Thursday 22 June 2017

We ignore the EU's lack of direction and leadership at our peril

European Union flags fly at half-mast outside the European Council building in Brussels. Photo: Bloomberg
European Union flags fly at half-mast outside the European Council building in Brussels. Photo: Bloomberg
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

You can't be a little bit pregnant, as the saying goes. The EU, however, could be described as being so. We're witnessing a period of gestation of unknown duration for a yet-to-be-determined species. This is one of the EU's big problems. There is no comparison between the Europe of today and the Europe of the first half of the 20th century. The EU has done much good, but we seem to be stumbling towards greater integration and greater disintegration simultaneously.

There is no agreement as to where the EU is headed. There is no vision. No individual, government or institution has the mandate to lead or bring any vision they may have to bear. There is no coherent vision regarding federalism/co-federalism, how to address the design flaws of the euro, fiscal integration, a banking union, Eurobonds, tax harmonisation, debt relief or youth unemployment.

For example, to my knowledge, no currency union that wasn't also a political/federal union has ever survived. Greater political integration might seem inevitable if we are to avoid continued economic and financial instability, but will EU citizens support ceding more political and fiscal powers to EU institutions? It seems that such hard decisions might never be made. That din you hear is the rattle of multiple cans being kicked down the road.

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