What do the Europeans think of white nationalism?
The crises that are strangling Europe may also have something good: the continent must reflect on the fundamental questions of what it is and where it is going. In recent years the EU has been concerned with the troubles of the plain. Now a mountain of problems is forcing them to tackle fundamental issues. The main danger is neither the Greece nor the refugee crisis nor the departure of Great Britain. It has another name, and it's called neo-nationalism.
The flight from problems behind national borders goes hand in hand with an emotional charge of the national in a number of states, which leads to fear of the worst. To meet this challenge, the pro-Europeans need a Plan A to preserve the EU. And a plan B in case it fails.
Work is underway on Plan A, and it has been quite unsuccessful, as the recent EU summit showed. But it is still possible to save the Union. This requires all member states to put European interests before national ones more often. First they have to agree on a strategy on the refugee issue. This includes distributing burdens fairly. Those who refuse, like Poland, Hungary or Slovakia, have to be convinced. If possible in a good way. Otherwise through sanctions, which the Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann addressed and the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier mentioned. However, sanctions are difficult to enforce.
With a mixture of courtesy and adherence to principles
Second, it is important to permanently resolve the euro and debt crisis. At the moment it is only postponed. Greece, Spain and Italy must continue their reforms. France must speed it up. In return, the better-off states have to undogmatically increase their aid. Third, the EU can try to keep Britain in the community through a mixture of courtesy and principle.
Fourth, Germany is in demand. It's not the model European it feels like. Germany once started to soften the stability pact. Time and again, it presents the partners with a fait accompli: when it comes to phasing out nuclear power, the refugee issue, and expanding the Nord Stream pipeline. And it imposes its line on others, as in the Greek crisis. It is not enough in the EU to be right. You have to convince the others and let yourself be convinced. Even good friends of Germany like Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi are annoyed by the "German leadership".
Since plan A can fail, plan B must be considered now. If neo-nationalism destroys the EU, what can be saved is to be saved. Those who believe in Europe can then found a core Europe and join together even more closely. The mere intention of doing so if the worst comes to the worst should have a moderating effect on Poland, Denmark or Great Britain. You should know: Europe wants them all with us - but not at the price of self-destruction.
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