Anti-European movements seem to be enjoying a fair wind, not only in Great Britain but also here on our side of the Channel. This demonstrates how Euroskepticism has become a threat to the fundamental values of the common European life.
Although the EU considers itself a unity, it is unable to introduce a united policy. In the absence of such policy, it is impossible to overcome the growing economical and social inequalities between the citizens of the Member States.
The European Economic Community, founded 60 years ago, was meant to maintain and guarantee peace. More than ever nowadays, in an unsafe world where hundreds of thousands are fleeing the horrors of war, we should embrace and take care of this precious gift of peace. Though many people today are willing to step out of the union, this is not the moment. It would be reckless to put all of it on the line.
People may not forget that we have already so many years of no war experience. In our regions the EU also managed to protect democracy: the freedom of press, freedom of speech and a free choice of religion (those being just a fraction of the inviolable rights Europeans enjoy).
All Member States of the EU have to ensure democratic guidelines, and countries aiming to join the EU cannot hinder reform processes. This contributes to the broadening of democratic values.
Two essential aspects of the European Union are the free movement of persons and a single currency. Admittedly, they are not perfectly elaborated; the Euro being the most commonly criticised aspect. However, in the Euro Zone, currency exchange disappeared along with the attached fees. We can cross the borders of all EU countries without passport control or visa requirements. It is really a pity that the last few months we saw the Schengen Agreement undermined. That agreement is the seal of proof for our ‘Union’, which assured a free movement concept within the internal borders, not only contributing to the economical dynamism but also to an inter-cultural exchange and thus to peace and understanding between different cultures.
The ex-communist countries by putting up walls are forgetting what it meant to be inclosed and are taking on a very selfish attitude. Free movement across our internal border-states is necessary, but also an allowance for people and goods entering our community.All the Visegrád countries now have leaders who could be fairly described as national-populists. In Western Europe, their rhetoric would often put them at the far-right of the political spectrum: they typically reject migrants and Islam, and do not wish to reproduce the Westerners’ experiment in multiculturalism in their own countries. This has led to clashes with Western Europe, notably Angela Merkel’s Germany, and the European Commission, who have advocated the welcoming of millions of refugees and the distribution of thousands across Central Europe.
Furthermore, all these nations – with the exception of Poland – have made various pro-Russian statements, and implied that they would ideally want a reconciliation and reinforcement of economic ties with Moscow. This bodes ill for the maintenance of the EU’s sanctions against Russia, in retaliation for the annexation of Crimea, and which can only be maintained by unanimity. More generally, Trump’s traumatic surprise electoral win in the United States is likely to embolden Central European conservatives in challenging Brussels and Berlin’s leadership of the EU.The area in which this is most apparent is perhaps demographics. Central Europe faces severe medium-term decline in the face of ongoing emigration – while wages have risen, they remain much higher in the West – and extremely low fertility, which goes from 1.3 children per woman in Poland to 1.5 in the Czech Republic.
As a result, the European Commission projects that all these nations, with the exception of the Czech Republic, will see a drastic decline in population between now and 2080, falling by as much as 25 percent. In Poland, this would mean almost 10 million less people. This will inevitably mean a weaker Central Europe in the world, with a rapidly-shrinking labour force obligated to commit an ever-greater share of resources to an exploding population of pensioners.
The case of demographics shows the weaknesses of Visegrád’s alternative vision for Europe. Borders and national sovereignty are indeed means of slowing change, including undesirable change. But in themselves, they would do little to halt Europe’s decline to an elderly collection of statelets on the western Eurasian periphery. No doubt more creative and forward-looking measures are needed to prevent such a scenario and secure a sovereign Europe’s place among this century’s leading powers.
Everywhere in Europe we have to face the problem of the older getting population. Europe shall need young men and women to strengthen our workforce. When we can help rescuing people fleeing for the horrors of war we should open our borders.
Therefore, we can only shake our heads when we hear that others plan on building walls. Europe is familiar with such division. We must not let it come to that point anymore. To question the free movement of persons, on anyone’s behalf, would be a major setback for this free and diverse community.
The EU is not perfect but it assures peace and safety in Europe. To criticise it, is legitimate. To destroy it, is not.
We cannot deny that reforms and innovations are needed to make the EU fit for the future. However, these reforms can only be completed through unity and cohesion and not through antipathy and inner conflict.
A strengthening of the European Union is very overdue.
Isn’t it a privilege to be able to call our neighbours our friends? To move freely without passport control? Not to have to exchange currency? And moreover: to live in peace?
For us Europeans, these privileges have become self-evident, just like so many other things in the EU. And yet so many are beginning to question it all.
With thanks to Vox Europe
- Migrants to the West #1
- Migrants to the West #2
- Migrants to the West #3
- Migrants to the West #6
- Migrants to the West #8 Welbeing
- Europe and much-vaunted bastions of multiculturalism becoming No God Zones
- 2015 Human rights
- Religion, fundamentalism and murder
- Religious Freedom in a Multicultural World
- The New gulf of migration and seed for far right parties
- Problems by losing the borders
- Brexit: The mother of all uncertainties
- Walls,colours, multiculturalism, money to flow, Carson, Trump and consorts
- With EU and U.S. Distracted, Central and Eastern European Countries Crack Down on Civil Society
- European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) [Policy Podcast]
- Schengen area: Update and state of play
- Hungary: The Abject Failure of the EU
- UK & Europe
- UK: MP McDonagh chairwoman of the all-party parliamentary group of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community calls crack down of radicalisation
- Brexit bill to go before MPs from Monday
- Brexit, Blair and doing the right thing
- Will UK Nationals Lose their EU Citizens’ Rights after Brexit?
- Pros and cons of multi-speed EU
- Poland ‘alone’ in the EU after Tusk re-election snub — Anti-European Union storm clouds — “The EU is in Germany’s sphere of influence.”
- Ordanoski: There is only one direction for Balkan countries – west
- As ECB Charts Economic Course, Politics Complicate the Picture
- EPRS circular economy infographic
- Berlin calls for dialogue to mitigate risks in Balic Sea region
- Reactions to the ECJ decision on asylum law in EU
- Europe: Poland fails to stop Donald Tusk EU re-election
- Donald Tusk re-elected as European council president
- Much to Poland’s Chagrin, Donald Tusk Wins Second Term as European Council President
- The European pass or how to expel more