Europe’s Era of Harmony Is Over

No one else I know can muster as much deep experience and insight into the sprawling, incendiary world of geopolitics as my good friend George Friedman, founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures; and in today’s Outside the Box – part 2 of my 8-part SIC Speaker Series – George brings all his powers to bear to issue quite a declamatory statement on the present and future of the European Union.

George’s argument can be summarized as “the center cannot hold.” With Brexiteers on its western front and unruly right-wingers on its eastern wing in Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, the EU is sore beset. But as George notes, the center is quietly debating whether that might not be a good thing:

There has been some talk in the central region of either creating a separate union consisting of Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, or creating a bloc within the existing bloc. The point would be for these countries to stop being responsible for countries not ready to operate at the center’s level of performance. It would mean that southern Europe, with its economic problems, and Eastern Europe, with its distinctly different political culture, could go their own way.

That is what I would call a desperate conversation. Far from ever achieving a “United States of Europe,” the EU members will be lucky (or maybe not so much) if they can retain their economic union. George agrees, and he has concluded that dissolution is inevitable:

The periphery is coming apart. Whether those countries leave the EU, are pushed out, or stay is of little consequence. The common experience of Eastern Europeans makes them unique. The experience of southern Europeans in the past 10 years makes them unique. Britain has never been anything but unique. And Germany is by far the most unique, the most unlike any other nation in Europe. What the EU doesn’t want to face is that Europe is a continent of many unique nations and nothing more….

[The EU is] an idea that could never have worked, and is not working.

Full article: Europe’s Era of Harmony Is Over (Mauldin Economics)

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