Weak and divided. Columnist for Die Zeit questioned the future of a United Europe

Weak and divided. Columnist for Die Zeit questioned the future of a United Europe© AP Photo/ Petros Karadjias

Claims of the European Union for leadership in the modern world is unreasonable: the EU suffers from many structural problems, and the actions of the members of the Union the international arena is not always consistent, says the columnist for Die Zeit, the Luder Gerken.

Europe is experiencing not the best times. Over the last couple of years the EU has failed to make significant progress in any of the priority directions of development. Projects in the field of foreign and security policy, and economic initiatives, constantly thwarted by the opposition of the local authorities, says Gerken.

Another serious problem is that «many people are skeptical about the process of European integration.» This trend, according to the author, most clearly reflected in the decision of Britain to withdraw from the EU.

The columnist believes that the EU should strive for «a new balance» between participating countries, and first of all it concerns monetary and financial policies. Thus, existing measures of banking regulation and distortions committed in the course of building a monetary Union, created hostility between southern European countries and their more successful Northern neighbors.

Gerken believes that the new US administration is unlikely to be a reliable partner for the EU. The negative attitude of Donald trump to the process of liberalization of trade relations and the possible withdrawal of the United States from negotiations on the Transatlantic trade and investment partnership would be a major blow for Europe, he said.

The termination of cooperation between Brussels and Washington in the field of environmental protection is also a concern for the author. But the most serious threat to the EU columnist calls the weakening of ties with the US through alliances. «Even in the face of all criticisms of Donald trump in NATO, Alliance members are unable to agree regarding the increase in defense spending,» writes Gerken. First and foremost, this applies to the large European countries — Germany, Italy and Spain.

«It’s hard to stay optimistic when there are so many problems. But in this critical situation we can see a chance for the EU» — summarizes the author. However, he hopes that European leaders will soon realize that the European Union could be saved only by full cooperation and the rejection of «national egoism».