Will Europe’s imminent political change help other agendas?


The Daily Journalist community opinion.


Even though premature, one could say Europe is reforming itself for change. Syriza in Greece won the elections a week ago, and although change is positive for some experts, it Didn’t digest well in the offices of the European Council and the IMF. Change might reverse the geopolitical structure of Europe, swept by the economic backlash during the global recession in 2008, and 2010. But we must also look at Scotland’s recent referendum to observe that some countries are starting to change their view of unity, only accepting in higher regards their individual sovereignty without obstacles. 

Larger economies like Spain with PODEMOS, or Italy with the Five Star Movement are gaining political terrain winning voters from traditional based parties. If they win the elections, many experts are unaware what economic and geopolitical consequences these transformations might result into, and will these create chain reactions in other neighboring countries that might end in an unknown paradox for the EU.    

Meanwhile Merkel, Hollande are negotiating with Putin, Russia’s military control over some Ukrainian territories to cease immediately.  We will see how Putin responds to pressure from the EU, as the ruble crumbles thanks to financial sanctions, where he might look for a military solution. But that might not be the case because China and Russia have a futuristic energy agreement that might solve Russia’s economic instability once and for all piggybacking on China’s inspiring market. 

The questions. 

1) Is it good overall for Europe to experience these emerging political transformations that economic skeptics, and globalist  seem to highly critic questioning their reforms and agendas?

– What denomination do these parties represent? 

-Will Europe divide itself? 

-And are these transformations only shown in economies that show similar characteristics, mostly Mediterranean’ that share differences with Northern European countries? 

2) Would a divided Europe benefit Putin in anyway? 

3) Should Europe unify only its military, but not their economies given the recent circumstances?

4) How should Germany and France among others respond to these reforms?  



Sebastian Sarbu.

(He is a military analyst and vicepresident of National Academy of Security and Defence Planning. Member of American Diplomatic Mission for International Relations.)

“Risk division of Europe is serious, because of two main trends:

The competition among Euroamerica zone (The Occident) and Euroasia zone, on one side, and the growing euroscepticism trend on other side.

An important  factor of risk inside the European Union is heterogeneity of development models, political approaches, and construction among the national states member of EU.

I agree with military unity and social, economical, cultural synergistic coexistence which meansmore security. After the removal of economic barriers, following the enlargement process of EU, the Need  for Security increased, amid the new global threats and changes.

Putin is interested to feed the extremist groups and to encourage the skeptical voices and trends, on strategic plan to play his role of false artisan of a new order ( new era postglobalisation).

The Europe of the Values is more important than an Europe of Opportunities.

Germany and France must give up their pride to achieve reforms for the benefit of the entire Europe, despite different views.”



James O’Connor.

(Journalist dedicated to knowledge and the power it gives the public. His expertise include American and international business, global marketing, American politics, and social issues.)

“1) Is it good overall for Europe to experience these emerging political transformations that economic skeptics, and globalist seem to highly critic questioning their reforms and agendas?

The victory for Greece’s Syriza will prove portentous for all of Europe under several conditions. This victory is not good for Europe as a whole and the incredulity of skeptics and globalists is warranted. Not only could it have far-reaching and immediate economic effects on geopolitical relations, it could also impact economic planning and partnerships throughout Europe in the foreseeable future to the detriment of countries that do not deserve it. Although a much-needed positive for Greece, if Spain and Italy follow Greece’s disavowal of Eurozone policies it will divide Europe to the detriment of the continent as a whole despite the immediate sociopolitical benefits Italy, Greece and Spain stand to witness in this unraveling should leftist/populist parties win their elections.

Greece, Spain and Italy are trying to refrain from socioeconomic and geopolitical codependency alike, for these nations’ codependency, particularly for Greece under Samaras’s regime, further bred unresolved financial subservience and austerity for Greek citizens. However, Tsipras’s role as iconoclast fighting for the left in not just Greece, but all countries leaning left in the Eurozone as well should be deemed a threat to Europe’s economic health, and perhaps even a phenomenon that could facilitate Russian imperialism. Greece should be ousted from the Eurozone for its plan to raise minimum wage and overhaul its labor market in spite of the EUs interdiction, particularly because it will negatively impact Germany, but this does not stand to ruin Greece’s economic health, and its leaders seem to believe this as well. Furthermore, Spain and Italy appear to be placing their feet even further in this camp.

Scotland’s referendum will only prove true and injurious if the Syriza victory engenders further leftist/populist collaboration and credibility alongside Italy’s Five Star Movement and Spain’s PODEMOS, and this is why reform should stop at Greece’s borders—the potential snowballing effect and amassing of this leftist agenda may prove dangerous not because of the merit of its movements but because of its potential to divide Europe and allow Putin room for imperialism. The denominations of each party, at least as they will impact Europe in the foreseeable future, are not yet identifiable because Europe’s currency debacle is in far too much flux to determine otherwise. New stances and opinions will form as rapidly as they will unexpectedly regarding these matters.

Europe will likely divide itself, and its division will prove injurious. The aforementioned characteristics do seem to coincide only with Europe’s Mediterranean countries, but as I noted earlier it is unclear if several Northern countries’ stances will change in light of these occurrences.

2) Would a divided Europe benefit Putin in anyway?

