Today, the European Union needs salvation, and radical restructuring. Salvation of the EU is more urgent, since, Europe was threatened with an existential threat. However, stressed during his election campaign the President of France Emmanuel Makron — not least to recapture the level of support that was in EU earlier.
Existential threat to the EU is partly external. The EU is surrounded by countries hostile to its fundamental principles. This is Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Egypt Abdul-Fattah Al-Sisi, and the America that would like to create Donald trump, if he could.
But the threat comes from within. The European Union is managed on the basis of contracts that have become largely irrelevant in the conditions prevailing in the Euro area after the financial crisis of 2008. Even the simplest of innovations necessary to maintain the stability of the common currency can be introduced only through intergovernmental agreements, going beyond existing agreements. And because the work of the European institutions has become more complicated, the EU itself in some aspects gradually loses efficiency.
The Eurozone in particular, has turned into the complete opposite of its original design. The EU was conceived as a voluntary Association of like-minded Nations that are willing to forgo part of their sovereignty for the common good. But after the financial crisis of 2008 the Eurozone is transformed into a system in which the creditor countries dictate their own terms to debtor countries and those not able to comply with its own obligations. Imposing the policy of reducing government spending, lenders are virtually deprived the debtors of the opportunity to grow and thereby to pay the debts.
If things in the EU will be the same as before, hopes to improve the situation does not appear. That is why the EU needs a radical overhaul. The top-down approach chosen by Jean Monnet in European integration in the 1950-ies, has helped to manage this process for a long time, but then the momentum ran out. Now Europe needs collective action, combining the top-down approach characteristic of the EU institutions, initiatives from the bottom, which is necessary in order to attract the electorate.
Take, for example, Pexit, which will undoubtedly cause great harm to both sides. Negotiations with Britain about the conditions of her release will be to divert EU attention from his own existential crisis, and these negotiations will clearly be carried out for longer than the required two years. Five years seems a more real term, a policy five years is an eternity, especially in such revolutionary times, as it is today.
This means that the EU should approach the negotiations on Breccia in a constructive spirit, knowing that the future is unpredictable. During the long process of “divorce” the British public may decide that being part of the European Union much more attractive than to get out of it. However, such a scenario implies the transformation of the European Union to an organization to which other countries — such as Britain — will want to join and change the opinions of people on both sides of the English channel.
The chances are that both conditions are met, are very small, but they are not zero. The entire EU needs to understand that Pexit is a step towards European disintegration, that is step on which both sides lose. On the contrary, if again to make the EU attractive, then people, especially the younger generation, will get hope for a better future.
This Europe must be different from current systems in two key aspects. First, there must be a clear distinction between the EU and the Eurozone. Secondly, we should recognize that the Eurozone is driven by outdated agreements, it being understood that the control system cannot change, that cannot change the agreement.
According to these agreements, all EU countries sooner or later — when they meet certain requirements — will have to join the Euro. This resulted in an absurd situation: Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic have made clear they do not intend to adopt the Euro, however, they are still considered countries preparing to join the Eurozone (the”pre-ins”).
The consequences of this situation — not just cosmetic. The EU has become an organization in which countries of the Eurozone have become a kind of inner core, and thus the rest of the Union put on a lower step. This situation needs to change. We cannot allow the many unresolved problems of the Euro destroyed the EU.
The failure to clarify the relationship between the Euro and the European Union is a consequence of the larger defect — assumptions, if the different EU countries can move at different speeds, going to a common final goal. In fact, a growing number of EU countries begin to reject the calls to create a “closer Union”.
Replacement of the concept of a Europe of “different speeds” in Europe the concept of “different ways”, providing EU countries a wider democratic choice, can have far-reaching positive effect. Now the EU countries want to strengthen their sovereignty, rather than continuing to pass the leadership to someone else. However, if the policy of cooperation will bring positive results, the approach to this question may change and the goals of United voluntarily countries, will be attractive to all.
Absolutely necessary substantial progress in addressing three issues: the territorial disintegration (her example was Pexit), the refugee crisis and the lack of adequate economic growth. On all three issues in Europe, there is a very low level of cooperation.
This is particularly clearly in the question of the refugee crisis, and there is a tendency to a further decline of cooperation. In Europe there is still no comprehensive migration policy. Each country defends what it considers its national interest, often working against the interests of other EU countries. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was right: the refugee crisis could destroy the EU. But we must not give up. If Europe will be able to make meaningful progress in resolving the refugee crisis, the dynamics can change to the positive.
I’m a great believer in political dynamics. Before the election of Macron, watching the convincing defeat of the Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders in the General election in the Netherlands in March, you could see the emergence of such dynamics, which is able to improve the political processes in the EU, deistviia top-down. And after the victory of the Makron, the sole Pro-European candidate in the elections in France, I am much more confident in the outcome of the German elections in September. In Germany, various combinations can lead to a Pro-European coalition, especially if anti-European and xenophobic party Alternative für Deutschland will continue to lose popularity. Further increasing the Pro-European dynamics may be strong enough to handle the biggest danger — the Bank and the migration crisis in Italy.
I also inspire spontaneous grass-roots initiatives (supported mostly by young people) we see today. I’m talking about the movement of the “Pulse of Europe” that originated in Frankfurt in November, and then engulfed in 120 cities across the continent, the “Best for Britain” in the United Kingdom, the resistance of the ruling party “law and justice” in Poland and the party, Fidesz, Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Hungary.
Resistance in Hungary was probably made for Orban the same surprise as me. Orban tries to present its policy as a personal conflict with me, turning me into a target of persistent propaganda campaign waged by his government. He portrays himself as a defender of Hungarian sovereignty, as a currency speculator who uses his money to restore the Europe of illegal immigrants in the framework of the obscure nefarious conspiracy.
The truth is that I am the founder of the Central European University (CEU) and proud of it. After 26 years after the creation of the CEU is in the ranking of the leading 50 universities in the world in the segment of social Sciences. Funding CEU, I gave him the opportunity to protect academic freedom from external interference, whether this interference of the Hungarian government or anyone else (including its founder).
From this experience I learned two lessons. First, to protect open societies it is not enough to rely on the rule of law. You need to be prepared to stand up for what you believe in. CEU and recipients of grants from my Fund to do so. Their fate is not yet clear. But I believe so strongly in defense of academic freedom and freedom of Assembly, they eventually will set in motion the slow wheel of European justice.
Secondly, I realized that democracy cannot be imposed from the outside. It should establish and protect the people. I admire the bravery with which the Hungarians to resist fraud and corruption mafia of the state, created by Orban. And am inspired by the energetic reaction of European institutions to the challenges emanating from Poland and Hungary. Ahead is a dangerous path, but I can clearly see in these battles the prospects of revival of the EU.