#Europe

The Road to Brexit 2017

After months of push-pull, Theresa May finally announced that the Brexit procedure will officially start by the end of March 2017. But it is too early for the hard-core Euroskeptics to start their celebration: with a population less and less favorable to abandon the EU, a conflictual Cabinet, and a PM whose positions are still to be clarified, the UK stance on Brexit is far from being done and dusted.

Theresa May has announced that she will trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017. If she sticks to her plans, the U.K will leave Europe in spring 2019. But the road toward Brexit is bumpy, to say the least.

The regrets of the Leavers.
First of all, leaving the EU might not reflect anymore what the British want. A recent survey conducted by the British Election Study reveals that 6% of the Leavers would change their vote, if asked again today, against only 1% of the Remainers, enough to overturn the results of the Referendum. Be it because, eventually, many of the promises made by Nigel Farage and his followers turned out to be unrealistic, not to call them lies, like the copious (and non-existent) amount of funds to be committed to the National Health System. Be it because the United States reiterated that there wouldn’t be any bilateral agreements, nor discussion, until the British Government sorts out his role with the EU. Or be it because the pounds is plummeting and it is expected to reach parity with the Euro within 2017, British people seem to second guess their desire of leaving the Union.

 

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Europe Facing Turkey: ideals versus realpolitik.

Recep-tayyip-erdogan.jpgDoes Europe need Turkey more than Turkey needs Europe?

Since the aftermath of the failed coup of July 15 Recep Erdogan has been purging the military and the civil society alike, in his quest to “cleanse the country from viruses”.

And Europe is struggling to find its position toward Turkey shift toward an authoritarianism regime.

Cleaning the viruses.

The viruses Erdogan refers to are the supporters of Fethullah Gülen. Gülen, a former imam, and politologist, used to be one of Erdogan’s closest aides until their alliance fell apart in 2013 over the corruption charges brought against the President

Since then, Gülen has been living in the U.S in a self-imposed exile, but the movement named after his remains very active in Turkey. They own media, run schools, professional associations, and business activities. They represent the strongest opposition to Erdogan and his party.

Already in 2014 and 2015 Erdogan had tried to silence the movement, by arresting more than 20 journalists linked to Gülen. But he had to eventually back down after both the US and the EU cautioned him not to overstep the boundaries of democracy. Now, the failed coup has given him the perfect chance to complete the unfinished business of 2015.

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The conversation about integration that Europe is refusing to have.

November_2015_Paris_attacks_-_French_Embassy_in_Warsaw_-_2015-11-14_-_2.jpgIn the aftermath of the July attacks in France and Germany, Europe is still refusing to rediscuss its integration model. And by doing so, it exposes its citizens to even more risks.

 

July has left France and Germany appalled in front of an expected surge of violence. Nice, Rouen, Ansbach, and Wuerzburg have re-sparkled the debate over immigration. All the attacks, claimed by the Islamic State (IS), seemed to indicate that the war is on Europe’s doorsteps, if not yet inside its border.

But the situation is more complex than that. Blaming immigration for the events of July is an oversimplification that does not take into account the social context in which these immigrants have plotted and executed their actions.

It ignores the background stories behind those unspeakable acts. Stories of unemployment or under-employment, of barely treated psychological problems, and of social exclusion.

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Brexit: a bad idea turned reality

United_Kingdom_EU_referendum_2016_area_results_2-tone.svgWith little more than 50% of the votes, the Leave party has succeeded in what could be Britain’s biggest mistake in its recent history.

 

It was too close to call for hours, but eventually, the polling stations returned their result and David Cameron, whose leadership is now shakier than ever, will have to start the procedure to invoke Article 50. While Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, the most vocal supporters of the leave faction are celebrating by calling the 23 of June the “new Independence Day” and urging the Prime Minister’s resignation without further ado, dark clouds are hanging over Britain’s future.

The pound is plummeting.

Immediately after the results were made officially available, the pound started to plummet, as expected, reaching its lowest point in more than 30 years and dragging with it a number of other stock markets, European and not. No one knows if and when it will start gaining again, but it’s unlikely it will be in the short term.

The economy will suffer for a long time.

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The crisis on Europe’s border

Boat_People_at_Sicily_in_the_Mediterranean_Sea.jpgIn 1989, Europe celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today, less than 30 years after, new fences are built along the European borders. Has Schengen failed?

The Schengen Agreement was first signed in 1985, as The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, France, and West Germany agreed to progressively remove their border controls. Within a few years, in 1990, it was integrated into the Schengen Convention, which establishes a common visa policy among all the participating states, and was further enhanced by its inclusion into the body of Law of the European Union. This decision, taken in the context of the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997, has important repercussions now: making the Schengen’s provision part of the European aquis implies that a suspension of the Agreement cannot take place based on the unilateral decision of one or more adhering States, but has to be approved by the EU itself.

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