It is a fact that the EU is no longer a global power. It is on the contrary, a power in decline; like a lighted candle waiting for the furious wind to blow out the candle. Europe is going through an economic crisis that is clearly affecting its politics and very own existence.
Abraham Lincoln said "A house divided against itself cannot stand." The EU is a synthetic house, consisted of different countries and each one has a unique identity; culture, economy, politics and goals. But what happens when you add all these countries together in the melting pot of the EU, trying in the meantime to maintain their identity from globalisation? You simply get a divided house, ready to collapse. The idea of uniting politically and economically a series of countries, under one organization is a bold idea, but in reality it is proving to be a ticking time bomb.
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It hasn't been in existence that long, so I don't know that the jury is in on this question yet. But the global recession has certainly impacted the EU's ability to expand its economic influence and power. The best example of this is the impact of the debt crises in Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain. The EU has been faced with the prospect of allowing these member states to default, which would lower the value of the Euro and weaken the union, or to bail them out which has cost hundreds of billions already. It's like a bad marriage with a maxed out Visa that they can't get out of.
Until these countries become stable, it's hard to see the EU as an expanding power.
If there are too many more shocks to the economy, I think you will find that the richer and more stable economies in the EU will get very tired and significantly less willing to bail out their less responsible and more free-spending neighbors. There are already a large number of countries not abiding the agreements they signed when they joined the EU and Germany will only be willing to hold things together for so long.
Of course there are massive obstacles to breaking the EU down at this point, and so it isn't likely without further setbacks, but I don't think it is too far out of the realm of possibility soon.
Every country in the world is in some way a house divided. I'll admit the EU has greater divides than most countries, but every country has its divisions. So I don't think that the fall of the EU is inevitable.
As of right now, it is hard to imagine the EU breaking up. The economic impacts of tearing down their common market would be huge and I don't think any of the countries involved really want that. I think they will work out their problems.
The EU is still a major player in the global economy by any definition. After all, if you call it a country, it's got the biggest economy in the world. It may not be a military or diplomatic power, but it is a power in economic terms and I do not really see it splitting up.
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