We are often told that ‘we know things now that we didn’t know in 2016’. How true that is. And the most important thing is the increasingly shaky state of the EU, its major member states, and its whole financial and economic structure.
- Friction between states is endemic: social, political, and economic: north against south, east against west
- Extremist politics are on the rise in most states: Italy, Germany, France, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Sweden, Greece, Czech Republic …
- Tension between states and the EU central authorities is constant in Greece, Hungary, Poland …
- EU membership has facilitated the growth of separatist movements in several states: Spain, France, Italy, the UK
- Half the EU states are now governed by minority governments, unstable coalitions, or are without government
- Perhaps most dangerously of all, the Eurozone system is systemically dysfunctional, creating economic, social and political tensions: the immediate danger-points are Italy, Spain and France: a crisis is possible in the near future, as the European Central Bank ends its quantitative easing programme, leaving massive imbalances and a banking system in large parts insolvent.
- The wise course for the UK is to distance itself and diversify its trade
“The reason many in the UK voted to leave the EU is that they recognised it wasn’t fit for purpose over the long term. On that count, they look to be right.” Eurasia Group report, ‘Top Risks 2019’
The fundamental question that we all need to ask is what future does the EU have, and why are some in Britain willing to risk our own political stability to force us to attach ourselves to a crisis-ridden institution? When the next Euro crisis hits, how will politicians explain their conduct to their electors?
The whole system, Professor Gwythian Prins (LSE) argues, has gone beyond the point at which it conferred clear benefits on Europe’s peoples: it is now creating more problems than it solves and may be entering terminal decline
The eurozone creates a need for vast flows of funds between states and banks, and Professor David Blake (Cass Business School) shows that this has now reached the point of crisis
Dr Helen Thompson (Cambridge) shows the insoluble problem that democracy poses to the EU
Professor Ashoka Mody (Princeton) identifies serious economic and social problems in Germany, the pillar of the Eurozone
Mody also identifies the eurozone’s weakest and most volatile point: Italy
Dr Helen Thompson agrees, and shows in detail that “Whatever the European Union’s ability to muddle through crises, something in the case of Italy and the euro will eventually have to give”
And now President Macron of France has been permanently weakened by continuing violent unrest, as his chickens come home to roost. Who now will pose as the EU’s saviour?