Maybe the EU needs a military intervention by the US, like it is planning for Venezuela?
In May’s European elections, anti-EU forces will be on the rise, says the philanthropist George Soros
In May’s European elections, anti-EU forces will be on the rise. Those who want to preserve the union’s values must wake up
Europe is sleepwalking into oblivion and its people need to wake up before it is too late. If they don’t, the European Union will go the way of the Soviet Union in 1991. Neither our leaders nor ordinary citizens seem to understand that we are experiencing a revolutionary moment, that the range of possibilities is very broad, and that the eventual outcome is thus highly uncertain.
Most of us assume the future will more or less resemble the present, but this is not necessarily so. In a long and eventful life, I have witnessed many periods of what I call radical disequilibrium. We are living in such a period today.
The next inflection point will be the elections for the European parliament, in May 2019. Unfortunately, anti-EU forces will enjoy a competitive advantage. There are several reasons for this, including the outdated party system in most European countries, the practical impossibility of treaty change and the lack of legal tools for disciplining member states that violate the principles on which the EU was founded. The EU can impose its laws on applicant countries but it lacks sufficient capacity to enforce member states’ compliance.
The antiquated party system hampers those who want to preserve the values on which the EU was founded, but it helps those who want to replace those values with something radically different. This is true in individual countries and even more so in trans-European alliances. The party system of individual states reflects the divisions that mattered in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the conflict between capital and labour. But the cleavage that matters most today is between pro- and anti-European forces.
The EU’s dominant country is Germany, whose dominant political alliance – between the Christian Democratic Union and the Bavaria-based Christian Social Union – has become unsustainable. The alliance worked as long as there was no significant party in Bavaria to the right of the CSU. That changed with the rise of the extremist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). In last September’s länder elections, the CSU’s result was its worst in more than six decades, and the AfD entered the Bavarian parliament for the first time.