EU: Expert warns in 2019 the bloc will be ‘gone’ one day
The EU is facing a battle to preserve its very existence as some fear Brexit could spark a surge in euroscepticism. German philosopher and historian Ulrike Guerot, who has previously worked with former EU Commission President, Jacques Delors, believes the bloc is in crisis. Professor Guerot, who published a ‘Manifesto for a European Republic’, has warned that Brussels’ current failings are not being addressed. She argued that one day the EU’s lack of action will mean “we will wake up one day and Europe will be gone”.
Prof Guerot said: “There are quotes by Thomas Mann from 1913, before World War 1.
“He said ‘If nothing changes, Europe will end up in a negative spiral of nationalism’.
“On the surface everything seems fine. We can travel, the borders are still open, we still have the euro, everything is ok.
“But the trust has gone. Not just among EU citizens, but also among governments. The system is still in place, but below the surface things are brewing.
“Sometimes you only realise something once it’s too late, and that’s what’s going to happen to Europe.
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“One day we will be discussing Europe, and the next day we will wake up and Europe will be gone.”
Prof Guerot ‒ who was speaking in a documentary aired by VPRO in 2019 ‒ has previously hit out at Brussels “elites” for “shrugging their shoulders” as an increasing number of countries host growing anti-EU campaigns.
Eurosceptic figures in Britain, such as Nigel Farage, campaigned for decades to get the UK out of the bloc, and other European countries have similar figures.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron will once again face off against Marine Le Pen in the 2022 election.
Ms Le Pen has described the Lisbon Treaty, which forms the constitutional basis of the EU, as the “gravedigger of the independence and identity of European nations” and the “executioner of public utilities in the name of a cult of profitability and free competition – both mortal enemies of public interest”.
She has also previously called for France to have a referendum on its EU membership, but abandoned hopes for Frexit after her 2017 defeat.
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders has been a prominent advocate for ‘Nexit’ – he said the day after the UK voted to leave the EU that the bloc was “more or less dead”.
In Italy, prominent politician Matteo Salvini also led a eurosceptic movement, having branded the euro a “crime against humanity”.
In July, the Italexit Party was launched by Gianluigi Paragone, who promised to free Italy “from the cage of the European Union and the single currency”.
Another country where eurosceptic rhetoric is becoming increasingly prominent is Poland.
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President, Andrzej Duda, has used harsh terms to describe the EU, branding it an “imaginary community of little consequence for us”, while Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki recently warned that the bloc risks becoming an “oligarchy”.
For now, euroscepticism in the EU remains relatively low despite the UK’s departure.
A Euronews poll found that 45 percent of respondents were in favour of Italy leaving the EU if Brexit is successful.
France was next at 38 percent, followed by Spain at 37 percent and Germany at 30 percent.
Meanwhile, polling in Poland has support for EU membership as high as 80 percent in some instances, indicating that for now there is little appetite to leave the bloc.
As Brexit proves however, the EU will need to heed the warnings of Prof Guerot if it is to discourage further departures.
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