km. In the years after 1990, after the end of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc held together by it, the former European Community (EC) put the pedal to the metal. Under the headlines “enlargement” and “deepening”, the former economic community of a few European states (in 1990, there were 12, now there are 28 member states) was to be converted, at a fast pace and in parallel processes, into a political union or even into some kind of a federal state of nearly all European states.
Kick-off was the meeting of the heads of state and government in the Dutch Maastricht, where the treaty named after this city was concluded which was to succeed the Treaties of Rome of 1957. The EC was to be complemented by a currency union and a political union with a common foreign and defence policy and cooperation in domestic and legal policy. All three communities were to be put under a common roof, the European Union (EU). Germany, for example, changed its constitution, completely reformulating its old article 23 – with the idea of a complete integration into a political union of Europe in mind. Already in 1990, the country had renounced the idea of a sovereign nation state in the new preamble of the “Grundgesetz” (Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany).
But the soaring dreams and claims in a global power have now dissolved. Currency and political union have turned out to be explosive charges and at least the so-called Greek-crisis which became a Euro-crisis has made obvious what could have been noticed earlier: The European Union had not grown under equal terms but had developed enormous centrifugal forces.
Since 2015, the migration question has enormously accelerated this development. This year’s decision of the British citizens to leave the EU was so far the culmination of the past years’ development. The EU of today is presenting a desolate image. Also the states of the former Soviet influence sphere are raising their voices, demanding a different EU.
Thus the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” of 9 September 2016 reported that the Polish government was considering a modification of the European treaties “in order to weaken the EU commission and to strengthen the nation states”. The state’s Premier demanded that the upcoming EU summit in Bratislava should discuss the Polish reform proposals. She added she was not only speaking for Poland but for the complete so-called “Visegrad group” besides Poland including also the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. The Polish head of government was quoted with the words: “Our goal is to strengthen the position of the national parliaments and to stop the European Commission from making politics.” The Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs added that the “Visegrad group” would agree that “the situation after the ‘Brexit’ was to be used for a reform of the EU.” Only a few days before, the head of the Polish government party, Jarosław Kaczynski, and the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, had argued in a similar direction. It was said that Prime Minister Orbán had called for a “cultural counter revolution” in Europe.
We should avoid judging too quickly on these developments. However, no delight will arise, only because monster EU is not doing well. The “Brexit” has shown that there are also active forces, which are not really concerned about the real European values: freedom and justice, state of law and democracy.
Already the Euro crisis is and was not fully homemade. Goldman Sachs is involved, also through its staff. The revolving door between this US multinational bank and the EU institutions is permanently in action.
Additionally: Is it not the NATO, which is much more dangerous for justice and peace in the world than the EU? Why do the states now revolting against the EU not likewise challenge the NATO, of which they all are members?
These are no rhetorical questions. We seriously need to think about answers. The question, which way the peoples and states of Europe want to live together must be deliberated as well. In November 1990, in the middle of the elation about the end of the Cold War and while there was still a Soviet Union, the Paris Charter was an attempt to build a foundation, which then was adopted by all member states of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), predecessor of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Too fast this attempt was jettisoned, the “only superpower” was spreading out and the situation in Europe came to a dangerous heat. An EU in chaos is not very helpful in such a situation.
Why not build on the Paris Charter again, the idea of a “Europe of nation states”, the idea of a “common European house”? The idea of a Charter for Europe, giving the relations of all European states from Lisbon to Yekaterinburg a solid base under international law, shaped by the spirit of equal rights, cooperation and solidarity, guaranteeing all involved states sovereignty and self-determination? •
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