Many fear with sufficient reason that Putin intends to balkanize Western Europe and perhaps beyond if these places do not balkanize themselves first. If these countries do in fact balkanize themselves, Putin will be better positioned to forge destructive geopolitical and socioeconomic inroads. A divided Europe will make Putin a far more significant threat—especially given Russia’s occupation in Ukraine and Russia’s tension with the United States. Putin has expressed both disdain about Fascism and advocacy for Fascism throughout his political tenure in Russia. But he tends to advocate Fascist tendencies when those tendencies are positioned to serve him, and this leftist movement throughout Europe may incite him toward more Fascist ideology. Putin will seek a military solution to the crumbling ruble despite a possible future energy agreement with China.

3) Should Europe unify only its military, but not their economies given the recent circumstances?

Although Europe’s defense spending is already exorbitant, Europe should at the very least strive to unify its military if there is no economic reconciliation in the near future, and it appears that will be the case. However, it is difficult to foretell if emerging leftist alliances will be willing to unify their militaries after potential blacklisting from the EU/Eurozone. A unified military throughout Europe will keep Putin on his laurels, and this is the foremost reason behind my argument: economic dissension does not necessarily lead to militaristic dissension, and it appears this will prove true in the near future.

4) How should Germany and France among others respond to these reforms?

Given that the European Central Bank has decided to do away with Germany’s fiscal policies—policies that characterized austerity—Germany should hold its ground with its stance against utilizing public debt to increase inflation and stimulus, while keeping at bay any effort on other nations’ part to jettison potential military ties with Germany. Essentially, Germany should disavow the ECB’s actions while still keeping ties to other nations cordial. In analyzing strictly what Germany has done, however, the ECB cannot be blamed. Germany’s role in Europe’s economic crisis has rendered these results for Germany, and these results are just. Mitigating Greek austerity sends France a very strong message: Join our cause and validate our efforts. However, Syriza and PODEMOS in particular do not have enough governing experience to easily sell France on its cause, and therefore face a very tough sale when it comes to potential alliances. Syriza’s victory may lead Europe toward a division characterized by the relinquishment of austerity, but given these groups’ lack of experience, those who place hope in these groups ability to change things for the better may be proven wrong.”



Jon Kofas.

(Retired Indiana University university professor. Academic Writing. International Political Economy – Fiction)

“Can the EU survive the challenges of political polarization, downward socioeconomic mobility, and geographic division between the rich core members and the poorer periphery?  The EU has been tested because of the global recession of 2008-2013, and for many EU countries continuing in 2015.


  1. The apologists of the EU believe that nothing at all should change in the EU and it ought to continue its course as an economic and political bloc, expanding in global economic and political influence under globalization and neo-liberal policies that strengthen capital. The apologists believe the EU is not perfect but it is great the way it is and it will survive despite its problems.

  2. The reformists believe that the EU has lost its way, deviating sharply from its commitments to democracy, human rights, and economic and social justice, sinking into an economic/political bloc that Germany manipulates in order to remain competitive in the world. Reformists want the EU to abandon neo-liberalism and return to its democratic roots when the inter-dependent model of integration was in effect instead of the patron-client one today. The reformists question that the EU will be able to survive if it remains committed to neo-liberalism that serves the privileged few in society at the expense of the middle class.

  3. For very different reasons, Communists and right wing euro-skeptics including neo-Nazi political groups want the EU abolished. They believe that it is just a matter of time before the EU lapses into a permanent crisis and collapses. Communists see the EU as an instrument of finance capitalism pursuing anti-labor policies, while the right wingers see it as a supra-nationalist entity that threatens national sovereignty and cultural/ethnic identity with policies of multiculturalism and unprotected borders that allow Muslims to enter Europe.


Regardless which camp one embraces as closer to the truth, political polarization, downward socioeconomic mobility and core-periphery (north vs. South and East) division within the EU has both political leaders and the financial and corporate elites worried about the euro zone’s future. This is especially after the EU Parliamentary elections of May 2014 and the Greek election of January 2015.

Greek Prime Minister Alesis Tsipras led the center-leftist SYRIZA Party into victory, campaigning against neo-liberal EU policies, against IMF/EU austerity, and against the German-imposed patron-client model of integration. His electoral victory signaled to the rest of Europe that popular sovereignty matters in overturning policy decisions made in Brussels and imposed on the EU members. At the Davos meeting in 2015, representatives of the financial world admitted that the proof that something is not going well in the EU’s current direction is youth unemployment at 50% across the continent, stagnant economy just now trying to revive amid low energy prices, and the failure of the European governments to achieve consensus that would satisfy the dwindling middle class.

Public Debt and Dependency under the Patron-Client Model

Taking advantage of the recession that weakened all EU members, but especially the periphery members, Germany altered the integration model so that there was a massive transfer of capital from the periphery to the core ones thus helping to offset bank losses suffered during the recession. This injection of capital from the debtor periphery to the creditor core members helped to strengthen the financial and corporate sectors in order to keep them competitive with US, Japan, China, and India. The change in the integration model alienated a substantial segment of the population, resulting in the right wing euro-skeptics who argued in favor of dissolving the EU, leftists who insisted that the EU is nothing but an instrument of northwest European imperialism, and the reformists like Greece’s SYRIZA ruling party, arguing that EU must return to its founding interdependent integration model and commit itself to a strong middle class and a social safety net for the masses.

