Sixty years after the beginnings of the European idea, the EU is in trouble. Debt and currency crises have eroded confidence into the European project while member states remain hesitant to transfer power to Brussels. Yet historically, crisis has always resulted in further integration.
The EU will have to take measures with respect to the new Polish government if it does not want to jeopardise the credibility of the European values. To send a clear signal to the new Polish government, it has to be willing to exploit the entire range of options under the rule-of-law mechanism and the procedure in accordance with Article 7 as well as to limit EU payments to Poland.
The new law about the Polish Constitutional Tribunal, the lawsuits of the Hungarian and Slovak government about the relocation of refugees, the potential Brexit and Fixit, the ongoing Greek crisis and the presidential election in spring 2017 – it is obvious: the upcoming 18 months will determine whether the European Union we have known will survive.
The EU has not been created complex for complexity’s sake. But the painful truth of the European Union is that it might be exactly the complexity of its institutional structure that allows it to work.
The Syrian tragedy has exposed the shortcomings of the EU’s asylum policy. The newly agreed-upon rules will not help to cure the system’s birth defects. What the EU needs is real burden-sharing – or at least more competencies for the Commission.
While Americans have always rallied around their country in times of crisis, Europeans have abandoned the dream of a united Europe.