Naked Opinion

The European Union: Saving It From Collapse

Copyright: Photographee.eu
If the EU remains as it is, its destruction is imminent. An effective reform towards a looser union must commence and our generation should lead the change

If the European Union (EU) remains as it is, its destruction is imminent. An effective reform towards a looser union must commence with our generation leading the change to save the future.

On June 23, the British people will decide if they will maintain their EU membership. Brexit. A vote to leave will initiate simply the negotiation process and not an  immediate withdrawal. However, even debating about the issue is critical, as it calls the value of having a Union in the first place into question. This comes only a year after the peak of the Grexit debate, when the role of the euro became hotly contested in the public policy arena.

The effects of a potential Brexit or a Grexit are not as whimsical as the names suggest for the future of the EU and its next generation. The exit of one member could urge other nations to follow, possibly creating a slippery slope and the demise of the Union.

EU reveals its problems when crises appear

How did the association connecting some of the most powerful economies and cultures reach this  point? The European Union descends into an ostensible turmoil every time discord hits: the Greek debt and refugee crisis only recent examples of this systemic problem.

The unsustainability of the current system was underscored during the attempts of a Greek bailout last summer. If Greece wasn’t a member of the Union it could devalue its currency and stabilize its debt. If the EU was a sovereign nation like the US, there would be unlimited funding from the wealthier parts of the nation towards the poorer . The question  is whether unlimited funding is a good thing, to begin with.

However, none of the above happened and Greece remains in slump, with its fiscal policy being incapable of being corrected while its monetary policy still remains incapable of being reined in.

The British referendum highlights the need to reform.

UK strategically prognosticated such problems and kept its own currency, being traditionally more Eurosceptic than the other members. Now, British Euroscepticism marks its zenith with slightly less than half of UK voters supporting to leave. The British referendum can signal the beginning of the end for the EU. However, even if UK votes to stay in, the EU will be tranquil only ephemerally, until the next social or economic crisis exposes its fragility, creating even more Euroscepticism.

By remaining in its current unviable state EU’s demise is inevitable, nevertheless there are many reasons to try and prevent such a collapse. A sudden European catastrophe would create both economic and political complications, which would have to be resolved by our generation.

Specifically, unrestrained trade and movement of people between European countries would cease, and our generation would have to face the related hardships. The death of our common currency would make the European economy suffer even more, arguably agitating the unemployment level among the youth and creating uncertainty about our futures. Therefore, this is the best moment to consider reforming the Union, in order to save it and secure the future of our generation.

A looser union is the ideal reform for the EU

As discussed in the preceding example about the Greek bailout, either a loser or a tighter form of the EU could solve some of the existing problems. The idea of a tighter Union, which gradually transforms towards a single sovereign federation of states like the US, is opposed by many. Also, the vast cultural differences between European countries would make its implementation rather problematic.

The only solution that emerges is the reform of the EU towards a looser system, arguably with each country controlling its monetary policy. Lessening the bonds that connect Europeans is the only way to keep them united. Sounds paradoxical, yet it is true.

This solution would satisfy a great number of British, like the Prime Minister David Cameron, who had recently proposed a looser reform at Brussels. It could also delight countries like Greece, Spain and the Czech Republic, which all have growing Euroscepticism. Most importantly, the effects of a sudden collapse would be mitigated, keeping the Union alive.

This reform should commenced by us, the youth. We compose the EU of tomorrow. With our future at stake, it is thereby our obligation to be pro-European, but not be unresponsive and ignorant of the criticism and solutions needed to preserve and advance the European Union.  

 

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  • Excellent points! I’m a supporter of Brexit as my recent article shows, but that is largely because I think the EU is too intrusive on sovereign nations. I’m not conceptually against a loosely united Europe, and I think a more confederal model could work well, and may convince the Brits to join again.

About the author

Manos Makrygiannakis

Manos Makrygiannakis

Manos is an alumni of Yale Young Global Scholars and is currently studying Economics at UCL.