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Next Europe: How The EU Can Survive In A World Of Tectonic Shifts

Next Europe: How The EU Can Survive In A World Of Tectonic Shifts

Автором Joop Hazenberg

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Next Europe: How The EU Can Survive In A World Of Tectonic Shifts

Автором Joop Hazenberg

Длина:
218 pages
3 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Aug 28, 2014
ISBN:
9781311772084
Формат:
Книге

Описание

The EU is in deep trouble. As the eurozone crisis keeps raging on, the European dream lies shattered on the ground. Euroscepticism and nationalism are on the rise, tens of millions are unemployed, Great Britain is heading for the exit door, while Russia flexes its muscles and the Middle East burns.

Is there any hopeful future for the European Union? Are we going to lose the race with the BRICS? Will Europeans ever truly engage with the EU institutes in Brussels?

Next Europe gives some compelling answers to the big questions of our time. ‘EU Watcher’ Joop Hazenberg, a young Dutch writer who has been based in Brussels since early 2013, takes the reader on a venture across the globe to gain insight into the position of Europe in the 21st century.

His findings are surprising. The old continent is stronger and richer than we are inclined to think. Though the EU is in a mess, so is the rest of the world. Many of the rising giants will stumble and may even fall before they can do Europe harm. But it is also true that we are no longer the coolest dudes on the planet and that new (and old) dangers threaten our security and well-being.

Based on extensive research and interviews with leading experts, Next Europe soothes the unease that looms over our future. Joop Hazenberg also formulates a bold and strong agenda for reform of the EU. If we want to survive the coming age of uncertainty and tectonic shifts, then the European Union needs a restart. Not only in Brussels, but also in the capillaries of our society.

By acting now, Europe could become, once again, a leading continent. Next Europe is the starting point for a better understanding of our world, whether you are a student, Commission bureaucrat, a voter for UKIP or a Chinese businessman.

“A spirited and courageous work” - Jonathan Holslag, Professor of International Politics at the Free University in Brussels

“Joop Hazenberg is a young thinker with the wisdom to realise that Europe has taken a wrong turn and the courage to want to change things” - Philippe Legrain, author of European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess and How to Put Them Right

Издатель:
Издано:
Aug 28, 2014
ISBN:
9781311772084
Формат:
Книге

Об авторе

Joop Hazenberg (1978) is a Dutch author and researcher currently based in Brussels as an ‘EU Watcher’. He has written extensively about European integration, as well as globalisation, intergenerational conflicts and societal challenges. He has published three books Change, Dappere Nieuwe Wereld and De Machteloze Staat in Dutch. Next Europe is his first in English. As founder of Prospect (a think-tank for millennials), established author and commentator, Joop Hazenberg is known as one of the forerunners of his generation. Active involvement with society has been a common thread through his previous roles: private secretary to the liberal faction Leader in the Dutch Parliament, EU policy officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and political editor at the daily De Pers. As well as writing he works as a freelance correspondent on EU policies, speaks at events and moderates conferences.

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Next Europe - Joop Hazenberg

Joop Hazenberg

Next Europe

How the EU can survive in a world of tectonic shifts

Smashwords edition.

Copyright 2014 Joop Hazenberg

Contents

Preface

PART I: CURRENT EUROPE

1. A continent mired in crisis and morose

2. We’ve come a long way, baby

3. Why Europe is so strong – seven reasons

4. Why Europe is in deep trouble – six reasons

PART II: THE RISE OF THE NEW WORLD

5. Reshaping the world: forget multipolar, think chaos

6. Are we going to lose the race with the BRICS?

7. China: a willy-nilly world leader

8. India: A giant economic mediocrity

9. Brazil: the like-minded pivot state

10. Russia: the anxious bear

11. The other three billion people

12. Tectonic shifts in the world of 2030

PART III: HOW EUROPE CAN THRIVE IN THE 21st CENTURY

13. Standing idle is not an option

14. The Next Europe needs a new Treaty

15. What you can do

Epilogue

Acknowledgements

Sources

First edition (e-book) September, 2014

© 2014 Joop Hazenberg

E-book production: Fosfor Self-publishing

Cover design: Zinnebeeld

ISBN 9789462251236

Contact details Joop Hazenberg:

EU Watcher: www.euwatcher.eu

e-mail: contact@euwatcher.eu

I dedicate this book to Pim de Kuijer, diplomatic activist, shot down above Ukraine on 17th July, 2014. Jumpa lagi!

