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Soon we will see a completely different Europe

Soon we will see a completely different Europe

29 2018 June LJ cover – Уже скоро мы увидим совсем другую Европу
Tags: Politics, EU, Analytics, Europe, Economics

The European integration crisis has been covered by the EU since 2005, when the attempt to adopt the Constitution for Europe failed. Now it is increasingly transforming the European political landscape. The deferred effects of the eurozone crisis, which began in 2008 following the financial crisis in the United States, and the migration crisis of 2015-2016, are working.

The systemic problems that emerged at that time, but have not been resolved, begin to lead to tangible political consequences. And it is very possible that soon we will see a completely different Europe.

27 June in Brussels, the summit of heads of state and government of the European Union began. European journalists already call the meeting "the mother of all summits". And not by chance.

To begin with, the summit plans to adopt the EU budget plan for seven years, which for the first time does not take into account the contributions of the UK. Thus, there will be a point in the discussion about the theoretical possibility of preserving the United Kingdom in the Union. As Nigel Faraj, the former leader of the British Independence Party and Brezit's "father", said recently in an interview: "Whatever I do in the future, it will never surpass (Brakes)."

Indeed, the epoch in European history ends.

Attempts by the English to find themselves in a community with other Europeans led to disappointment. 46 years of British presence in a single Europe are already ending irrevocably, and the country goes on a free voyage. What is waiting for her there is absolutely unknown. But without the British, the political map of the European Union will radically change - the balancer disappears, which all these years restrained attempts by Germany and France to dominate other Europeans.

If earlier small and medium-sized EU countries could always hope for an alternative to the consolidated position of Berlin and Paris in the person of London, now such an alternative has disappeared.

However, the most heated discussions at the summit are expected, undoubtedly, on the migration issue. What to do with the continuing influx of immigrants from the countries of Africa and the Middle East?

Three years ago, when hundreds of thousands of migrants arrived in the EU, the problem of the Europeans' lack of a uniform and fair policy for all in this area could not be solved. As a result, intermediate solutions appeared.

Turkey began to pay regular work to contain migrants, no matter by the way, by what methods. Individual EU countries have simply closed their ports, as France did, or the borders - Hungary and a number of other countries in Eastern Europe.

All responsibility was laid on the countries of Southern Europe, among which the first place for the reception of refugees was occupied by Italy - approximately 127 000 for 2017 year. In 2017-2018, the actual inaction was in the third place (12,6%) in the Bundestag elections in the right-wing "Alternative for Germany" and the formation of the coalition government in Italy by the right "League" and the populist movement "5 stars". It's time to reap political rewards.

Now, figuratively speaking, the European leaders will have to make a choice between paralysis and a heart attack.

If Angela Merkel's variant - a combination of pan-European and national measures - takes place, this will lead to a slow erosion of European unity on the issue that is most important for modern Europe. Why the most important? Because it directly affects the security of ordinary citizens - voters.

In the event that it does not happen to take any decision at all, the government coalition in Germany, the leading power of the EU, will break up, and the fan-blocking of the borders will begin.

As one of the interim solutions, it is also proposed to open on the territory of partner countries: Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and for some reason Albania - "regional landing platforms", and in fact - giant filtration camps, which will send refugees stopped in the Mediterranean sea.

The author of the idea, by the way, was still in 2016 the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who was then unanimously condemned for it. It is noteworthy that at the EU mini-summit last Sunday, where this idea was discussed among other things, Orban, like other East European leaders, was not invited. This, however, did not matter much, since the meeting organized by the European Commission, did not give any special results.

The sharpness of the whole history is added by the appearance on the European political space of leaders of a fundamentally new type. Thanks to them, Europe again becomes interesting. Finally, the epoch of fresh politics and the same kind of fresh politicians, taking backstage decisions on the basis of the "lowest common denominator", is finally coming to an end. They are replaced by very bright figures. Such as the Federal Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz or the new head of the Italian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the leader of the right-wing "League" Matteo Salvini.

Now he has become the main "terrible child" of European politics, squeezing against this background several provincial leaders of Poland or Hungary. Yes, and Italy itself is the third most populous and economical country in the EU after the British withdrawal. Therefore, her new foreign minister can afford much more than her colleagues in Warsaw or Budapest. For example, publicly call the president of France roughly.

However, Emmanuel Macron himself, who was at the time of election as a protege of those who control power and money in France, is also in a certain sense a politician of a new type. As observers say, it is sometimes peculiar for him to tell everyone what they want to hear. In Brussels, he convincingly talks about a single Europe, and at an economic forum in St. Petersburg - the importance of preserving the sovereignty of states.

This, however, is not surprising. In the spring of the year 2017, the leader of the "National Front", Marin Le Pen, could only win another bright and close to the population figure. And Macron's policy towards migrants, in fact, is not very different from what is now blamed on the Italian right.

It's another matter that since the crisis of the euro area, Italy has been under severe pressure from EU partners, and past governments did not allow themselves any unnecessary statements. Several years of humiliation of the country, which was at the root of the European integration, are now pouring out in the demanding and ultimatum tone of statements that sound from Rome to Berlin, Brussels and Paris. And according to polls, the ratings of the "League" and Salvini are growing - now its actions are supported by six out of every ten Italians surveyed.

Together with the change of generations, the meaning of the concept of populism in the European and not only in politics changes. Historically, it has been used to stigmatize any ideas that go beyond the liberal politically correct mainstream. But now this concept begins to denote another. Apparently, gradually his interpretation will be replaced by a more tolerant one, something like the equivalent of Russian populism, the definition of a policy that meets the needs of a mass voter. And after that, the stylistics of making important political decisions at the level of the whole European Union will also have to change.

The embodiment of stylistics, which led Europe to a dead end, if not to disappear, was the permanent German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The firm style of the daughter of a pastor from the GDR is to push through separate agreements through procedures that do not even remotely resemble democracy, and "break the weak through the knee." Merkel achieved the greatest success in this field during the fight against the crisis in the euro area.

Then, we recall, the situation was critical. Even the question of the expediency of preserving in the euro area such economies as Greece, Cyprus or even Spain with Portugal was raised. As a result, the situation could be rectified by providing loans to troubled countries, tied to the program of tough reforms on the Berlin recipes.

The German government also did not forget about its base: according to official data, since 2011, German banks have earned on interest from loans granted to Greece within the framework of European aid programs of the order of 3 billion euros.

At the same time, the so-called mini-summits entered the practice, to which not all EU countries invited, but which were always attended by Germany and France.

At first glance, this contributed to the effectiveness of decisions, since only those who were important to it were involved in the process. However, the degree of involvement of EU countries in general projects and their elementary socialization declined. And so, it became increasingly difficult to talk about solidarity in the European family.

Backstage transactions and decisions in a narrow circle can be effective. But this effectiveness does not automatically mean stability for the whole political organism of the EU. Now European politics is becoming more public.

What will be the result of all these deformations, with certainty, even to assume it would be very arrogant.

Let us turn, however, to the classics. The main character of the novel by Giuseppe Lampedusa "Leopard" Fabrizio Corbera, Prince Salina - a symbol of "old money" and power - used to say: "In order for everything to remain as before, everything must change."

Europe is definitely entering a new interesting period in its history.

Timofei Bordachev
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