EU in crisis

  11 Debates

With borders being sealed in reaction to the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees, high unemployment, huge debts and far-right parties on the rise, Europe's integration is grinding to a halt. Difficult elections in several member states are also taking a toll. Is this major peace project doomed to fail?

No European head of state has called for a reform of the European Union as radical as the one French President Emmanuel Macron proposes. He envisions a common budget for the 19 Eurozone countries, increased harmonisation of fiscal policy and a joint EU asylum authority. What some commentators see as courageous and even risky doesn't go far enough for others.

France's President Macron annoyed several participants at the EU summit with his comment that Europe was not a supermarket but a common destiny. His words targeted the lack of willingness on the part of some states to share the burden of relocating refugees. A meeting between Macron and representatives of the Visegrád group then ended without results. A salutary confrontation or the beginning of new divisions?

"As a solution, not a problem": this is how the EU is now perceived again according to European Council President Donald Tusk. The participants at the EU's summer summit in Brussels showed unity and resolved to tighten cooperation on counter-terrorism and defence. Commentators are sceptical about how much substance underlies the announcements.

France's new president Emmanuel Macron is pushing for EU reform aimed at bringing Europe closer to its citizens and bolstering the Eurozone through euro bonds and the appointment of a European economy minister. Many commentators express their confidence in Macron's chances of succeeding but others are more sceptical and are already picking up on resistance from Berlin.

Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel are setting the EU on course for reforms and deeper integration of the Eurozone. However countries in Central and Eastern Europe are critical of the plans, fearing that a core Europe will leave them behind. How should the region position itself? Is conversion to the euro the only way to avoid being left on the periphery?

The European Commission has presented plans for reorganising the Eurozone that include replacing the emergency mechanisms created during the financial crisis with reforms. To avoid contention Brussels has dropped plans for a euro finance minister endowed with his own budget for the time being and is proposing European bonds whose exact function is yet to be determined. Has the Commission got its priorities right?

Where does the European Union stand today? Does it need to change? Could it even be that it has had its day? On the occasion of Europe Day on 9 May commentators examine Europe's past. They ask where their countries would be today without the EU and look at reasons to celebrate.

Having presented five possible scenarios for the future of the EU, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is seeking to fuel a debate about how the Union can overcome its crisis. Europe's commentators are discussing his "White Paper" in detail. Some, however, are sceptical and fear that his initiative could backfire.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker plans to present his ideas for the future of Europe today in preparation for the EU summit at the end of March. Last week he endorsed German Chancellor Angela Merkel's proposal for a multi-speed Europe. Commentators take a critical view of the idea.

In his State of the Union address, EU Commission President Juncker complained about lacking solidarity among the member states. The EU is in an "existential crisis" after the Brexit vote, Juncker said to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday. Some commentators also pin the blame for the state of the EU on the individual states. Others accuse Juncker of shifting responsibility to others.