Preface

June 2014: A light drizzle falls from the grey skies over Brussels. Police officers in front of the office are preparing the road for the arrival of President Barack Obama, as tomorrow the G7 summit will be held here. Russia’s membership has been suspended after President Vladimir Putin invaded the Crimea in March.

In other news today: youth unemployment has dropped in Ireland, from 28% to 24% in just one year. Tourism spending by Chinese travellers rose by one quarter in 2013 - they are now the biggest customer in the global tourism sector. The British Prime Minister David Cameron threatens to leave the EU. Spanish King Juan Carlos announces his abdication. Anti-European parties negotiate to form a group within the newly elected European Parliament. A French jihadist who went to Syria is arrested for shooting four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. Poland asks for a US Army base as a security measure against Russia. Brazilians are unenthusiastic about the upcoming Football World Cup, as many stadiums are not yet finished and huge protests have taken place instead of pre-parties.

The weather forecast for this weekend in Brussels: 26 to 29 degrees, chance of thunderstorms, continuing depression in the European population, little prospect of a thaw between citizens and the European Union.

Outside Europe, the outlook is very different. Russia flexes its muscles in Ukraine and pivots to the East by agreeing a huge gas deal with China. President Putin launches the Eurasian Economic Union to create a single market à la Europe. Chinese industry has picked up after a slow period, boosting the stock market. India chooses a powerful new leader, Narendra Modi, who can remain in office for a decade and has the ambition to develop his country much further. In one stroke with a statistical correction, Nigeria becomes Africa’s biggest economy. On a Turkish news website, the most-read article is an interview with Star columnist Mahir Kaynak, who says the European Union will cease to play a global role, while Turkey will become a political world power.

Stagnation versus ambition. Fear against hope. Decline contra growth. The news reports of just one day clearly reveal huge tensions and shifts in the world. What will this mean for our future? Is Europe on its way out and are we bound to lose the race with the BRICS?

This book gives a compelling answer to these two crucial questions as I take you on a journey through the recent history and current state of Europe. We will venture to the East and the South, assess the potential, threats and weaknesses of the emerging giants. And we will look forward to the local, regional and global challenges in the 21st century, including an overview of what needs to change in Europe to allow our continent to thrive in an age of uncertainty and power shifts.

Much of the analysis of Next Europe is not new, nor are the proposed reforms.Rather it is an accessible and readable overview of the world in which we live today and tomorrow. Next Europe is a fresh salad with a spicy dressing. I have gathered the most relevant works on the most important topics (eurozone crisis, East-West relations, global governance), interviewed leading experts and pondered on my own experience with Europe and the world.

We are bombarded with explanations for Europe’s state of affairs or the rise of China, but what was missing was an overall analysis of the direction the world is taking. This book is meant to take away the feeling of unease that looms over our future. I also wanted an answer to the question of whether there is a place for Europe on the world’s stage in the future. Essentially that answer is: Yes, but…

It is partly true that Europe is in a mess. At the same time, so are the BRICS, and so is America. Let’s find out why.

PART I:

CURRENT EUROPE

1

A continent mired in crisis and morose

Let’s start our journalistic journey with setting the scene of Europe in 2014:

The EU’s official motto is ‘unity in diversity’. Together we stand strong – even though we come from different backgrounds. Nowadays you could say that Europeans are united - but often only in their opposition to the EU, in their collective mistrust of the institutions in Brussels and their fear of globalisation. What are our prospects for the future? Two in three Europeans think the EU is moving in the wrong direction - those in southern Europe in particular display a lot of pessimism. In the Netherlands, trust in the EU has gone down from 50% to 28%, in just five years.

