No EUropean solutions

It was the last EU summit before the start of the European election campaign. Five months before the vote in May 2019, the heads of state and government wanted to show that the EU works – and that it works for the citizens. But the proof is hard. At best, there are sham solutions.

“We must deliver what we promised,” demanded summit leader Tusk in his invitation. “We want to implement the reform agenda 100 percent,” said a senior EU diplomat.

But shortly before the meeting, which was intended to reassure citizens, uncertainty was spreading. Because wherever you look: Everywhere the hut is on fire, new crises are added every day:

  • British Prime Minister May had to face a vote of no confidence on Wednesday, from which she emerged weakened; the Brexit on 29 March 2019 threatens to end in chaos.
  • France’s head of state Macron is desperately seeking an answer to the revolt of the “yellow vests” – and could break the EU budget rules with his social promises.
  • And then there is the terror in Strasbourg, the government crisis in Belgium and the budget dispute with Italy. How can the EU still provide stability, many wonder?

“We have confidence in Europe,” the chief spokesman of Commission President Juncker reassured. “There are detailed proposals on the table for all the problems.”

Indeed, the Commission has delivered on the major topics of this summit – Brexit, Euro reform, asylum policy and the new EU budget. But the EU states are not playing along.

The UK is blocking the road to Brexit – there is no majority for the EU deal. The euro reform has been slowed down by the “Hanseatics” – there is almost nothing left of the big plans for a euro budget or a European Monetary Fund.

The Visegrad states, but also Italy, are blocking asylum policy. The “European solution” for a fair distribution of refugees promised by Chancellor Merkel since 2015 is no longer an issue.

And negotiations on the new EU framework budget 2021-2027 have not even begun yet. The promise to “deliver” before the European elections can no longer be kept…

You find this analysis too negative? Then read this – from The New York Times. Or the background to the unresolved EU crisis in my new e-book “Der verhinderte Neustart”  

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