Lots of bad news continues for the EU this year. Let’s polish the ball of the future.
Some might agree that the EU was only necessary in order to cement a post-World War 2 reconciliation of Germany and France. So perhaps the post-WW2 thing has kinds run its course.
Maybe it’s still useful for mutual economic security, or security generally. That’s why the Baltic states and Poland joined. The Balkan states would love to as well. Greece has long favoured Turkey joining. Few other supra-nationorganisal groups have a major waiting list right now.
The EU is certainly the most advanced effort in the world to introduce a measure of democratic supervision into pan-regional governance. Unlike the UN or WTO, the EU has a directly elected parliament. Often decisions are made by majority, not unanimity. Non-democratic organisations like the WTO and UN can do much less, and do it more slowly and behind closed doors, than is the case with the EU.
The EU is a strong model for democratic rule at a supra-national level.
But it has vulnerabilities that have been exposed by the Euro crisis and Brexit. I’m just going to sketch a couple.
The whole EU edifice rests on law. The EU has no police force to enforce its will. The exit of a country from the Euro would be a breach of their Treaty obligations – and they have the force of law. The Euro was established on the basis that it was irreversible. One country exiting the Euro would lead to constant speculation in the markets as to who would be next. As speculation increased, so too would the size of the funds or guarantees needed to check it. That in turn would lead to heightened risks that some of the creditor countries faced massive internal pressure when putting up these funds and guarantees, and could then decide the cost and risks of staying in the Euro as no longer worth it, and re-establish their own currencies.
That would be the end of the Euro.