FOLLOWING Trump-a-thon and Brexit, the EU is facing a series of make-or-break elections in the coming months.
With Trump in the White House, Italy lurching from crisis to crisis, France’s Le Pen waiting in the wings, Austria and the Netherlands becoming increasingly Eurosceptic (plus Erdogan’s threats), life will become even more problematic for the EU. (And Mrs Merkel may well end up concluding three terms as Chancellor were more than enough.)
The EU was always going to be bedevilled by the simple fact that a huge amount of central control and cohesion would be needed to maintain anything more than a free trade bloc. The EU countries are so disparate, politically and ideologically, that a one-size-fits-all approach was never likely to succeed. The more it developed, the more central control this project would need to maintain itself and inevitably the more unstable it’d become. The EU urgently needs to reform if it wants to survive or risk drowning under an overwhelming wave of populist/anti-establishment resentment.
The EU is like a marriage – a contractual agreement voluntarily entered into by two parties for co-habiting with obligations of mutual support with a degree of affection. What often makes marriages collapse is when one partner takes the relationship for granted reasoning that, as the other partner is contractually bound, zero effort to listen is required. Grievances build up and rankle.
This doesn’t bother the politicians, but it does the people. For many, it’s as if the EU views its behaviour post-marriage (EU membership) as a matter for itself – it can, figuratively, zap through TV programs or slurp its soup etc at will – and far from being consulted, some member states don’t feel they’re being listened to at all.
Great institutions might think their sheer size ensures permanence. The reality is that they can disappear in a decade if public opinion sufficiently turns against them. Institutions which fundamentally exist because of public support should never take that support for granted.
Oh, and one last thing, could Blair, Major and Clegg stop sticking their collective oars in the Brexit debate…
Nora Johnson’s psychological/suspense crime thrillers ‘No Way Back,’ ‘Landscape of Lies,’ ‘Retribution,’ ‘Soul Stealer,’ ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.99;£0.99) and iBookstore. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.