Collapse of the European Union? A Skeptical View

Published on Toward Freedom, by Immanuel Wallerstein, March 18, 2016.

One of the many games pundits and politicians are playing these days is to spell out why and how the European Union (EU) is going to collapse, is already collapsing. Anyone who follows the news worldwide knows all the standard explanations: Grexit and Brexit will only lead to other exits; nobody wants more migrants (refugees) in their country; Germany has too much power, or not enough; ultra-rightwing forces/parties are rising almost everywhere; the Schengen Agreement providing visa-less movement is being suspended in most countries that had adopted it; unemployment is unstoppably growing … //

… Let us begin with the economy. The situation in terms of current income, both for the states and for most individuals, is bad everywhere in the EU. The question is whether dismantling Europe would be likely to improve it, or in fact make it worse.

One subject of constant debate is the Eurozone – will it survive? Take for example what happened in Greece in the two 2015 elections there. Alexei Tsipras, the leader of the now-governing party Syriza, was elected in the first election on an anti-austerity platform. He then, in negotiating with the EU for a further loan, retreated on just about everything he had promised the Greek voters. He agreed to measures demanded by the EU that severely hurt the real income of the majority of the population. For this, he was denounced for betraying his promises by left forces within Syriza who withdrew from the party and established their own list. Yet in the next election called very swiftly by Tsipras, he received the mandate again. The Greek voters chose him rather than the left forces within Syriza … //

… Finally, there are the so-called cultural links between the United States and Europe. They are publicly proclaimed and more quietly disdained as a remnant of U.S. hegemonic dominance in the first twenty-five years after 1945. Once again there are varying motivations. The left parties and movements want to use their unified structure as a mode of regaining the cultural autonomy (even superiority) they felt they had before 1945. The rightwing forces want to use their strength to insist upon their cultural autonomy on so-called human rights questions. Once again, in union there is strength.

What I see happening is more and more rhetoric and less and less real action. For good or bad, my sense is that the institutions of the EU will survive. This does not mean they won’t change. There is, and will continue to be, a real political struggle within the EU about the kind of collective institution it ought to be. This intra-European political struggle is one part of a worldwide struggle about the kind of world we wish to build as an outcome to the structural crisis of the modern world-system … //

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The Refugee Crisis: an European Call for Action, on, by AART DE GEUS, ARTUR SANTOS SILVA, GUNTRAM B. WOLFF, MIKKO KOSONEN, PIERO GASTALDO, ROBIN NIBLETT AND YVES BERTONCINI, March 18, 2016: European leaders need to implement common European solutions to the refugee crisis. Only joint solutions can credibly and effectively reduce the growing human suffering and social and political turmoil. The refugee crisis poses a serious challenge, both to the welfare of refugees and to European societies. In 2015, more than 1.5 million migrants crossed into the European Union …;

The Privatising Industry in Europe, on, by Sol Trumbo Vila and Matthijs Peters, 17 February 2016;

Tomgram: Peter Van Buren, Candidates, Is America Exceptional, or Only Great? on Tom Dispatch, by Peter Van Buren, March 17, 2016;

Expedition beyond tomorrow, the Organic Industry, on Spiegel Online International, by Nicolai Kwasniewski, March 16, 2016;

… and this:

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