From the very inception of the EU, the interdependent integration model entailed that the stronger economies of northwest Europe, especially Germany, would be providing capital in the form of loans, subsidies, and grants to the weaker periphery southern and eastern members that lacked the ability to compete economically under a strong reserve currency favoring the core nations of the EU. This resulted in massive spending on infrastructural development, new funding for the primary sector of production, tourism and other sectors. In return for capital injections in the periphery, the core EU members secured consumers of products and services, cheap labor, cheap land, and cheap natural resources. No doubt, the major beneficiaries in the periphery nations were the larger enterprises especially those linked to EU financial, industrial and commercial interests, while the state offered some protection and benefits through various programs to small and medium-sized businesses. Advocates of this interdependent integration model argued would result in greater trade within the EU and greater upward socioeconomic mobility. This was indeed the case in the first decade of the 21st century, but the course reversed in the past five years.

Is it good for Europe to experience emerging political transformations that economic skeptics and globalists seem to highly critical, questioning their reforms and agendas?

The EU political transformations are symptomatic of economic transformations imposed by the core countries that are also the creditor members on the debtor members who have no choice but to cooperate because they use a single currency.  Because monetary policy is basically in the domain of the core countries, especially Germany, the fiscal, trade, investment, labor, social and all other policies of all EU members follow the dictates of the core members and Germany that argue in favor of maintaining a strong reserve currency. Those who favor neoliberalism and globalization under a strong EU patron-client model believe that there is no alternative to austerity, privatization of public assets, and strengthening the financial and corporate sectors at the expense of the social welfare state.

Critics from the right usually in the Euro-skepticism camp argue against the single currency and in favor of national sovereignty rather than having a massive continental bureaucracy dictate to each member nation how to conduct its domestic affairs. In other words, economic, political, and cultural nationalism take precedence over continent al integration as far as euro-skeptics are concerned because European nations are losing their identities along with their national sovereignty. With the cooperation of other northwest EU members, Germany took advantage of the recession to use the public debt issue in order to:

a) shift capital to the northwest countries from the periphery countries in the South and East to help finance the recovery;

b) impose neoliberal policies on the periphery members that would reduce them to dependencies of the core ones that would become even stronger; and

c) reduce the EU into an instrument of the core countries that would permit them to remain competitive on a global scale with the world’s strongest economies in the 21st century.

The leftist and left-center critics see an EU that has become politically conservative to the degree that all European Socialist parties, including Portugal, Spain, Greece, France, and German Social Democrats that were once Marxists are now worshipping in the neoliberal temple of globalization for the benefit of banks and multinational corporations. Behind neo-liberal policies are the titans of EU capitalism that use the banking system to launder money and avoid paying their fair share of taxes. These financial and corporate interests are behind EU monetary, fiscal, trade, investment, and labor policies, financing the campaigns of politicians that provide legislative and political cover for them. In short, the EU is nothing but an instrument of big capital, immersed in massive corruption, as the Luxemburg, HBSC, and other banking scandals have revealed.

The recession and austerity policies that followed only strengthened the core members while weakening the debtors across Southern and Eastern Europe, making it increasingly difficult to resist the dictates of Germany when it comes to any policy from raising indirect taxes that impact workers and the middle and lower income groups across EU to privatizing public property so the very wealthy could buy them for a massive discounted price. These are all part of neoliberal ideological commitment that strengthens core members and the top ten percent of the wealthy within all nations in Europe.

After several years of recession that cut deep into middle class living standards and eroded not just working class wages and benefits, but contributed to rising unemployment and dim prospects for upward socioeconomic mobility what could people except from the mainstream political parties other than more of the same? Considering there is 10.5% official unemployment in the EU, a steadily decline in middle class and workers’ incomes, and lack of prospects for the youth the EU, EU Parliamentary election results in 2014 as well as those in Greece in 2015 were not surprising. As was the case during the Great Depression of the 1930s, European voters in 2015 are seeking solutions in the left and extreme right wing opposed to the neo-liberal policies under the EU patron-client model.

What do the anti-EU parties represent?

While the ultra-right wing offers fantasy of immediate solutions of strong nation with which people identify, the left promises greater social justice. An unemployed professional, a small grocery store owner, a college graduate unable to find a job without much money or great prospects for themselves and their children can embrace the promise of a new social contract that will bring social justice, or they can embrace the mythology of the strong and pure nation-state free of foreigners, gypsies and Muslims who are the scapegoats for all calamities of Europe. The public reaction to the EU’s transformation from a democratic bloc into a neo-liberal German-dominated one was seen in the parliamentary elections of 2014, in the Greek election of 2015, and in Spain’s most popular party that is very similar ideologically and politically to Greece’s center-left SYRIZA.

Europe’s political parties of the anti-neo-liberal center-left represent the middle class and a segment of the workers that have no political voice because the European Socialist parties have embraced austerity and neo-liberalism under the German-imposed patron-client model. The fear of EU’s major political parties – conservative and Socialist both representing neo-liberalism is that reformist political parties are coming along and taking away the middle class and working class voters with them to victory as was the case in Greece. This would mean that either the mainstream political parties have to make concessions to the middle class and workers by diluting their neo-liberal agenda that only focuses on strengthening capital or they face eventual demise.

