The State We’re in – the European Union: Still Alive but under Continuing Pressure

The State We’re in – the European Union: Still Alive but under Continuing Pressure


2017 was another bad year for the European Union, maybe not quite as bad as many of us feared, but certainly not one to be celebrated, even though it should have been. After all it was 60 years ago that the Treaty of Rome was signed by the six founder countries – Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg and the Netherlands – of what is now referred to as he European Union. Many of the serious problems Europe had been wrestling with over the last years, from the eurozone to the migration and refugee crisis, remained unsolved. In 2018 we are still bewilderedly witnessing the UK’s dreary long goodbye which might carry on for quite a while; populism and Euroscepticism are further on the rise and with elections coming up in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy and Sweden, the prospects are worrying. Will Central Eastern Europe continue to backslide and polarise; will Italy plunge into chaos and how resilient will the so often highly praised Swedish democracy turn out to be?

Over the last eight years, the EU has stumbled from crisis to crisis without finding sustainable solutions for urgent problems. Juncker’s 2017 White Paper has laid out various scenarios for the EU to proceed after Brexit. So far, however, no clear choices have been made by Europe’s leaders. Only Macron had the courage to demand ‘a more sovereign, more united, more democratic’ union. Since then Europe is waiting for Angela Merkel and her new German government to finally jumpstart the rusty French-German motor. With the UK gone or rather going, which Member States will also claim a place in the cockpit? Europe needs courageous leaders to steer the Union ahead in difficult circumstances and in an environment which is unstable, sometimes even hostile. In this web dossier you will find articles which deal with the current state of Europe as seen from all sides and corners of the Union.

Does Europe Need a Political Disruption ?


New transnational movements like Volt Europa can bring much-needed disruption to a system of old nation-state politics. It is not too late to turn things around for this continent.

By Daniel Matteo

Dealing with Trump on Trade


Increasingly, Trump is causing headaches for EU trade policy makers with tariffs of 25% and 10% on steel and aluminium respectively. The United States turn towards protectionism while the EU sticks to an open, rules-based global economy. 

By Ferdi De Ville

Time Is Running out for Hungarian Democracy


After the general election in April 2018 Hungary is drifting further away from the European values towards becoming a Eurosceptic and populist Russia-friendly illiberal undemocratic state. An inside into the countrie's stading and the role of the EU.

By Milena Horvath

The Italian Election: a Last Wake-Up Call for the European Union?


The outcome of the Italian election is another wake-up call. Former centre-left and socialist voters now are being caught by 'modern' populist parties who claim to defend citizens' rights and fight against a corrupt political class as well as social and economic injustice.

By Lorenzo Cresti

Merkel’s Third Grand Coalition: High Hopes for Europe?


During the six months of tedious negotiations to put a German coalition in place, governments across Europe, the French in particular, have been waiting impatiently for a push for European reform from Berlin.

By Julian Rappold

Existential Quandary of the European Centre-Left


Center-left parties have to reinvent and reposition regarding the new world order shaped by globalization, digitalization and changing labour conditions. People expect new answers to migration, a growing life expectancy and a vision of a “modern welfare state”.

By Jelena von Helldorff

What's the Matter with Poland?


In the name of effectiveness, democracy and reforms, the Polish government pushes with radical measures to take control over the juidiciary power and slowly loses popular support. 

By Łukasz Pawłowski

The Catalan Independence Conundrum

The Catalan government is determined to go through with its plans to hold an independence referendum. With the country on the verge of a constitutional crisis, a negotiated solution becomes crucial

By Sonia Andolz-Rodríguez

The Clash of Realities Behind the CEU Affair

Thousands of people are protesting against the close down of the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest. A political battle about “foreign influences” and pro or anti EU, US or Russia sentiments.

By Kata Szabó