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The European Union in 2017: the basic contradictions and possible transformation
Material posted: Publication date: 20-04-2017
Based on the forecasts of analysts, the paper analyzes the state of the European Union as an organization in the short term. Provided that there can be different options. Question about implementation of any of them is probabilistic in nature. Most experts believe that the EU will not collapse, but in the world politics its geopolitical status in the new level will not rise. His condition remains largely uncertain. The role and dynamics of organizational evolution and major trends in global geopolitics. According to the author, along with the scope of radical nationalism within the EU in a difficult position put Brussels and the steps of Trinity USA-Russia-China to create a new balance of power. The weakening of democracy and transparency inside the organization in conjunction with the new global geopolitical trends cast doubt on the prospects of the EU. The article emphasizes that the evidence that the EU, while residing in a situation of uncertainty, will be released on a specific evolutionary line, yet.

Experts periodically conduct research on issues relating to the future of such a large organization like EU, has a powerful potential. Their predictions are always of interest. Currently in the political environment of the world there is a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, the more we face the problem of security on the other, has not yet formed a balance of power, which will be able to implement it. When considering the observed EU processes in this plane there is a number of moments that make you think. Analysis of the contradictions with which the organization could face in 2017, is of interest. At the same time attracts the attention of experts and its possible scenarios of transformation. We believe it is necessary to elaborate on this issue.

The growing interest in the EU: some of the reasons

With the advent 2017 published forecasts about the fate of the European Union (EU). This interest is not accidental. Its main reason is related to important changes in global politics. The unexpected results of presidential elections in the USA, strong geopolitical demarche of Russia, the rise of China to a new level, the achievements of developing countries (e.g. Turkey), have an impact on political dynamics in the world.

As a second reason experts point to the economic and financial crisis of 2008. This process is not damped. Countries such as Greece, Portugal and Spain, suffered from it most of all. In General, the question arose about keeping the single currency zone of the EU. The organization has still not recovered after the crisis.

Another reason is connected with the processes taking place within the EU. This includes issues of political, economic, ecological, cultural and ideological nature. In particular, firmly shook the EU event called "Brexit". Many experts fear that it will cause a "Domino effect". Still there is a strong influence of "Brexit" on Europe. In some countries even began to show political tendencies, like him. Experts have conducted studies and gave different predictions regarding this issue. Below we will focus on them more.

Finally, a serious factor for the EU has become the problem of migration. The rapid growth of the flow of refugees from the Middle East has put the organization in front of complex social, political, legal and humanitarian choice. It turned out that the "Old world" is not quite ready to tackle new challenges. The question is not only related to social security. However, in this area revealed a disloyal attitude towards migrants on the part of powerful States in Europe. The main question is that where talking about democracy and human rights, to defend them are unable. Now in the political circles of the developed countries of Europe talking about the economic security of people, protection of their rights, and about punitive measures, expulsion, strengthening the control. All this talk about the evils of democracy, political, economic and cultural systems in Europe.

And this points to the fact that the EU has entered a phase of systemic crisis. A number of experts stressed the growing instability in the neighboring countries of the organization of observed risks, explaining it as a flaw of the mechanisms of the activities within the organization, and the fact that they are part of the global risk (see, eg.: Nikolai Kaveshnikov. Four challenges for the EU / INF, 13 Feb 2017). Admittedly, these points are connected with a very relevant and delicate geopolitical factors.

Impact on global geopolitics in light of the trends weakening

Here in the first place, it should be noted the inability of the EU to flexibly and adequately respond to the changing world. In this aspect N. Kaveshnikov notes that "the world would like to see the Europeans not become more secure and economically developed and stable" (see: previous source). On the contrary, increase the risks associated with security, deepening the gap between the economically successful and unsuccessful countries, much more pronounced trends in the use of hard power and the war in addressing foreign policy issues.

This, of course, a very fundamental points, and the unwillingness of the EU is a serious question, as the EU is one of the most powerful economic, political, demographic and military points of view centers. The inability of the organization to respond to the observed major global processes in the world, no doubt, may be the cause of the crisis. Interestingly, the organization with advanced management system, were not ready for fundamental innovations. Apparently, here the role played by one feature of which I speak.

We mean the attraction of the West in recent years to double standards. Brussels and Washington expressed a preference in different regions of the world, not politics based on justice and the course of maintenance particular geopolitical interests. In one region of the aggressor is punished in another he was a patron. On Libya, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan was attacked, and defended Armenia. Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein was punished, Sarkisian, Kocharian defended. They even called the Democrats. Although the hands of the sarkissians and the kocharyans even more stained with blood.

It appears that the EU came face to face with the consequences of their mistaken policy for many years. It is interesting that in Brussels is not quite aware of this. And this makes uncertain the ability of the organization to get rid of the difficulties. This is only part of the processes within the organization. Experts note in this context, the value and other factors.

For example, R. mullerson, President of the Geneva International Law Institute, in an article on the fate of the EU, argues that the economic downturn has become one of the leading challenges for organizations. Economic differences between the Northern, southern and Eastern Europe affect the course of the process. Not very effective economic system of the countries of southern Europe, the lack of stability in their global competition are serious challenges (see: the Rhine, mullerson. The European Union: to be or not to be? / "Valdai", 17 February 2017). Difficulties in the governance of the Eurozone, the collection of debts, have their source mainly economic factors of a systemic nature.