Besides the leftist and center-leftist challenge to the EU’s political mainstream, there is the rise of extreme right wing and ultra-nationalist elements that neo-Nazi parties, as in Greece where the Golden Dawn is the third largest party, to ultra-nationalist xenophobic parties as the UK Independence Party that led in the EU Parliamentary elections of May 2014. All of the right-wing euro skeptic parties oppose the EU bureaucracy, the concept of a united Europe, the appearance of trying to bring about greater social equality within EU, allowing Europe to be more open to non-Europeans and permitting greater multiculturalism, diluting national identity, excluding all illegal aliens from any social welfare program, favoring national businesses over foreign ones, ending European subsidies for EU members, and ending the supra-national state in order to strengthen the national one. The euro-skeptics from the right have stolen votes from traditional conservatives just as the left and center left took away votes from the Socialists who are now neo-liberal. The growing socioeconomic rich-poor gap across the periphery but also some core EU members is now reflected in the increasingly polarized political arena.

The results of the European Parliamentary election on 25 May 2014 should not have come as a surprise to the EU leaders, especially to Germany’s conservative Chancellor, France’s Socialist President and UK’s conservative PM, all linked together by their commitment to globalization, neoliberal policies, and strengthening the corporate welfare state at the expense of the social safety net and socioeconomic mobility of the middle classes. That Marine Le Pen’s ultra-right wing party, a camouflaged neo-Fascist xenophobic political party, won 25% of the vote and became the resounding victor indicates not only a problem for France’s debilitated Socialist Party that is hardly much different in its economic approach than any European conservative party, but Le Pen’s (Front National) FN party victory signals a serious political problem for all of Europe. If we consider that extreme right wingers in the UK, neo-Fascists and neo-Nazis across Europe increased their popularity in the EU elections, as did leftists outside the confines of the traditional leftists – Socialists and Communists – then we must ask what policies are the root cause for the anti-EU and Euro-skepticism sentiment that has become so strong.

That France has elected a neo-Fascist party to the EU Parliament and Greece among other countries opted for leftists/center-leftists sends a message to the EU of how polarized Europe has become as a result of the deep economic recession and austerity regime. This is not to suggest that the EU is about to break up or even change very much from its current neoliberal/monetarist policy orientation. After all, new nations like Ukraine are eager to join, as the behind the scenes manipulation that has been unfolding throughout 2013 and 2014 reveals. Nor is the EU about to become unstable and its reserve currency about to weaken along with its global trade relations because of political polarization. At least for now, the question is what happened that things have gone so badly for the EU mainstream political supporters and what does this signal for neo-liberalism.

As the self-proclaimed neutral arbiters of society, mainstream EU conservative and Socialist politicians opted to strengthen not just banks during the deep recessionary cycle that started in 2008, but they also used austerity measures as a means of transferring massive wealth from social welfare programs to corporate welfare. At the same time, governments used austerity as a means to sell lucrative public enterprises to private concerns invariably linked to the ruling political parties (clientist politics), invariably at low cost and to the detriment of the public interest and taxpayers. Privatization schemes that had started in the Reagan-Thatcher decade accelerated in the last five years (2009-2014) in EU because politicians argued this was the way to “save” capitalism and return society to growth and development. When the mainstream EU parties promise upward mobility across the board but deliver greater wealth concentration at the expense of the middle class and workers it is only natural to have political polarization bound to continue not just in the periphery but at the core as well.

Are EU transformations only shown in economies that show similar characteristics, mostly Mediterranean’ that share differences with Northern European countries?

President Hollande’s decision to dismiss the cabinet in August 2014 after the economy minister criticized the German fiscal and monetary model imposed on all of Europe signaled the unmitigated submission of French Socialists to neoliberalism. The decision of the French Socialist government further signaled to the EU that there is no policy difference between the neoliberal direction and goals of conservative Germany and Socialist France that was once believed to be free of German influence. Announcing a new round of tax reductions to the businesses and cuts in the budget targeting social programs, Hollande, who has a mere 17% public approval, caved under the pressure of banks, financial firms and large corporations that support the German austerity model. This officially marked the end of Socialism in France as anything but a name used for public relations purposes to secure votes from those identifying with the party that once stood for class-consciousness based economic, political and social policies and its roots are in the Marxist tradition.

Although the public demanded that governments hold banks accountable, the G-20 have swept under the carpet the underlying causes for the last recession that started toward the end of 2007 in New York (Lehman Brothers) and spread to the rest of the world. Just a few years ago, the US and EU leaders were crying out for structural reforms that would not permit a repeat of the decadent and corrupt banking-insurance-investment sector crisis that took down with it the world economy, put enormous downward pressure on middle class and working class living standards and raised unemployment to double-digit levels in much of the Western World.

It is indeed rare in 2015 to hear elected officials speak about structural reforms that would place greater state regulation and controls over a neoliberal model that the political and financial elites do not question. The G-20 has not raised the issue of everyone paying taxes and trying to fight corruption as in the infamous HSBC $100 billion scandal. Yet, systemic reform was necessary so people continue to have faith in the system that brought us the banking crisis and downward economic mobility. Against the background of a revived banking and corporate sector, the talk now is how to proceed with even greater vertical growth that concentrates wealth because capital concentration that Keynes once argued was the root cause of the problem but the neoliberals see as the panacea.

