The European Union has a rough time lately. Immigration waves, sense of cultural identity loss, nostalgia, terrorism, financial crisis and other economic insecurities have served the demagogs well to swell their ranks. Our unity is under great stress, but foremost this unity made the European Union a success. We all know how the world wars devastated Europe and that the recovery led to levels of prosperity unprecedented in human history. The EU is an ongoing experiment and we should not discard it easy.
That a Brexit undermines the European Union is no secret, Trumps positive remarks over a hard Brexit this midday don’t help Europe unite either. If local politics is preferable over continental, maybe New York should leave the United States of America. Let’s see how Trump will twitter on that.
In general, Trumps interview this midday was shocking but expected. He praises the Brexit, calls the EU a vehicle of Germany, criticises Merkel, the NATO and China. But, Trump is right in that immigration is dividing Europe. Every European country has seen a rise in fraction and quantity of political parties and more extreme ideologies. Most of these parties are far right or left orientated but share anti European feelings.
With current conditions going on, pro European parties will likely see a decrease in national power in the coming elections in Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France. The core of the EU is indeed threatened when right anti-European parties gain power. Immigration and economy will be the major political themes in the coming elections as they have been a cause for the rise in anti European feelings. I hope political leaders will recognise these topics as such and not as usually dwell on lesser issues. Containing far right and left parties, especially the ones focused on anti European feelings, should get high priority if a united Europe is to be kept alive. Cooperation and a consensus on continental immigration laws and what to do with our East and South European borders should be primary goals to solve. Only than will anti European parties be kept in check and can we have a strong united Europe for the 21 century. We cannot let over 60 years of effort slip away by nostalgia and irrationalism.
From international perspective I am sure Putin would prefer a weak and divided Europe. The time when the European world was ruled by balances of power has not past yet completely, Putin tries to keep his influence by tearing down and obstructing postmodern views of Europe. Putin and Trump are the same in this, they are old fashioned Real Politik believers. But not only in response to Putin we should stand our ground, economically we stand way stronger as a single market. Also the EU can be an example of how to create new international relations between countries for the 21 century. From military point speaking, MAD maybe have worked in the time of the Cold War between Russia and the US. But with nine nuclear states and conflicting interests between 6 of them, I am not so sure you should bet on a mutual assured destruction theory. Strength through power is not necessarily bad, but please keep talking and cooperation always an option.
To come back at Europe and unity, I still hope the Brexit does not come to fruition, but only very bad economic figures will put sense in the English Brexiteers. After Theresa May’s little speech today the Pound went done again, but this will not be enough. Though, there is still time to reunite, also without the English, but immigration needs to be controlled. Moderate right and left must hold together victory over the anti European establishment, for this to happen they need to find middle ground and cooperate, even so in an international way. It will not be easy but we should not forget that we are brothers in this, Ode to Joy.