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THE STATE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

10

The refugee crisis –a consequence of the wars in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and

Afghanistan, the failed state in Libya and the general situation in the Mid-

dle East– is the most dramatic episode to be faced by the EU since the

Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. The fact that the Mediterranean has become

a graveyard for thousands of migrants, including children, the fences that

are springing up along the EU’s borders and the need for NATO interven-

tion to stem the flow are all proof, if it were needed, of the failure resulting

from the absence of an effective, common migration policy. The agree-

ment with Turkey is a shameful initiative that betrays European values and

undermines international legality.

The fight against the Islamic State has suffered from poor intelligence

coordination, the absence of a strategy to deal with the wide range of

active conflicts and, in particular, the lack of a common defence and secu-

rity policy, backed by European intervention mechanisms. The proof of this

is that, when France invoked article 47.2 of the Treaty of Lisbon, hardly any

other countries took note. Instead, the response has been defensive meas-

ures, including at times restrictions on freedom or breaches of the Schen-

gen Treaty.

If we move to the crucial issue of climate change and the agreements

reached at the Paris Summit, the results are encouraging, even if they are

not commensurate to the scale of the environmental challenge facing us.

While the Paris Summit represents progress, it is also true that there are a

number of problems associated with its application, including the lack of

sanctions for countries that breach the targets, and potential barriers in

major polluting countries such as the USA, China and Russia. The recent

ruling of the United States Supreme Court, curtailing the decisions of Pres-

ident Obama, is proof of this.

Finally, there is the referendum on Brexit called by David Cameron.

Nobody wants the United Kingdom to leave the Union, although it has

always been lukewarm in its commitment. But neither is it acceptable that,

in order to prevent the United Kingdom from leaving, concessions are of-

fered that distort the European project, violate its basic principles, or ob-

struct the necessary progress towards political union. In this respect, the

proposal put forward by Donald Tusk and the European Commission,

which ties the hands of the next summit, is unacceptable because it vio-

lates the principle of the free movement of people, and creates an obstacle

to future political union.

The failure to adequately confront these political challenges has led, in

our opinion, to the growth of nationalistic, anti-European (and at times

overtly xenophobic) tendencies. The far-right policies being pursued in

countries such as Poland and Hungary, and the growth in the vote for