Tuesday, March 30, 2021 18:04
The question “quo vadis, Unio, quo vadis, Europe?” Is being asked more and more frequently by the European public – all the more since the current commission under the (non) leadership of Ursula von der Leyen has spectacularly failed in the fight against the pandemic – namely when organizing a vaccination campaign at EU level. The Commission’s more than suspicious impotence in the area of vaccinations has even turned into a real scandal.
But this failure is really only the tip of the iceberg: For years there have been many fault lines that have split and fragmented the Union as a confederation. On the one hand there is the clash of ideologies / world views (globalist liberalism versus national conservatism), on the other hand the deep and persistent dispute over the question of how the phenomenon of migration should be assessed and treated, and on the other hand the conflict between gender theory and traditional theory Family policy, and yet another is the dispute between federalism and national sovereignty – to name just the most important. An aggravating factor that deepens these divisions is the fact that most of these fault lines run between the old Western European member states on the one hand and the new Eastern and Central European member states on the other (of course with various exceptions on both sides – so Denmark in the west).
A few weeks ago I finished one of my texts with the following thoughts: In 1951 the European Coal and Steel Community consisted of six culturally similar countries at the same level of development, and their cooperation was successful for many years. Today, however, there are 27 member states trying to reconcile 27 different geopolitical positions, 27 levels of economic development, 27 traditions, 27 histories and 27 national peculiarities. It is clear that this is a huge challenge and that many things have to change radically if the Union is to remain united – even if the Union is not known for changing course very quickly: it is more like a giant ocean liner .
Recently, the Heads of State or Government of the Union signed a declaration announcing that from May a series of conferences will look into the future of the Union, so now it is time for us Hungarians to express our opinion on it To express question. As for the future of the Union, we are basically faced with a choice between two options: one is that the existing alliance of nations should continue in one way or another; the other is that this alliance eventually proves dysfunctional and disappears. It is worthwhile to consider both options and see what could happen in either case. In other words: we are back to the old question – only slightly rephrased – whether there is a life for Europe outside the Union?
If the Union remains united, I think we can think of four scenarios:
Scenario one: the “big ones” (the central powers: Germany, France) succeed in getting their way – that is, the will of the Brussels elite and the global networks behind it (like that of George Soros); step by step the Union is becoming a federal state in which more and more decisions are made by simple majority, including on issues of immigration, foreign policy and tax policy. This is the most likely scenario when the EPP surrenders and, abandoning its principles, joins the camp of globalist-federalist political families.
In this case, the sovereign member states of Central Europe will simply be smashed – on the pretext that they do not respect the values of the “rule of law” and democracy and thus incur a just punishment (both political and economic). The European model of two speeds is applied in such a way that the states that have been relegated to “second class” are downgraded to the rank of junior partners of the Union.
Second scenario (far from unlikely): The conflicts within the Union between federalists and sovereignists are not resolved, and since neither side really wins, a complicated and shifting balance emerges between different institutions – with the Commission, Parliament and the Court of Justice being the Union continues to represent the interests of supranationalism, while the Council of Europe remains true to the principle of intergovernmental decision-making (and thus implicitly the principle of the sovereignty of the member states), and it is this consultation of governments that will characterize the future functioning of the Union, like them has characterized its functioning up to now for almost seventy years – regardless of constant changes in the “balance of power”. In such a way of working – in the world of compromises that are constantly being reached and constantly being challenged – we could slalom for a while longer – but the erosion of the Union would continue.
The third scenario is the emergence of the sovereignist principle, which is primarily embodied in the fact that the V4 states and their Eastern and Central European allies want to make autonomous decisions in the areas of immigration, multiculturalism, the rule of law and democracy, globalization, gender issues, etc. if necessary also against the will of a majority in the EU, and thus form a permanent blocking minority in various areas. This could push the Union in the direction of a confederation, i.e. an alliance of flexible states, by pushing back the areas that were previously dependent on joint cooperation and thus, to a certain extent, bringing the EU back to the era of the common market – but also in comparison at that era the ideological bond that binds member states in terms of values is weakened. In the event of the EU continuing to exist, this is the scenario that seems to me to be optimal in the current situation and from Hungary’s point of view.
