The eurozone crisis clearly empowered euro-skeptics’ positions against the proponents of the European unity. At first glance, Greek, Irish, Portuguese, and now Spanish developments serve as a good illustration of why the common currency was a bad idea from the very beginning and how irresponsibility of certain states creates problems for the rest in a too much intermingled community. Many forecast that sooner or later Greece (and not only) will have to leave eurozone and might be forced out of the EU. In a traditionally euro-skeptic UK David Cameron hinted that Britain may even consider holding an EU referendum, though not until 2015 general elections, in the hope that Europe's fate will be clearer by then.
On the other hand, official Brussels doesn't seem to be giving up. Jose Manuel Barroso’s 2012 State of the Union Address to the European Parliament contained many important messages for observers and initiated a new wave of debate both in the European Parliament and outside. “Europe needs a new thinking… globalization demands more European unity; More unity demands more integration,” he said. In short, Barroso is offering a new reforms package, final version of which, after being thoroughly debated and scrutinized by MPs and wider public of experts, will be presented by the 2014 Parliamentary Elections. Main pillars of the package are deeper economic and long-awaited political unity, as well as “truly collective defense.” While he spoke a lot about deepening unity in all major sectors, he has not mentioned widening (expanding) the Union at all.
|Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman|
Of course, Barroso’s proposal is far from being adopted and probably will have more critics than any other European treaty has ever had, but so far his fight in the legislature is receiving support of the executives in the European capitals. With or without the help of Sarkozy, Angela Merkel seems determined to keep Greece in the Union and in the eurozone. European Central Bank’s decision to buy unlimited volumes of bonds from indebted eurozone countries, as well as Merkel’s yesterday’s visit to Athens are clear indications that EU is not going to give up that easy.