, which very often freely interpreted the terms of the agreement.
According to Winkler, the European party associations have taken on a very strange format and exist exclusively in the form of political parties in the parliament in Strasbourg. They are often composed of extremely controversial national parties, from the viewpoint of democracy, like Fides, ran by the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Furthermore, large coalitions in the European Union show solidarity that can discredit its very concept and jeopardize people’s trust in the Union, says the German historian.
It is difficult to believe that the European Union is always capable of making decisions in the best interests of the entire of Europe, believes Winkler. A Union, consisting of 28, or soon 27 countries, can hardly reach a unanimous decision. This is connected, inter alia, to the process of demolishing norms which is something that countries such as Hungary, Poland or Romania have been doing – Winkler underlines.
Due to a lack of democracy, ultimately, every country can be deprived of the right to vote in the EU, but such a decision must be adopted by all other members unanimously. In this kind of situation, Hungary and Poland can already lean on one another, warns Winkler.
He adds that there are other signs that the EU is collapsing. China is trying to make many European countries dependent on it in financial and economic terms while Putin’s Russia uses every opportunity to sow discord among the countries of the European Union. If the Council of Europe is discussing sanctions against Russia or breach of human rights in China, it becomes increasingly difficult to adopt a unanimous decision, the author notes.
From the perspective of the European Commission, in the next ten years, the EU should expand to include Western Balkan countries, but not every expansion is a success. If Serbia joins the EU, Moscow will get the best ally possible in the European Union, warns the German historian
According to Winkler, Germany has also contributed to the current crisis in the EU. Germany’s autonomous decisions regarding the refugee crisis in September 2015 did not go unnoticed by its European neighbours. In Poland, Berlin’s decision to allow an uncontrollably large number of migrants contributed to the rise in popularity of their conservative party “Law and Justice”, and in Britain, the success of Brexit’s supporters – Winkler adds.
Migration policy is not the only critical problem that Germany has to deal with, says Winkler. In his opinion, they practically destroyed their first national state. In most European countries, however, there is no understanding that national state is the thing of the past, which should be replaced by a European federation, or a federal formation similar to Germany.
Winkler goes on to say that every move towards a closer alliance, based on an EU policy, will in one way or the other, collapse. He concludes that having a closer cooperation between European countries would be a more realistic goal. Notwithstanding certain disagreements, many EU countries are unique in relation to the issues of the rule of law and democracy and actively support Germany in budgetary matters and monetary policy.
Other countries can join the normative core of Europe, but close cooperation is only needed if EU erosion is stopped. Otherwise, the European Union will have to bid a farewell to the idea of a community of values – concludes the German historian in his column for the German daily, Der Spiegel.
This post is also available in: Italiano