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Goldsmiths' Official Student Magazine

The European Union: A decline of a myth?

December 4, 2017
Did the 2016 Brexit vote open a pandora's box for the eager eyes of Eurosceptics? Senior Politics editor Giulia Radice discusses.

The European Union is now more than ever a delicate topic to talk about. In 2016 The United Kingdom came out in favour of leaving the EU, opening a pandora’s box for the other continent’s Eurosceptic parties. As a consequence, during the 2017 French and Dutch general elections, ‘Le Front National’ leader Marine Le Pen and the head of ‘PVV’ Geert Wilders made the demand of an in-out referendum as one the main pillar of their political campaign.

Eurosceptic parties are spread all over Europe and they are very different one from the other. Not all of them demand to leave the European Union and not all them represent the far right of a country, however they do ask for some reforms.

In Italy the ‘Five Star Movement’ doesn’t want a referendum to leave the EU, instead it asks for a reevaluation of the Eurozone. It gives its support to progressive social policies such as same-sex marriage and direct democracy, but it also demands severe restrictions in terms of immigration and new European financial structure.

The European Union is an economic and political union, officially founded in 1993 as a direct consequence of the difficult geopolitical situation after the Cold War, however it was straight after the World War II that a European co-operation seemed to be the only solution to the extreme nationalism that devastated the continent.

Theoretically the key elements on which the Union is based are freedom, democracy and diversity. But they don’t always correspond to the economic interests of the union. First of all, each country has its own jurisdiction and economic apparatus and each of them argue different policies on issues like immigration, terrorism, monetary union, free market and environment.

The current central government doesn’t always distinguish the national interests and the European interests. When it comes to deal with a moment of instability, most of the time it launches provisional norms such as financial subsidies (which have to be given back), that don’t always solve the issue from its roots.

Most of the national government, especially the southern Europe ones, can’t afford economically to leave the EU, but they are obliged to defend their national interests. In 1991, various heads of government decided to create a monetary union, but they didn’t do much in order to build a real economic union. The article 3 of the Treaty of Lisbon, promotes an economic, social and territorial cohesion among the states, however not all them own the right instruments to really do so, especially after the 2008 financial crisis.

The future of Europe can’t just rely on an ideal solidarity with richer countries capable to face the crisis and drag the poorer countries. It can’t even rely too much on the austerity policy, that will lead the weaker countries to a point of no return.

It necessary to renovate the initial pacts among European governments. These pacts must consider each country’s economic interest, from Germany to Italy, from Finland to Greece. Establishing on a same-level basis, new principles for a true economic long-term solidarity.

Words by Senior Politics Editor, Giulia Radice @giuliaradice

Pic: Flickr (European Union)