Fault lines in the European Union - Part I
First of the three ‘continental unions’ formed in the year 1993 was the ‘European Union’ or the EU. As of today it is a grouping of 28 European nations. By and large this politico-economic union has so far succeeded in establishing a single market, single visa regime, common laws and policies and most importantly a single currency with a few exceptions. “Exceptions”? EU today owns the largest net wealth in the world then which are these exceptions that I am referring to and what are the reasons behind them?
In the year 2009, following the global financial crisis, Greece received first warning from EU to cut down on its spendings to fight an ever-growing mountain of debts. The resulting austerity measures that have been continually imposed by the EU under bullying from countries like Germany, Belgium and France have led to almost 40% Greeks to believe in ‘Grexit’ or exit of Greece from the EU.
It is feared that happening of Grexit might trigger exit of Portugal and Spain, derogatorily referred by few as PIGS nations, from the EU for the reasons similar to Greece. Italy too is feared to further join the bandwagon.
Like Grexit another term doing the rounds in EU has been ‘Brexit’ or exit of Britain or the UK from the EU. United Kingdom has already opted out of the EU's monetary union which means it maintains a separate currency and visa regime, also independent politico-strategic policies that differ from the EU. Global competitiveness of businesses and immigration concerns are the two most prominent factors that are driving an ever-increasing public support towards Brexit. Prime Minister of UK, David Cameron has planned to hold a nation-wide referendum on the issue of Brexit in the year 2016. Moreover another angle to Brexit is the recent warning by Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny suggesting Brexit could restart sectarian trouble in Northern Ireland which is part of the UK.
Ireland, also termed and included by few as one of the PIGS countries is believed to depend on UK for its stay in EU considering the economic relations between the two nations. Bertie Ahern the former prime minister of Ireland cautions Ireland of exiting the EU if Brexit happened.
A recent setback to the strengthening of the EU was suffered when Denmark rejected its continuance with the law enforcement agency of the EU - Europol. In the wake of Migrant Crisis, 53% of the Danes rejected EU rules on cross-border policing.
To be continued.....