January 29, 2020

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Understanding European Crisis

Tiberio Graziani, Chairman, Vision & Global Trends – International Institute for Global Analyses, gives an interview to Diplomat Magazine. In this interview Graziani gives his views on relations between the EU and its members, and the European political-economic future.

 gives an interview to the editor-in-chief of the Soviet newspaper Izvestia. In this interview, the President gives his views on relations between the Soviet Union and the USA, and the crises of the Cold War.

Many people have been talking about the EU crisis for a long time. George Soros wrote an article “Europe, please wake up” at the beginning of this year. In this article, he predicts that the EU could collapse, as the USSR did. Can we really state that Europe is in crisis? What, or who, could split the European Union?

Europe is in full and deep crisis, this is undoubtedly. However, I do not agree with the analogy made by Mr. Soros. In particular, because the USSR, unlike the EU, was a cohesive geopolitical entity centred on Russia, which constituted its pivot. The USSR was, for the most part, the heir to the tsarist empire. The collapse of the USSR was the collapse of a cohesive, unitary system of political, economic, and military power.

The case of the European Union is completely different. To understand its current crisis and hypothesize its possible collapse, as well as to identify what or who could cause this, I think we need to remember what the European Union is. The EU is an international political organization of several independent States, based on a common market and that presents, in an ambiguous and contrasting way, for some functions and sectors, the characteristics of federations of states and confederations. It is therefore a very particular and fragile supranational political-economic organization; it is not a geopolitical entity, it does not have a common foreign policy, it does not have a common energy and industrial policy, and it does not have its own army.

Since it is embedded in the so-called Western system, these latter factors of weakness expose it to the American hegemonic strategies in the economic, monetary, political and military fields. The current crisis of the European Union is the intertwining of other crises: that of the distant 2007, the enduring contradictions between the national needs of the single states, the crisis of the bureaucratic structure. In the current historical phase, Europe, as it holds a single currency and a quality manufacturing system, disturbs the American economic and monetary policies. Therefore, it is probably in the interest of the USA to weaken or to split Europe.

– The European Union was originally created by six European countries to solve economic problems. The current version of the EU is a purely bureaucratic one. And there are many more member states now. Has there really been a union with the newly integrated countries? Or did Western Europe simply swallow up Eastern Europe, without letting it into its structure?

As far as the economic and financial sphere is concerned, the enlargement of the European Union to the East has been performed too fast. The EU structure has not been able to handle this enlargement, observable on the fact that Germany itself still encounters many difficulties in the integration process of the former DDR. Thus, many Eastern European nations refer more to Washington than to Brussels.

– How noticeable is the difference in approaches and decisions of the Old World, and the Eastern European countries?

The difference between the historical block of the EU and the countries of Eastern Europe is considerable. The newcomers demand an EU aid, while not taking into account the economic and commercial interests that France, Germany and Italy have towards Russia.

– EU is very diverse. It was a combination of two so different systems, inhabited by too different nations. Is the EU primarily a political association?

The European Union is essentially a supranational political-economic association without a precise geopolitical identity, with a very powerful and self-referential bureaucracy.

– Speaking of foreign policy differences, between which countries in the EU does the line of conflict cross? What line is this?

In the global context, all the countries of the European Union conduct a foreign policy that is too unbalanced towards the United States, going against its own national interests. At domestic level, some parties foment their own electorate against France and Germany, this is the case of the extreme right-wing Lega and Fratelli d’Italia parties, who consider France and Germany responsible for their national crisis. I don’t think there is a single line of conflict as the issue is very complicated. For example, the interests of Italian and European companies would advise greater attention to Iran, Russia and China, however this is not heard by the ruling class.

– Why is there a rise of Euro-sceptic and Euro-protest sentiments in Europe?

The growth of sceptical and anti-European sentiments is due to the bad management of the European Union and the national self-interest of some states. European citizens were expecting a lot from the Union in terms of well-being and security, however, their requests were unheard. Moreover, the hyper-liberal turn and the austerity imposed on the countries that suffered the most from the economic crisis have increased the distrust of European citizens towards Brussels. On these elements, the so-called sovereign parties have achieved their success.

– Can a UK exit affect EU unity?

The UK’s exit may set an example for some countries. But I don’t believe that other continental European countries follow it. Great Britain can afford it because it has its own currency, still strong despite everything. In addition, it is an integral and leading part of another international political and economic body: the Commonwealth Realm.

– How do you see the future of the EU?

I see it very uncertain. However, I do not think of its dissolution. Certainly, it will continue in its weakening, unless new events intervene in its favour. I think that the European Union should strengthen its currency and impose its use in the exchanges with non-European countries. 

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