The Withering of the #European Idea

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by Jan Carnogursky*

The situation in Europe after the recent European Parliament election of May 25: more human rights e moral questions are in sight. But no discussion of such fundamental issues, like the creation of the European army. There is still a lack of “European Patriotism”: might a United Europe exist without it?.

The European Parliament has held its first session after the May 25 election. It consists of 751 deputies, about 100 of whom are openly critical of the EU or even reject its ideas. The biggest recent factor is the victory of Eurosceptic parties in Britain and France, where they received approximately 25% of the vote. The victory of Marin Le Pen, president of the far-right French party Front National (FN), has paved the way to success in the 2017 presidential campaign.

Changes in the EU have influenced more than election results in the member countries. British Prime Minister David Cameron and the European People’s Party (EPP) are hotly debating nominations for the post of the European Commission president. The EPP, being the largest party in the European Parliament, was entitled to make the first nomination. And it nominated Jean-Claude Juncker, formerly a successful prime minister and finance minister of Luxembourg. Cameron expressed his view on the matter by saying that if Mr. Juncker got the top position, the British government would encourage people to vote for leaving the EU at the referendum that is scheduled for 2016.

However, enthusiasm or skepticism regarding the EU is not the only indicator of the state of affairs in the union. The main political groups in the European Parliament – the EPP and the Party of European Socialists – won their seats thanks to the strong support of the media.

After decades of liberals fighting conservatives for domination in the EPP, the election has brought even more outspoken liberals to parliament. They are also given priority in the distribution of seats in the EPP and the positions in the European Parliament to which EPP members are nominated. As for the Party of European Socialists, it has few, if any, conservative representatives in the parliament.

The conclusion is that the European parliament will strengthen the focus on gender ideology and the rights of sexual minorities. The rich historical traditions of European nations will be “adjusted” even more vigorously for political considerations.

Such a vital issue as the creation of a European Union army is not even on the agenda. There are several reasons for this: Europe has no money, the United States doesn’t need an army that could rival NATO, and the ruling European elite is focused too much on soft power, human rights and broader powers for NGOs. But the main obstacle to the creation of an EU army is the lack of European patriotism. Never since the signing of the 1957 Rome treaties, which ultimately led to the establishment of the European Union, have European politicians used the idea of patriotism to protect a neighboring nation, which implies sending their young people into war and risking their lives.

Moreover, Europe is in financial trouble. The euro zone’s existential crisis, which began in Greece in 2009, put the breaks on the ECB bond-buying plan, which allowed the European Central Bank to buy the troubled EU countries’ government bonds. The ECB is the last hope for the most heavily indebted countries, because buying their bonds implies taking on their debts. But this would spread the debt repayment responsibility to all euro zone countries.

However, the situation in the EU is not all that bad. The EU still has the ability to fulfill its main mission, which is to maintain peace among EU countries. It is still sufficiently strong economically to ensure high economic standards in the member countries, which attracts new members and aspiring countries.

But who in the EU would dare to address the global problems that have led to bloodshed?

*Jan Carnogursky is Former Deputy Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia and former Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic.

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