Even after the latest revelations involving corporations and individuals sheltering and laundering money through banks in Luxemburg and other places with offshore accounts so they would avoid paying taxes in their own countries, the EU has done nothing. This is because EU governments and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, also the prime minister of Luxemburg remain beholden to finance capital.  The collapse of the middle class democratic consensus is symptomatic of the failure on the part of governments to fulfill the social contract and remain committed to social justice at some minimal level.

How should Germany and France among others respond to “reform”?

The term “reform” does not mean the same thing to everyone. For example, reform for leftists and centrist political groups entails protecting labor rights, protecting the small businesses and professionals, providing subsidies to small farmers, public hospitals, and public schools, protecting wage scales and social security benefits. In short, the progressive reformist wants to protect the middle class and workers through the fiscal and legal system, while maintaining a commitment to social welfare rather than corporate welfare that strengthens big business at the expense of the lower classes.

By contrast, reform to an advocate of austerity and neo-liberalism entails:

a. slashing the public sector and privatizing as many services as possible, even if that means paying contractors much higher than if government workers performed the same task;

b. curbing as many trade union rights as possible, including collective bargaining and ending any kind of government protection for workers from employer abuses;

c. raising indirect taxes and lowering corporate and income taxes on the wealthy to stimulate investment, regardless of whether the stated goal is achieved;

d. massive consolidation of all professions, from truck and taxi transport to pharmacies so that multinationals are able to enter the market thus gradually replacing the small businesses.

e. provide subsidies only to large farmers and animal husbandry operations – milk, cheese, yogurt, meat processing, while ending subsidies to the small farmer.

f. slashing wages and benefits, cutting social security and raising retirement age, and gradually ending all subsidies to public health and education, while maintaining police and defense spending at high levels, despite pay cuts for officers.

The above scenario is one to which Germany and France have responded, with both conservatives and Socialists embracing such “reforms” as necessary to make EU “stronger”. No doubt the EU has become stronger, but only the financial and corporate interests at the expense of the middle class and labor.

From 2009 until the present, all governments of Europe went along with the concept of “reform” as monetarists and neo-liberals defined it, not as the center-leftists and leftists understand it. All of Europe looked to France as the leader to offer an alternative to the German concept of reform, but the French government under Conservative and Socialist leadership has been about the same toward the EU and toward the German-imposed patron-client model of integration. Rhetoric on both the Conservative and Socialist parties notwithstanding, both simply followed the lead of Chancellor Merkel in the last five years, and neither dared propose anything different. One explanation for the subservient role of France to Germany’s neo-liberal and austerity orientation is that the French capitalist class, especially the banks, espouse the German position on monetarism, fiscal policy favoring the wealthy, labor policy intended to weaken the trade unions, and social policy intended to further transfer assets from social welfare to corporate welfare.

To deflect attention of the public from the serious erosion of their socioeconomic benefits in the last ten years, the French government has been using the race/religion/ethnicity card against immigrants from Africa, Muslims seeking a better life in the West, and gypsies who have been in Europe since the late Middle Ages. Immigration from outside the continent as well as internal migration from Eastern Europe, and especially gypsies, has inflamed European right wingers targeting Asians and African, especially of Muslim faith. The xenophobe issue is inexorably intertwined with the Muslim terrorism issue as far as many are concerned. The religion/race card has not worked and it will not work unless the government addresses the real needs of the middle class and workers that have nothing to do with roaming gypsies and militant Muslims. After all, those who really harbor hatred for foreigners, Muslims and gypsies have already turned to the far right National Front Party of Marine Le Pen.

While paying lip service to the concept of pluralism and open society that respects human rights of all people, the austerity and neo-liberal policies that Germany has been pushing and France going along entails a reality of harshness toward foreigners, especially the groups I mentioned above that are discriminated in daily life. Neither Germany nor France are prepared to embrace the definition of reform as the leftists and center-leftists – SYRIZA of Greece and PODEMOS of Spain – intend it, namely, a modicum of social justice.

Would a divided Europe benefit Putin in anyway?

Russian President Vladimir Putin could benefit in some respects by having a divided Europe because he would be striking energy and trade deals bilaterally with greater ease instead of facing the pressure of the entire EU on Moscow. However, Russia will still have to deal with the reality of a Europe that is part of the Atlantic alliance system under NATO and this is a significant issue unlikely to change the balance of power any time soon. While Russia could temporarily celebrate a political victory in case the EU dissolves, just as the West celebrated the collapse of the USSR, in terms of the regional and global balance of power it would not mean much for Moscow and it would not elevate Russia’s global standing. On the contrary, we may actually see higher defense spending on the part of European countries, after a possible collapse of the EU than we have today and this would mean higher defense spending in Russia.

Only anachronistic-thinking Cold Warriors think in terms of Russian benefits if the EU collapses, considering that the question assumes there is an enemy no different in 2015 than under the old USSR in the 1950s. The negotiations between Putin, Ukraine President Poroshenko, Merkel and Hollande resulting in a deal intended to end hostilities is indicative of the interdependent relationship between northwest Europe and Russia. Regardless of whether a German-French brokered deal is effective, EU-Russia relations cannot be destroyed to the detriment of all parties concerned simply because the US is interested in destabilization of Eurasia through various means from diplomatic and military pressure to political and economic leverage with nations surrounding Russia.

