The European Union – An unfulfilled dream?

20.07.2016 - Athens, Greece - Nelly Koureta

This post is also available in: Greek

The European Union – An unfulfilled dream?

We are witnessing a historic moment in Europe. Hard-core, conservative politicians are occupying a vital space in European affairs and do not allow unifying thoughts, which would ensure the continuation of the European project, to be on the agenda.

When the European Commission[1] eliminated from its policies the “social agenda” which characterized the European social model and subsequently started talking about a “2020 Strategy”, all thoughtful Europeans realized that the right to quality employment for all European citizens had ended. It is the time when Eurosceptics[2] began to be strengthened. And, slippage was quick after the rejection of the new treaty by France in 2005, the Greek referendum with a predominant NO vote a year ago, the refusal to host thousands of refugees on European territory for a year now and finally the BREXIT. And of course, since 2005, there have been many acts of war and terrorism.

A new period has begun when a democratic nation (that of France) pressured by controversial austerity measures chooses to react uncritically and refuses to approve a treaty; the only democratic proposal prepared by a number of intellectuals and Constitutionalists up to now. On the other hand there have been many analyses of the Greek NO which marked the end of the so-called “post-dictatorship period” in Greece. At the same time we are experiencing the inhumane and undemocratic behaviour of European politicians towards refugees and the violation of international treaties. The very recent Brexit is the choice of a nation which endlessly and for decades has heard from its politicians that it belongs more to an Anglo-Saxon culture, that its real neighbour is the USA and not France and other European countries. Whilst we should also not forget the complete absence of the European coalition in the events preceding the Crimean War, the assassination of Gaddafi as well as the extermination of an entire nation, that of the Syrians.  Terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels and Istanbul are simply the results of these policies.

The social agenda of industrial relations which imposed a minimum protection standard for workers, citizens, consumers and demanded social protection with collective bargaining at its heart was the model that differentiated and characterized us both as a coalition and European citizens. In other words, in 2005 we stopped talking about the European social model of development in Europe and targeted Foreign Affairs and the results can be seen in the above. In conclusion, we are talking about economic recession and impoverishment of large populations worldwide. We are in an on-going silent and insidious war.

But what else happened between 2005 and 2016 besides the above? Did China overtake Europe economically? Did the living standard of the average Chinese citizen surpass that of the average European? Did the Chinese model and standard of living prove to be superior to the European social model and our own living standards? Is this what the “Merkel coalition” struggles for? Or rather was it that what really happened was the standard of living of the 2% of Chinese surpassed the standard of living of the corresponding European percentage? But should this concern us? Should we, the 98%, not care at all about these problems of the leader of a European state, which in a recession period is the only one in Europe to show positive results with an increase of 35% in its national budget, according to a majority of economists?

Between 2005 and 2016 the substantial unification of Europe was not achieved, because the “Merkel coalition” managed to destroy the role both of the Ministers’ Councils and European institutions so that important decisions had to be taken at the level of Heads of States. Simultaneously, things were pushed in such a way that Europe’s foreign policy was to be formulated by big countries and NATO; which was also not discussed or decided at a broad level by Councils and institutions. The result is a new military coalition to be built that will determine the Union’s foreign policy, something reminiscent of major war periods.

The re-operation of European institutions in compliance with the regulations will lead that minority, which today has a leading role, to isolation. There is a dramatic need to create coalitions of Member States that will overrule these practices in the Union. If this does not happen shortly, the European project will not be completed and that unfortunately will mark the conservativisation of certain coalitions that, with financial profit as its only objective will irreversibly reduce ideologies, democratic patterns and practices. Such a development can only harm the standards of living throughout the old continent to the core.

[1] The European Union institution that has responsibility for EU policy proposals.

[2] The term Euroscepticism reappeared in 1992 in Denmark, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Categories: Europe, Opinions, Politics
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