Cold war between Visegrad and Brussels
Brussels is angry with Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia for allegedly lacking solidarity and “EU values.” But the European Commission’s plan to use financial pressure to rein in the four politically conservative Central European members is nearly certain to backfire.
New narratives emerging on EU finances
The European Union’s inflexible budget process – constrained by seven-year Multiannual Financial Frameworks (MFFs) – has left the bloc almost incapable of handling major crises. The resort to ad hoc solutions over the past decade has only made the situation worse. Now, reformers are considering new revenue sources, and even more revolutionary steps such as EU taxes or a separate eurozone budget.
Opinion: Europe’s misguided tax crusade
While the United States cuts taxes to spur growth, the European Union is blacklisting countries regarded as threats its fiscal system. The contrast speaks volumes about the economic priorities on both sides, and does not bode well for the long-term viability of Europe’s welfare states.
2018 Global Outlook: Another challenging year for Europe
The European Union is facing internal and external challenges that will continue to test its leadership in 2018. Politicians will struggle to agree on a reform agenda for the union against a background of tepid economic growth, Brexit, the migrant drama, geopolitical realignments, a rethinking of the international role of the United States, technology-driven economic dislocations, secessionist movements, and many other problems. Europe’s outlook is not entirely gloomy, however.
Opinion: EU-60 summit evades disaster and reform
The European Union avoided embarrassment at its 60th anniversary reunion thanks to British Prime Minister Theresa May, who tactfully stayed away before signing her divorce papers. But with the bloc facing tough choices about its future course, its leaders merely raised their champagne glasses. The EU fiddled at the Rome summit while its citizens did a slow burn.
Roads out of Rome
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker came up with an uninspiring set of scenarios in his latest White Paper. But the debate it kicks off, to be continued at the Rome Summit on March 25, could present a real chance to reorganize the European Union and make it more competitive.
‘Multi-speed’ Europe, a misleading term
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has prepared a white paper that sets out five scenarios for the future of the EU. While we can cheer this open-minded approach and the idea that there are alternatives to the “ever-closer Union,” the EU establishment seems to be building support for the “multi-speed Europe” option. With such a solution, countries that do not want to be left behind would effectively be forced to toe Brussels’ line, especially when it comes to burdensome regulations.
Scenarios for Europe
Europe’s basic problem is a lack of leadership. In 2017 it is unlikely to solve the root problems at the heart of its malaise: excessive regulation, a lack of competition and innovation, weakening internal cohesion and an inability to address crises efficiently. A new generation of politicians may emerge that pushes for more market-driven solutions, but it will take several more years for them to be able to implement their vision, if at all.
The European Union’s stillborn army
The plan for a European Union army appears to be an idea doomed to fail. Its failure, however, could pave the way for closer European defense cooperation centered on Germany. More likely, the push for an integrated European army will lead, somewhat paradoxically, to a renationalization of defense. Any such effort will have to rely heavily on NATO, and therefore on the alliance's strongest European military, Great Britain.