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.