Because of the structural defects of the euro, the European authorities have had to become masters of the art of muddling through one crisis after another. This practice is popularly known as kicking the can down the road although it would be more accurate to describe it as kicking the can uphill so that it keeps coming back.
Ukraine is struggling to negotiate a deal with its creditors, which the International Monetary Fund demands as a condition for further financial support. Russian aggression has taken a terrible toll on the economy of the new Ukraine, making its $19 billion in foreign debt unsustainable.
As many as 400,000 people will make dangerous journeys to reach Europe this year, about half of them fleeing the civil war in Syria or brutal government repression in Eritrea. By the time they reach the west, they will have had to risk their lives twice: once in fleeing their countries, and again in entering ours.
International cooperation is in decline both in the political and financial spheres. The UN has failed to address any of the major conflicts since the end of the cold war; the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference left a sour aftertaste; the World Trade Organization hasn’t concluded a major trade round since 1994.
LONDON – The European Union stands at a crossroads. The shape it takes five years from now will be decided in the coming 3-5 months.
Year after year, the EU has successfully muddled through its difficulties. But now it has to deal with two sources of existential crisis: Greece and Ukraine.
A new Ukraine was born a year ago in the pro-European protests that helped to drive President Viktor F. Yanukovych from power. And today, the spirit that inspired hundreds of thousands to gather in the Maidan, Kiev’s Independence Square, is stronger than ever, even as it is under direct military assault from Russian forces supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine.
NEW YORK – By invading Ukraine in 2014, President Vladimir Putin’s Russia has posed a fundamental challenge to the values and principles on which the European Union was founded, and to the rules-based system that has kept the peace in Europe since 1945.
The sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and Europe for its interventions in Ukraine have worked much faster and inflicted much more damage on the Russian economy than anybody could have expected. The sanctions sought to deny Russian banks and companies access to the international capital markets.
Europe is facing a challenge from Russia to its very existence. Neither the European leaders nor their citizens are fully aware of this challenge or know how best to deal with it. I attribute this mainly to the fact that the European Union in general and the eurozone in particular lost their way after the financial crisis of 2008.
This is the worst possible time for Britain to consider leaving the EU – or for Scotland to break with Britain.
The EU is an unfinished project of European states that have sacrificed part of their sovereignty to form an ever-closer union based on shared values and ideals.