When in Amsterdam, you can hear higher-educated, internationally-active people state that Europe is just one big fuck-up and it doesn’t add any value to their life or to the Netherlands. Why would they bother to vote for the European Parliament, they wonder, since it doesn’t have any real power.

If cosmopolitan Dutchies are already so sceptical, it bodes ill for Project Europe. Pew Research identified the gloomy prospects in a survey in 2013, when it polled citizens’ attitudes towards Brussels from across Europe. The European Union is the new sick man of Europe, concluded Pew, saying the EU stands in disrepute across the continent. The effort over the past half century to create a more united Europe is now the principal casualty of the euro crisis.

The eurozone crisis may have severed the legitimacy issue, but Europe’s loss of direction has deeper roots. Unemployment was already high before the banks fell, solidarity between Europeans fragile, the rise of Asia already on track. Europeans started turning their backs on governments long ago. Dynamism seems to have been siphoned out of Europe’s economy in recent decades. In this sense, the eurozone crisis functions as an accelerator: People are more and more fed up with the EU, from the payments to the South to the strict rules of the North. They are fed up with unemployment, piles of debt and political crises at home. Europeans need perspective and the current class of politicians can’t provide them with appealing ones.

Europe’s fear for the future is understandable. We are in a mid-life crisis and have so much to lose – in terms of economic strength, wealth and welfare, culture and even identity: Where is our continent heading? Are our nation-states no more than helpless shells, thrown upon sharp rocks by continuing waves of globalisation? What society will our children grow up in? Why do politicians seem unable to make sovereign choices about the direction of economy and society?

A follower on Twitter claimed to have the solution for our troubles. We need someone who destroys the EU to give countries their freedom and sovereignty back, @taraknl wrote to me after I stated that the EU is in a deep crisis and needs a better leader than the new Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. The 15 experts on the EU who were interviewed for this book have suggested less drastic solutions to turn the tide. But most of them are also fiercely critical of how Europe is run nowadays.

The European dream, of ever more integration, peace and prosperity, is dead. Since the eurocrisis broke out in 2010, too many people have landed in a nightmare that doesn’t seem to end. Especially the young. More than five million under 25-year-olds are unemployed, and many have been in this situation for years, leading to real depression and increasing numbers of suicides. In total, a whopping 14 million youngsters in Europe are classified as NEETs: not in education, training or employment. They are on their way to becoming a lost generation, instead of the next generation. The jobless youth is now migrating in masses – not only to richer parts of the EU, but also to former colonies such as Mexico, Angola and Brazil.

Across the EU more than 25 million people are unemployed, while millions of vacancies are unfilled because of a ‘skills gap’ and a dysfunctional labour market. In some parts of Europe employers are scrambling for workers, while in others the streets are full of bored people with nothing to do. That is crazy and high unemployment rates will continue, even if economic growth returns – and that growth will be modest, 1 - 2%, for years to come. In some countries the situation is disastrous. Greece’s economy lost a quarter of its size in the past seven years. Italy’s debt is over 130% of GDP. In many areas of Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary people earn less than €10,000 a year.

The eurozone is still littered with zombie banks: alive from the outside, but quite dead from the inside. They embody hundreds of billions of euros of loans that won’t be paid back. And failing them is not an option for Europe’s fearful leaders, as this would mean big losses for rich EU member states and angry voters.

Europe, quite important

Maybe the nightmarish conditions will dissolve soon, and the shattered European dream can be reinvigorated. By and large the EU has always been able to adapt to huge political shocks and economic challenges, as we will see in the next chapter. Many politicians are already declaring the crisis to be over. French President François Hollande has done so on multiple occasions. There are even signs in recession-struck countries like Spain that the economic wheels have started spinning again.

Looking beyond the gloom, discontent and morose, the European integration process is an incredible success. Within just 15 years of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the EU managed to incorporate most of the former East Bloc countries. The young internal market with its four freedoms of labour, products, capital and services, has led to a growth of Europe’s wealth in economic and cultural terms. Moreover, EU member states have jointly embarked on policy adventures in previously purely national policy areas, such as justice and home affairs, foreign and defence policy, education, labour market and healthcare. Time and time again, sovereign nations have been able to formulate a common interest and act accordingly, even if their own interests are harmed.

