After decades of Left leaning governments in the old continent, Europe is taking a turn to the right. Italy, Hungary, and Sweden have recently elected new governments, all of which are conservative, or right-wing. Judging by their platforms, they will focus more on the nation states, and less on the European Union. Is a wave of isolation and separatism on the way in Europe?
European countries seem to be experiencing a reactionary wave against the leftist, liberal, pan-European policy that Germany and France have dictated for the past three decades. The influx of migrants, many of whom are Muslims who have no intention to adopt European culture or faith, the escalating economic crisis that is hurting Europeans and undermining their financial security, and the member states’ loss of independence on many aspects, have driven Europeans to rethink their participation in the EU. Their realistic observation is forcing them to take reactionary measures and reclaim some of the independence they had given up in favor of empowering the Union, which some of them regret now, at least partially.
The slogans of European unity and declarations that Europe will be a single, powerful superpower, have clearly not been realized, and small countries, which have been hit the most by the loss of sovereignty, are sobering up from the dream. I always prefer realism to naivety, so I believe that Europe’s new direction is healthier and better for everyone, especially for Europe.
I do not see more countries performing their own Brexits from the European Union at the moment, but enhancing the independence of the nation states within the Union will help them remain within it while also tending to their home affairs. Unity is wonderful, and I am all for it, but when it is executed under duress, it creates hatred and oppression, and eventually explodes. When it cannot be done based on genuine concern for the welfare of all concerned, it is better to remain distant and respectful.
If Europe wants to create a continent-wide nation, it must first establish solidarity among all the member states destined to participate in the Union. Only once a sense of solidarity and cohesion has been established among the people can a political union succeed. Had European leaders chosen this path and went by this order, the transition from nation states to a “United States of Europe” would have been natural and smooth. Because the Union was primarily fiscal and hindered countries’ sovereignty and independence, without first creating mutual responsibility among the nations, it established itself on a wobbly basis that could not last. This is why we are witnessing a reactionary wave today.
Perhaps now that countries are reclaiming their independence, and considering the mutual dependence that still exists among the EU countries, they will be able to gradually develop stronger and healthier ties. However, if they wish to move even closer, they will have to foster a common European identity that all the member nations sympathize with and value more than their own national identities. For this to happen, there is still a ways to go.