Article in “Die Zeit”: a “Brexit” has become a real possibility


UK election result has revealed the real challenge for Europe’s future.

In the last months, the media have been worrying about an eventual Grexit. This catastrophic scenario for the whole Eurozone has been considered so far as No 1 threat.

The recently recorded convergence between Greece and its partners and their expected agreement within the next weeks, I hope, reveals that the Grexit was a false alarm. To the contrary, David Cameron’s promise to hold a referendum on EU membership, converted Brexit from a distant prospect into a real and non-negligible possibility.

Conservatives, willing to stop the rise of UKIP nationalists, adopted part of their agenda and entrapped one of the most powerful European countries into a false dilemma. The EU appears as a problem British people has to deal with. Moreover, we should not forget that, in France, Marine Le Pen, with her ultra-nationalist agenda, has promised a referendum if she wins the 2017 presidential election.

In the next two years, Europe will face a harsh reality, which reflects the adoption of wrong policies, based on extreme austerity, and a lack of a vision for the future of EU as a political union.

The developments in the UK and France prove that the problem of the EU crisis is not of technical nature. It is deeply political. The EU has ceased to appear as a factor of economic growth and upward social mobility. It has become synonymous of punitive policies of the wealthy North towards the poorer South, which leaded to recession and unsustainable debts. This favored the rise of anti-European and nationalist ideas, which have been so destructive for our Continent in the recent past.

If the EU fails to convince its peoples that it is determined to return to growth, job creation and social solidarity, it will face the danger of collapse, with incalculable consequences. A new European project for growth needs, first of all, clear political decisions to end unilateral austerity and give again hope to the European unification process.

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