Despite the mess of the eurozone, countries still want to join it. Lithuania will be the third Baltic state to give up its national currency. The European Union itself remains a popular club. Albania is one of the latest countries in the Balkans to start membership talks, though they may take over a decade. When Ukraine signed its Association Agreement with the EU in Brussels, in June 2014, Ukrainian journalists were welling up with emotion in the press room as they watched the ceremony.

The euro has brought an unprecedented level of macro-economic stability to Europe. Inflation is low across the board, business cycles in eurozone countries are better synchronised, and the first ten years of monetary union led to the creation of 16 million jobs. What would have happened if the EU hadn’t had a eurozone when the American credit crisis broke out? Wouldn’t our small national currencies have been crushed by the market, leading to volatile currency exchange rates and disruption of trade across Europe?

Even without the eurozone crisis, the European Union would have run into huge popular opposition – sooner or later. The issue is that the integration project has gone so far that it is eroding the sovereignty of member states. No longer can they independently decide on many policy areas. The EU is not a superstate, but it severely limits the margins for national politicians. State support for ailing companies? Not allowed. Limiting migration from Romania and Bulgaria? No can do. Suspending voting rights for prisoners? Europe says no.

Citizens of course detect this tension between the EU and the member states. But they are tempted to ignore any feeling of vanishing independence, thanks to the continuous promotion of the advantages of continental cooperation. Just before the Dutch population voted against the European Constitution in the 2005 referendum, the government started a campaign to promote the EU. Europe, quite important was the motto.

Thanks to European cooperation, you don’t need to show your passport at the border, low-cost air travel has been made possible, studying abroad is easy, food is safer and economic prosperity is a fact of life! So dear Dutch citizens, please continue support our work in Brussels, and please, vote Yes for the European Constitution – that was the drill of the campaign.

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Europe’s elites did recognise that people would have trouble with all these quick changes. But their natural fear of open borders and transfer of sovereignty would be overcome with astounding results and improvements in their personal lives. A decade after the introduction of the single market, the free movement of persons would be a success with millions of Europeans migrating happily around the continent, spreading cultures and ideas, strengthening the economy and creating a sphere of being European, being united - just as we can see in the United States of America.

Also the eurozone would become a self-fulfilling prophecy: the magnet effect of a tightly integrated monetary union would suck in potential members like the Brits, the Danes and the Swedes. More importantly the eurozone structure would, in the end, demand a more federal governance, a real political union. And that would make the European Union the most successful region in the world.

That European dream was not shattered by the No vote against the European Constitutional Treaty, back in 2005 by the Dutch and French populations. Nor came it to a grinding halt after the latest expansion of the Union with Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia. The case for Europe has been weakened severely by the eurozone crisis, which in the eyes of the general public has led to unemployment, rising debts and taken away prospects for the future. They blame politicians and policy makers for the mess, and those based in Brussels in particular.

The strategy for a successful integration, to overcome the sovereignty tensions between the EU and its member states, has failed. People started to doubt the usefulness of the whole project, resulting in a massive protest vote in the May 2014 European Parliament elections. Parties that want to rip apart the EU have gained seats in the European Parliament (EP). And they come from every corner of the continent. Though the centre, pro-European parties still dominate the EP, Europe’s legitimacy has become a key issue.

Asia’s century

In the meantime, the world outside Europe doesn’t stand still and wait politely for our recovery. The BRICS and other countries are on the rise and regard the ‘world economic crisis’ as a problem of the decadent West. And they are right: we Europeans and Americans haven’t lived within our means for decades, and are now paying the price for it, not only literally.

As a result of the financial crisis, the global power balance has shifted further and at increasing speed. China is on its way to become the world’s biggest economy within a decade. The West is stymied by fear, the East is full of hope, wrote the French author Dominique Moïsi. The West had better accept the new world order soon, warns Kishore Mahbubani, a Singaporean researcher, but the Asian Renaissance is met with resistance rather than rejoicing.

Europe seems to retreat into itself by digging trenches and building dykes, protecting itself against waves of globalisation. Do we really have a

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