The reality of Russia’s economic integration with the West, especially with EU, cannot be subordinated to revived and recycled US Cold War policies toward Moscow when the global balance of power is rapidly shifting from the West to East Asia. While the EU must consider its long-term economic relations with Russia, taking into account Russia’s concern about NATO encirclement policy that the US has been pursuing and Europe has been following, European governments of today and in the future cannot follow antiquated Cold War policies of confrontation when cooperation yields far greater rewards and accounts for stability at home. This is clear from the pressure European financial and corporate interests are placing on their governments to find a political solution for the Ukraine crisis.

Just below the surface of EU-US agreement on containing and encircling Russia rests the fundamental divergence of economic and geopolitical interests of the NATO partners. Europe is taking all the risks while the US is trying to reap all the rewards of an unstable and weaker Russia that would have to spend itself into poverty because of high defense procurements. What is in it for the EU, other than higher defense spending that further weakens the already weak civilian economy? The promise of waiting Russia out until it caves to US-NATO demands is an unrealistic scenario. China will never allow Russia to collapse for it is not in its interest that the West prevails in the Eurasian balance of power, and it is not in Beijing’s interest to have the US perpetually destabilizing various parts of the world as a means of exerting influence.

Public statements notwithstanding, Germany and the US had been on a collision course over the military solution Washington was pursuing for Ukraine, vs. the diplomatic one that Merkel was seeking because in the end it is Germany and EU paying the price for US aggressive foreign policy. In other words, it is not in the best economic or political interests of Germany and the EU to have a weak and unstable Russia as the US envisioned when using the Ukraine as a sphere of influence to destabilize Russia. At the same time, Russia under a quasi-authoritarian leader like Putin needs Europe as a major trading partner, and any instability in the EU, including dissolution, would not benefit Russia other than in a symbolic sense.

Should Europe unify only its military, but not their economies given the recent circumstances?

Europe is as unified militarily as it will ever be because it is part of the Western alliance and defense system. The US knows that it is becoming increasingly very difficult to defend the existence of NATO because: a. the Cold War is over, and b. the “war on terror” is a manufactured campaign to keep the military industrial complex going strong and to maintain the political and social status quo at home by deflecting the focus of the public from issues concerning their interests. Considering that a new global power structure means that East Asia is the world’s economic center, the US hopes to use its military superiority as leverage to impose higher defense spending on its NATO partners. Europe has gone along with the US, following its foreign policy lead in Afghanistan, in the “war on terror”, in regime change in Libya and Syria, and in the Ukraine. But for how long, considering that the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were failures, NATO intervention in Libya has yielded greater instability and “terrorism”, the covert war against Syria’s authoritarian regime ended up in strengthening ISIS militants, and the covert involvement in Ukraine inadvertently helped neo-Nazis and corrupt pro-Western oligarchs.

The specific cases of US failures of military solutions to political crises in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and the general global US policy of destabilization are forcing European political leaders to make very difficult decisions regarding economic sanctions and raising defense spending. Meanwhile, China is benefiting by striking trade and investment deals with Russia and Europe, while the US is constantly pushing military solutions to crises at a huge cost to the West. EU leaders have to decide it China as the most constructive and stability-engendering power today and in the future as an economic and political power, or if the US pursuing recycled Cold War policies is the future. For the now and the next decade at least, the EU will remain committed to the Atlantic alliance, but longer term is questionable.

While Europe is firmly on the US side and has been since Wilson committed troops to help the allies fight Germany, I do not see the Europeans modeling the EU after the US militarily in the same respect as Germany has emulated the patron-client integration model. Nor do I see the EU dissolving and replaced by a military alliance, an idea that only extremists on the ideological spectrum would even contemplate. EU financial and political elites see the EU’s future in consolidation and expansion economically without taking the kinds of diplomatic and military risks the US engages that result in regional destabilization.


The EU will survive and will not break up any time soon, no matter the economic, social, political, and foreign policy challenges. The next crisis in the capitalist economy will force governments to make even greater concessions to banks and corporations at the expense of the slashing living standards from the middle class and workers. This will necessarily entail greater division within EU and greater popular opposition to its continued existence, for it will cease to serve the majority of the people and only cater to the financial elites. It will take several crisis of capitalism for the EU to collapse and not one deep recession and one left-centrist reformist regime in Athens opposing austerity, neo-liberalism and the patron-client integration model. After all, there are many countries waiting anxiously to join the EU, despite the fact that it has sharply deviated from its original mission and its interdependent integration model intended to help the economically weaker members.

It took many decades for political leaders to convince their citizens that EU membership was good for everyone and not just for banks and multinational corporations based mostly in northwest Europe. It has taken a relatively shorter time for people to judge for themselves the degree to which the EU best serves the interests of all people in all the member states and not just the core. The prevailing skepticism of whether there are really any benefits to the national economy and society as an EU member, or if membership really serves the domestic financial and political elites as well as the core EU members, especially Germany, is an issue that cannot be overcome with propaganda, but rather substantive policies resulting in real changes across Europe.

