One might expect the Nordic countries, with their strong democracies and economies, to be full-throated backers of the European project. But the differences between them have led to strained relations that are undermining their relationships with Brussels. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the migrant crisis, where Sweden’s approach has unsettled its neighbors and focused attention on security issues. The result could be another headache for the European Union, this time in the north.
Western leadership leaves much to be desired
Huge economic imbalances are weighing on Western economies, while global power shifts threaten the world order. But those are not the problems that leaders in Europe and many politicians in the U.S. have chosen to focus on. Instead, they continue deficit spending to pay for handouts to their supporters and marginalize outsiders who think outside the box. This lack of visionary leadership is a major source of weakness.
Is Brexit inevitable?
Signs are accumulating that the preliminary divorce agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union is starting to unravel, and that a year from now, on March 29/30, 2019, we could witness a “hard Brexit” with no transition arrangements and chaos in areas hitherto regulated by the EU. The damage to both sides’ economies would be substantial, and time for softening the blow is running out.
Socialism is worse than Brexit
Brexit may cause a lot of turmoil if the divorce process is mismanaged by London and Brussels, but economic dislocation in the UK and continental Europe will be much worse if free-market policies are abandoned on both sides of the English Channel. This is truly the worst scenario.
Theresa May’s guardedly optimistic Brexit scenario
Under London’s current proposal, the United Kingdom could quit the European Union at midnight on March 30, 2019 largely unscathed, leaving behind a smaller, but cooperatively disposed community on the continent and the outstanding, complex divorce issues for settling later on. But then, there is the “cliff edge” scenario with not such a happy ending.
GIS Dossier: Return of the Daddy State
The aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2008 financial crisis have led to calls for a dramatic increase in the powers of government. Even the ubiquity of internet-based technologies and the populist backlash against political establishments have had the paradoxical effect of promoting centralization. Yet in both politics and economics, there is plenty of evidence that state paternalism is the wrong answer.
Protectionism undermines European principles
Emmanuel Macron came to office promising to liberalize the French economy and reduce the role of the state. But his government is already turning protectionist, threatening to “temporarily nationalize” a shipyard. The move undermines European and liberal principles.