In the face of rising nationalism springing forth across many nations, the European Union continues to remain a bulwark for the hopes of many globalists. The European Union has allowed many European countries to take part in economic successes, they would not have partaken in otherwise. The collective efforts of many nations combined have additionally contributed to advances in science and innovation. However, some of the weaknesses integral to the EU have directly contributed to the rise of nationalism as many citizens feel threatened, as in the case of the refugee crisis. In order to maintain integrity, EU leadership needs to act quickly and decisively or face additional fracturing.
The EU continues to remain an outstanding achievement, however regional and cultural challenges have presented significant barriers the European Union has not been able to readily address. Terrain and natural resources present in some countries do not exist in others which may damper the competitiveness of some nations. Additionally, cultural factors play a component less often discussed, as Southern European countries typically continue to remain true to agrarian roots as this remains deeply embedded in the national identity of many nations. The continual rise of China and India have highlighted the importance of remaining competitive in an increasingly global economy. The collective nature of the countries cooperating within the EU in a symbiotic relationship has allowed some countries within the EU to continue to remain economically viable in an increasingly global environment.
The economic crisis in Greece gave additional momentum to nationalist and anti-establishment movements present in many European nations amongst an increasingly growing distrust towards globalization spreading in the US as well. Many in the EU have been gaining an increasingly negative view of Greece with discussions at times drifting towards the viability of Greece as an EU member. The EU has allocated billions over multiple bailouts in hopes that Greece could address the many economic issues facing their nation and contribute in the future as an economically viable partner. The continual bailouts have been met by disdain amongst many citizens in other countries who view the bailouts as wasted funds towards a country who appears to be a bad investment.
The issues facing Greece go back nearly 8 years as Greece announced in 2009 it had been underrepresenting its deficit for years. Additionally, one of the reasons the bailouts have not worked is due to the money oftentimes going towards paying off international debt rather than trickle down into the economy. Government spending on huge salaries, social benefits, tremendous holiday bonuses, in addition to tax evasion are some of some of the factors that have contributed to the many issues plaguing Greece’s economy, with politicians being hesitant to address these issues due to a lack of public support within Greece.
The Schengen Agreement which allows for a removal of border restrictions amongst collaborating nations has also contributed to some of the factors which have given momentum to anti-establishment parties. Freedom of movement between the borders has only intensified the complexity the European Union continues to face in terms of the migrant crisis, as well as challenges in addressing terrorist activity. At the height of the migrant crisis, many European countries began implementing emergency border restrictions to both slow the flow of migrant movement across Europe, in addition to dissuading additional migrants considering Europe as a potential destination. Initially, part of the lack of effort on the side of European leadership was primarily related to a lack of public support in implementing such measures, however as the migration crisis has escalated public support has begun to shift in support of such measures.
Increasingly global competitiveness has placed pressure on a formerly, otherwise rather stable the European Union. Cultural barriers inherent to many nations have also somewhat prevented the overall competitiveness of the European Union, as leaders have not been able to find an appropriate method of harnessing the potential advantage contained in diversity. As highlighted in the instance of Greece, additionally some politicians are not willing to make the tough decisions which would drive Greece towards economic success, which also contributes to some of the issues the European Union faces. Freedom of movement across Europe remains one of the inherent qualities which makes the EU great, however, once challenges arise lack of will on the part of EU leadership to address the issues the EU is facing may contribute to a fracturing of aligned nations. Additionally, while economic bailouts may appear to be the most direct route in addressing economic issues member states may be facing, if those politicians receiving funds do not contain the fortitude to make difficult decisions those allocated funds may be a wasted effort. The European Union potentially represents the future of humanity as nations collaborate in an increasingly global environment. The European Union continues to highlight some of the challenges humanity will face moving forward as the inherent qualities the EU contains which make it great, may also contribute to some of the very complex challenges which may arise for which there exist no easy solution.