Such changes will not come because the powerful banks, insurance, pharmaceutical, defense, and other multinationals are behind the regimes of Europe and they resist any change in the patron-client integration model, and in making a commitment to social justice by strengthening the middle class and workers that have suffered high unemployment and major cuts in living standards. Along with some programs designed to reduce unemployment by strengthening businesses and providing even greater tax and other incentives to corporations to hire and keep workers, there will be a major propaganda campaign for voters to support the EU. Without tangible results in socioeconomic improvement, the result will be continued rise in the right wing and left wing political parties and disparate groups that want their countries to leave the EU or they demand a different integration model.

The contradiction of the EU is that it is trying to project itself as the most desirable bloc with the strongest reserve currency on earth, as it tries to attract new members in Eastern Europe, while at the same time, it is chocking growth and development within the periphery areas precisely because it has a strong currency under monetarist policies and neoliberal course of privatization and corporate welfare programs undercutting the middle class as the popular base of a democratic society. Survival is indeed certain for the short term, but longer terms the decline and fall of the EU under the current integration model is inevitable.”



Dr. Muhammad Aslam Khan

(He is a retired Brig Gen from Pakistan Army, served 32 years. A veteran of ‘1971 Indo-Pak War,’ has been instructor in officers’ Pakistan Military Academy, commanded Divisional as well as Corps Artillery. He writes frequently and traveled to Europe, America, Middle East and Far East.)

“1) Europe, from the EU platform has come to conduct a very serious trial of phenomena when the soft power is potentially much more accomplishing than military options. The transformation of the political paradigm, emerging thus has seen, at least until Ukrainian conflict, the rush to seek its membership, not because they needed security essentially but were inspired by the economic incentives that EU presented to each of them. There are four such groups or entities which would remain the subject of discussion, for and against.

The predominant organ is the EU with potentials to rescue any country economy at minimal cost when the members are expected to maintain some bench marks. Second segment comprises those countries that have declined to join EU; some name them Euro-skeptics. Third group are the countries that are inclined to join EU, some on chronic wait for decades like Turkey.

Fourth actor is NATO which has been a deterrence to avert any military threat to Europe. When Balkans needed NATO intervention against Serbian atrocities, it committed its forces but the fallout has been that EU also drew the flak and was accused of arms twisting form the NATO platform. Greece is the latest dissenter to show some cracks among the EU unity. Russian reaction against US/EU bid to woo Ukraine has been the product of decades. When US seems poised to counter Russia by equipping Ukraine with necessary prowess to quell Russian-supported insurgency in Eastern Ukraine, the idea does not find sweeping approval in Europe. The Minsk conference proves the point.

2) Certainly Russia would be a beneficiary when European or EU stance shows any crack. Mr. Putin has pursued a very shrewd line of diplomacy. While he does not shy away in exchanging barbs with US, he is very responsive to Germany and France. He is capable of playing last gamble when he proves himself a good guy by yielding to EU demand of respecting Ukrainian’s territorial integrity. As a measure of reciprocity, Russia would demand relegating NATO role, away from Eastern Europe.

3) If history is any guide, Europe has the means to play a positive role from EU pedestal without any significant forces structure. The strength of EU economies is such a fine ace card that Russia would remain least inclined to confront them. It would also keep EU skeptics calm who suspect French-German honeymoon because of the troubled history Europe has, being an arena of two World Wars. Russia fears united Europe much more than it does US.

4) The line of diplomacy being followed by Germany and France to bring Russia around the dialogue table and seek concessions are well demarcated. European preference for NATO is European prerogative. However, NATO must not bear US hegemony-stamp, on the lead in Black Sea, Ukraine or Georgia for that matter. Less NATO is seen in the region, more Russia would become pliant.”


Claude Forthomme. 

(Passionate traveler (80 countries+) 25 years experience in United Nations: project evaluation specialist; FAO Director for Europe/Central Asia)

“Once again, the questions raise such broad issues that a whole book would be needed to answer them. Still, given the importance of the issues raised, particularly the concern over the future of Europe and the European Union, here’s a first attempt at quick answers:

1) Will Europe divide itself under the combined pressure of the Greek demands for renegotiating the terms of the debt and the Ukraine crisis?

No. The Greeks do not want to exit the Euro, they have said so now many times, Varoufakis, the Greek Finance Minister even said that as long ago as May 2013 when his book “The Global Minotaur” came out. What the Greeks want is “breathing space” in the immediate, and a reset of debt conditions in the long run. As to the Ukraine crisis, we will see what happens – whether the cease-fire sticks. If it sticks, any pressure for change will evaporate, Putin will go on as before, the Franco-German “couple” governing Europe – or at least the Euro-zone – will be restored.

2) Would a divided Europe benefit Putin in anyway?

Yes, of course. But we need to see whether that happens. I don’t believe it will.

3)Should Europe unify only its military, but not their economies given the recent circumstances?

The military is not a feasible option. It has been often talked about and nothing concrete has ever happened.

4) How should Germany and France among others respond to these reforms? I

I am not sure what reforms are referred to here. I leave others to respond and I might add something in the light of what others have to say.”



Jose Luis Chalhoub Naffah.

(He is a political scientist with a masters in international oil trading and an independent politics consultant on politics and geopolitical risk based in Venezuela focusing on Russia AMD Middle East issues. He speaks fluently English Russian Fench and Arabic. Director of BYBLOS CONSULTING a firm specializing in political risk analyses.)

