The European Union has lessons to learn from one of its least adept members writes Alex Tziamalis.
While the UK is engulfed by Brexit – a battle for the strategic direction of the country, the European Union (EU) faces a low-key but even deeper existential crisis. Europe has tried to unite and shape its future through consensus rather than war and to retain its economic and diplomatic weight in a global landscape increasingly dominated by giants. However, what seemed like a sound strategy for a core of European countries, started becoming problematic when the union extended its borders to 28 nations. Inevitably that brought widely differing levels of economic development, social values and visions for the EU’s future. As a result, politically the union is heterogeneous, with a weak centre in Brussels and centrifugal forces in its periphery. Economically – as the Greek crisis shows – the Eurozone remains fiscally uncoordinated and prone to spiralling imbalances.
“No case has tested the EU’s resolve harder than the Greek problem.”
These underlying weaknesses were inevitably sharpened and exposed when the prosperous years, ended by the severe economic crisis of 2008, were followed by a sovereign debt crisis in the union’s south. And no case has tested the EU’s resolve harder than the Greek problem: