Why I believe the EU is on the brink of breaking apart, writes GIDEON RACHMAN
There is a comforting cliche in Brussels that the EU needs crises in order to progress. But the cocktail of problems facing Europe — refugees, the euro and the danger that Britain might leave the EU — look far more likely to overwhelm the organisation than to strengthen it.
For the first time in decades, some of the fundamental achievements and tenets of the EU are under threat. These include the single currency, open borders, free movement of labour and the notion that membership is for ever.
Rather than rising to these challenges, the EU is creaking under the strain. Its 28 members are arguing bitterly, and seem incapable of framing effective responses to their common problems.
The EU is creaking under the strain as its 28 member states argue bitterly about how to deal with the crisis
At an emergency summit held in Brussels last week, one of the bloc’s most senior officials, European Council president Donald Tusk, called for the EU to ‘correct our policy of open doors and windows’, warning of ‘millions of potential refugees trying to reach Europe, not thousands’ and that the ‘greatest tide of refugees and migrants is yet to come’.
‘We have reached a critical point where we need to end the cycle of mutual recriminations and misunderstandings,’ he said — even as Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban rejected Germany’s ‘moral imperialism’ in pushing for migrant quotas, insisting that his country had a ‘democratic right’ to a different approach.