There are two parts to the European project, the Euro and Shengen, we are not part of either but it is having an effect on Britain.
Is the European model dead or can it be saved?
We are living through one of the most unstable periods of contemporary history, or at least since the Second World War. There are so many issues all around the world. Europe is paralysed by multiple crises, the Middle East is in full-blown war, with no hope of a political solution. In China, the economy is slowing down, and nobody really knows how it will evolve. And the famous BRICS [BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.] are not emerging.
The world has been plunged into great uncertainty, into a crisis unlike anything we have seen before. What is very striking is the absence of political hope, like we had in the past, during the Cold War. It is an explosive situation. And there are no political leaders that are up to the task. The PM David Cameron is trying to renegotiate a deal with Europe that best suits Britain, but what is it and can it succeed?
We can no longer say that the enlargement was a big success. It is clear that countries like Romania and Bulgaria are not making progress and that the problems of modernising these states are unresolved. We can see that the countries of Central Europe share little of Europe's political vision. Opinions may differ over refugees, but the way the Czech, Slovakian and Hungarian leaders speak is so dripping with visceral xenophobia, with rejection of the “other”, with misunderstanding of the world and nationalist withdrawal, that I do not think this vision has a constructive role to play in building a political Europe, and how does Greece protect it‘s border with thousands of islands?
This morning [Friday 22-Jan-2016] Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, said the whole of European civilisation is under grave threat and the region must stick together in its own self-defence, warning that the departure of the UK would be a fatal blow. "It would be a tragedy," he said while talking to Lyse Doucet. Mr Valls warned that the European system is alarmingly fragile. "Europe could lose its historical footing and the project could die quickly. Things could fall apart within months," he told the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The best defence against pathogens is a strong immune system. And that is what Europe lacks today, in the form of political leaders who provide an inspiring and forward-looking vision to their people. With political disenchantment reaching levels not seen since the continent’s darkest times in the
1930s, the risk that Europe will succumb to the destructive forces of populism looms ever larger.
So while David Cameron tries to negotiate a new deal for Britain, can Europe save itself?