Another problem is associated with a marked political-ideological environment caused by the migration crisis. Experts believe that the immigration crisis has intensified radical attitudes in some EU countries. This led to a flourish in the politics of populism, euroscepticism, distrust among the population towards the traditional political system (see: Nikolai Kaveshnikov. Four challenges for the EU / INF, 13 Feb 2017). In the end, the electorate turns away from the forces and parties that protect the existing system.

For example, 4 Dec 2016 presidential elections in Austria, the separation between the representative of the right-wing radicals, a eurosceptic, anti-Muslim politician front by Norbert Hofer and the elected President, Alexander van der Villena was very low.

The same picture can be observed in other EU countries, for example, in the Netherlands, France, Germany or Italy. In these States, can not be excluded surprises in the elections this year.

Experts believe that euroscepticism seriously is established in the EU. Doctor of historical Sciences V. J. Schweitzer notes that the term "euroscepticism" has taken a strong place in the political vocabulary of modern Europe (see: Vladimir Schweitzer, Anton Tarxien. The European Union: critics and apologists / "Modern Europe", №1 (67), 2016, p. 16-25). In fact, a political movement that expresses the term begins to play a more important role on the political scene of today's Europe. And it must have the appropriate political and ideological consequences.

Among them special place is wide spread in Europe of radical nationalism, isolationism and Islamophobia. These trends in General have a negative impact on the integration process in Europe, however, creates conditions for deepening and other contradictions.

From this we can draw the following two conclusions. First, the political system of Europe loses its stability. Second, there is an urgent need for greater transparency in the functioning of the EU. The recess of the first process with the need will lead to a political crisis in the organization. First of all, will deepen the systemic problems. In this regard, experts emphasize the following two factors. The first relates to the institutional crisis (see: the Rhine, mullerson. The European Union: to be or not to be? / "Valdai", 17 February 2017). The essence of this crisis lies in the fact that the people who believed the promises of the leaders of the six countries that laid in 1957, the EU, creating unprecedented in the history of the Union does not want the arrival of a new many-headed dragon (see: previous source). Significantly, the faith of Europeans in the prospects of integration. They increasingly focus on national interests. This situation automatically undermines the EU institutions.

The second factor has as its root a crisis of the Euro. Many members want to put an end to sacrificing their sovereignty. This is the rejection of the Euro. The British focused on this issue. Now this is also spoken in France, Austria, Holland. However, experts pay attention to another important aspect of the issue. It stems from the fact that States with different levels of economic development, traditions and way of life have a single currency. Peaceful peoples of the South do not want to have harsh Protestant spirit. Support for many European institutions of the repressive steps against Germany, Greece, has caused some displeasure. Among the most unhappy countries in Central and Eastern Europe. These heads of States excited by the process of transition from the socialist camp in the EU, sometimes meet in the European Parliament whistles. In 2009, faced with this Czech President Vaclav Klaus (see: previous source).

The crisis of liberal democracy: in the context of transparency and democracy

The above provisions justify the second conclusion is the need for more transparent activity of the EU, as in the period when the faith of the peoples undermined the transparency of the management bodies, Executive bodies of considerable importance. It is necessary that the public have a clear idea about the work of the supranational structures of the EU. The relevance of this issue in social, political aspects, security and defense have increased significantly. But while these areas have not reached the level that would have made the population. For example, the French have no precise position on how the EU institutions create the conditions for sovereignty. By using these factors right politician marine Le Pen warns that in case of any loosening France's sovereignty, the country will immediately withdraw from the organization.

The same politicians in Germany, Holland, Italy and Austria. In this context they bring to the fore mainly the need to provide citizens with information mainly on migration policy. But Brussels in this matter can not become more transparent. In particular, the German authorities do not want to act firmly with migrants at the request of the radical right. Such moments give new hues to the contradictions within the EU.

Thus, the possibility of losing the EU its political stability, serious difficulties in transparency do not give grounds to be optimistic about the future of the organization. Experts write about that will be dominated by centrifugal tendencies. The probability of such a scenario are considerable. In addition to them one can cite two other factors. It is a crisis of liberal democracy in the world and the change of poles of power (see: previous source).

The roots of the crisis of liberal democracy ideas date back to the contradictions of liberalism and democracy. Free markets and democracy do not only stimulate mutual development, but also intensify the competition among themselves, since the freedom of the market creates the conditions for irregularity development. This means the weakness of democracy. Economist, University Of Cambridge H. J. Chang wrote that "the free market and democracy are not natural partners" (see: previous source).

However, he was referring to the "uncontrolled market", and politicians like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, gave preference to this market. Modern neo-liberals are of the same opinion. Thus, economic inequality begets political inequality. In other words, democracy leads to equality, and the free market – uniform. In the end, these two factors, mutually balancing each other, prevent excessive development. All this has allowed to call the policy, not acceptable to the liberal elite in Europe, populism. But even Ralph Dahrendorf said that "populism is easy, democracy is difficult." In this sense, the fact that one is populism, the other can be a democracy.

