Can the EU remain United?

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The recent elections for European Parliament seem to have led many pundits to feel skeptical concerning the future of the EU integration process. The parties that argue openly against EU integration, and adopt highly critical views on the EU’s further widening and deepening, increased their votes at alarming levels. Many observers have forecast that the anti-EU parties are likely to gain a majority of the vote’s in future parliamentary elections. Despite the fact that the electoral victories of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and the National Front will mainly affect British and French politics respectively, their stunning victories do not bode well for the credibility of the existing pro-EU parties in the eyes of the electorate.

The growing democracy deficit inside the EU, the inability of mainstream political parties to find convincing answers to the demands of people on street, the growing influence of EU bureaucracy in daily lives of people (with no accountability whatsoever), challenges for EU’s international standing, Russia’s realpolitik revival, the rise of the Rest, and growing questions on the United States’ commitment to Europe, seem to have all caused a radical decrease in the degree of support that European people have thus far lent to the integration process.

Given such a bleak situation, one might hastily jump to the conclusion that the EU’s days are numbered. However, upon close scrutiny, it becomes clear that such foresights are incorrect. First, the EU has already proven its resilience during difficult periods of its history. In the past, the scope and depth of the integration process experienced an upward trend following challenging times. Both the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 and the Lisbon Treaty of 2007 followed moments of serious crises.


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