Finally, let’s consider the fourth scenario. This is the scenario that most closely resembles the time of the fall of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. In this scenario, the various member states would pursue permanently divergent policies in different areas, which would increasingly lead them to form certain alliances and thus to segment the EU into several parts. (Examples of such special alliances can be found in the past: the EFTA sponsored by the British in the 1960s, the Nordic Council founded by the Scandinavian countries and Finland in 1952, and of course the Benelux countries). In such a process, the countries of Central Europe and their alliance within the V4 could play an initiating and channeling role, whose attraction, which bundles other member states from the Balkans and Eastern Europe, could turn them into a confederative alliance, which in turn could serve as a source of inspiration for the revival and renewal of other alliances that unite older members of the club (the Franco-German axis, the Benelux countries, the Scandinavian alliance, the alliance of the Mediterranean countries). In this case, the dissolution of the EU would be avoided, but it would become similar to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation at the time when it still existed in name, but in reality was no longer as concrete as the nations that had formed in him, and the changing alliances they had with one another.
But what happens if the conflicts escalate further and the EU finally collapses?
There are good reasons to ask this question. Let’s just refresh our memory! Who would have thought until the mid-1980s that the “great” Soviet Union, then already seventy years old, would break up? Not many of us, right? And yet it happened, and the Kádár system, which seemed destined to last forever, followed it into the dustbin of history. In other words, history has taught us that things that are unimaginable today will happen one day because of new crises that have arisen in the meantime and that no one could foresee. Who could have foreseen the 2008 financial crisis, 2015 migrant crisis, or 2020 health crisis? In the current atmosphere, isn’t there a risk of a devastating cyber attack that would reset the global financial system?
That does not mean that we are now waiting for the fall of the Union – far from it – as we have been waiting for the fall of communism. It is very clear that a pieced-together union, rebuilt on the principle of equality between member states, is still better than no union at all. And yet it is worth considering: what would the breakup of the Union mean?
In my opinion, that would be an opportunity for Central Europe and for Hungary.
First, the nation states could, by interacting with the Top-Down-Break the principle of the Union and look for a Bottom-Up-Reorganize principle would, of their own free will, without coercion or hierarchy, create flexible alliances between nations. The Central European states could do that – for which the V4 would be an excellent starting point – in the form of a cooperation between sovereign nations that would extend to the Baltic states, the Balkans and the Adriatic – and also to Austria.
Second, if this alliance came about, it would become a real geopolitical factor, both economically and politically. If the great powers – in keeping with their bad habit – find it easy to suppress and forcibly incorporate small Eastern and Central European states, they would have much greater difficulty in subjecting a Central European alliance to such treatment.
Third, it is clear that China, for example, as part of its One Belt One RoadInitiative has already treated our region as a factor, and – even if these two powers are also competitors – Russia is also ready to cooperate with the Central Europeans. It has a geopolitical interest in it for a number of reasons – one of which is that it allows it, in part, to keep the United States off its borders, just as China attaches importance to our region in its competition with the United States. While Russia has more political reasons for wanting to rely on us, China has more economic reasons. But opening up to the east would of course not mean that we would join any new “federation” – be it the Chinese or the Russian – because the great powers will always behave as such. That is why we will always have to defend our sovereignty, also in our relations with China and Russia.
Fourth, following a possible breakup of the EU, the major Western European powers could not afford to put us in an “economic quarantine” to punish us for our “destructive” activities within the EU, for the simple reason that they – since they are no longer the only conceivable alternative for our region – they would neither be politically nor economically strong enough to do so.
Finally, fifth: In view of the hidden power of the global financial world, a regional alliance of sovereign nations is capable of much more resistance than a union that is dominated from the outset by a globalist-liberal orientation.
Conclusion: The downfall of the Union would mean the end of a dream, but it would also enable older dreams to be reborn. And I cannot think of a smarter conclusion than the words of Heraclitus: Nothing is as constant as change.
Political scientist, scientific advisor to the Alapjogokért Központ Institute