The populists in turn call the liberals "stubborn members of the elite". They are accused of being distant from ordinary people. Emphasizes the lack of awareness of this mass, low cultural level. For example, it is so in America, Hillary Clinton described the electorate of Donald trump during the last election campaign. Experts say that the same feature is observed when the "Brexit".

Obviously, the crisis of liberal democracy in the West has gone too far. Particularly affected by this trend is the crisis of global power. About it in detail wrote Zbigniew Brzezinski (see: Zbigniew Brzezinski. How To Address Strategic Insecurity In A Turbulent Age / "The Huffington Post", January 3, 2017). It appears that the balance of power established after the Second world war, breached, new threats have emerged, resulting in a global crisis of authority. There is a new polarization in geopolitical influence.

One scenario: balance of power and the EU

In world politics has increased the influence of Russia and China. It's too low probability for the formation of a world order acceptable to the West. Given this, Brzezinski writes about the emergence of a serious need for cooperation USA-Russia-China (see: previous source).

But it is hardly possible, because there is a deepening polarization of world power, which was noted above. In the West, know that history can be alternative. Not everything can happen according to their standards.

In this context we should not forget that democracy arose and developed in the framework of a single multinational state. Its transformation into the system of international relations is a complex process. Experts note that the closest to this concept in the international arena, the term "balance of power" (see: Rhine, mullerson. The European Union: to be or not to be? / "Valdai", 17 February 2017). Therefore, to apply this concept, the EU must choose the path of federalization. Elite is committed to this, but the Europeans don't accept it. Thus, there arises a serious contradiction – the EU cannot find a balance between a model integration and democratization.

There are opinions that the world transformirovalsya in a new balance of power. And you can't see the place for the EU. Mainly talking about the United States, Russia and China. But such a situation does not mean that the statements of specific views on the collapse of the EU project. It is possible that European countries will find the strength and will develop a model of integration in accordance with the requirements of the XXI century.

Thus, in late 2016 – early 2017, the EU is characterized by the following three characteristics. First, it is a violation of the integrity of the EU. Centrifugal factors within the various States in the framework of the organization has reached a new level. As example, and "Brexit". At the same time, we are talking about the possibility of a "Frexit", etc. second, changing the long established relations between Europe and the USA the status quo. This aspect with the advent of D. trump even more topical. Third, the dramatic changes on the continent, the migration balance. It is expected that the socio-political consequences can be much heavier.

Against the background of these characteristics actualized the issue of security and the number of events in Europe in 2016. Paris terror, new year's violence in Cologne, the attack in nice in the summer, a terrorist attack in Berlin has shocked Europe. In response, EU officials planted the idea of creating a single European army. But in its implementation are not yet able to overcome the obstacles caused by numerous problems, noted by us above.

And in the light of global geopolitical dynamics "Russia should be considered as a neighbor of Europe," but this neighbor will never accept European values (see: Walter Russell Mead, "Washington and Brussels: Rethinking Relations with Moscow?", in Aldo Ferrari (ed.), Putin's Russia: Really Back? (Milan, Ledi Publishing for ISPI, 2016), p. 46). This means that together with China, Russia "is developing an alternative to the Western understanding of world governance" (see: Bobo Lo, Frontiers New and Old: Russia's Policy in Central Asia, IFRI Russia / NIS Centre, Russie. Nei. Visions No. .82, January 2015, p. 9).

All this is taken into account in the global strategy of the EU, adopted on 28 June 2016. It emphasizes that "peace and stability is not real," but "the EU will maintain its integrity" (see: Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe. A Global Strategy for the European Union's Foreign and Security Policy, June 2016, p. 33).


From the above analysis it is evident that at this stage, for the European Union a real scenario is to maintain integrity. Uncertainty in the fate of the EU contribute as an in-house political, economic and financial, crises management, and development at the global level alternative models of world order. Experts do not consider the scenario of rapid development. The main issue is finding ways to save the organization. Introduction "the Old world" in 2017 with such realities can open the way for serious changes in world politics in General.

The reason why a powerful organization that had great hopes, since its inception, has been in the same situation, as are geopolitical events taking place on a global scale, and various trends in the EU. In other words, the findings are not accidental. Here for many years, the major Western States build their domestic and foreign policies in accordance with double standards. It must be called after a certain time the negative effects. This is what we now observe. Important in this context, the following two conclusions.

First, the EU's increasing support of the society given to those who prefer a radical national political course. This process can politically divide Europe. So, the possible revolutionary processes after the British exit from the EU. Some European experts accuse these processes in the United States. This makes it important for the EU the second conclusion.

Second, the format of cooperation USA-Russia-China could put the EU in a difficult position in the scale of world politics. Brussels can take a back seat. If the United States will continue the policy of maintaining Europe's dependence on America, we will again observe the recent pressure on Germany and France. So, in the coming years in this direction can occur interesting events.

All this suggests that, despite all the options, the European Union has no specific development scenario even in the near future. Assumptions and evidence in the presence of uncertainty.

Kamal Adigozalov


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