“Since all the crumbling and shaking of the European Union anchored on Greece at the very beginning, my answers to these questions will be:

1.) All the nationalism and xenophobia reverberation recently shaking Europe is a symptom of a discontent against the globalist agenda that took hold of the EU in Brussels, slashing sovereignty and self determination in the european continental landmass, and given that the economic malaise started in Greece affected almost 50% of all Europe, the resurgence of nationalism in cases like Scotland, Greece, Spain, Italy, and the likes, is just a natural consequence of people not being happy of the status quo imposed by Brussels, no matter if positive or negative by any point of view from any ideology. Its just an immediate consequence.

2) These parties, undoubtedly represent a new way of doing politics, a new wave of citizens representing in the political system, and is not occurring only in Europe, but also in South-America, being it kind of a revival of the left against new forms of the political right, having mainly in Europe a very strong nationalist tone as its main flagship, against all that smells and looks Brusselian and Washingtonian. Also, like many NGO’s, these new parties could be very well influenced by foreign powers interested in the disintegration and fragmentation of the European Union and the euro as a strong currency.

3.) Depending on the will of its members, the will of the foreign powers influencing European politics as well, and the sustainability of their economies tied to the requirements of Brusels and the so called globalists and multilateral financial institutions. And last by definitely not the least, European Union will be the EU as we know it if and only if Paris and Berlin decide to sustain it or if they go apart. That way, we will know the future of the EU.

4.) Instead of a divided Europe, we would say that a Franco-German axis will be the beachhead for the Kremlin to control power in Europe, and added to that, it could be an extra sphere of influence running through the Mediterranean to the Balkans up to the Baltic that can close up to bigger geopolitical puzzle for Russia to get a grip on the European Union and take it off from the United States, leveraging full on the gas supplies, its traditional weapon of influence (Russian soft power kind of saying). Sooner than later, we could foresee rather than the old European Union, a full fledged, younger and more active and dynamic Eurasian Union absorbing and swallowing up the rest of the European landmass, if this stalemate in Europe continues for long time.

5.) Even if Europe unifies its army and military forces, and there are examples and experiences like the Euro-corps, it won’t solve any problem for Europe, since its tradition of not getting involved in foreign conflicts unless the US pushes it into them within the NATO framework, and since the public opinion and the European media is not much pro war, so this won’t be any alternative. Europe as a whole is running a high risk of disintegration as a geopolitical unified bloc more than ever before since its very inception and creation.

6.) France and Germany at the end of the day will be realigning themselves with Russia because of their high dependence on Russian gas supplies, since there is no more reliable and sustained substitutes to the Russian gas not even from Algeria, Norway, etc (call it peak production, etc). Russia has the biggest natgas reserves and production in the world. So that way, France and Germany will be on Russian side one way or the other.”



Héctor Sánchez Margalef.

(BA in Political Science and MA in International Relations, Security and Development by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. International Relations Professional working as a researcher at CIDOB.)

“1)  Is it good overall for Europe to experience these emerging political transformations that economic skeptics, and globalist  seem to highly critic questioning their reforms and agendas?

Overall yes. Movements that challenge mainstream parties and a system that seems to be stagnant are welcomed but only if they do so by respecting the rules, respecting diversity and without violence. I doubt movements like Golden Dawn in Greece or Pegida in Germany among others will contribute to a better Europe.

– What denomination do these parties represent? 

Depends on the party we are referring to. Roughly we can differentiate between Eurocritics, Euroskeptics and Europhobic.

Eurocritics are those who are in favor of European integration but do not agree with the policies carried by the European Union right now (Podemos, Syriza).

Euroskeptics are those who think integration has gone too far (the British tories, UKIP, the 5 Star Movement, Alternative for Germany).

And finally, Europhobics are those who want their countries out of the EU (French National Front, KKE (Communist party of Greece), Golden Dawn in Greece).

-Will Europe divide itself?

I do not think so because the majority of Europeans are in favor of a united Europe. However, if there were a division, it would occur between Northern and Southern Europe or between creditors and debtors.

-And are these transformations only shown in economies that show similar characteristics, mostly Mediterranean’ that share differences with Northern European countries?

No, there are movements that call for a different relation with the EU also in Northern countries: Sweden Democrats, UKIP, Pegida, Alternative for Germany are also examples of movements that, despite not being all new, are gaining momentum within the European political debate.

2) Would a divided Europe benefit Putin in anyway? 

Yes, Putin is trying to break the European unity to soft or break the sanctions. He is even funding political parties like the National Front in France to gain influence within Europe.

3) Should Europe unify only its military, but not their economies given the recent circumstances?

The European Union must review its European Security Strategy but it must be the result of a well thought process with the European Union leading it; no as a reaction. The same goes for the economic union. However, it looks like if there is not a deeper and full political union, the economic and military union are a chimera.

4) How should Germany and France among others respond to these reforms? 

With imagination and being open minded. Every political movement done by the Member States respond to a domestic logic. There is a need for brave and charismatic political leaders who think and act beyond electoral calculations.”



Francesco Brunello Zanitti.

(Specialized in Contemporary History, international relations, geopolitics of South Asia, history and politics of India. Scientific Director of IsAG, the Italian Istituto di Alti Studi in Geopolitica e Scienze Ausiliarie (IsAG).)

“1) Is it good overall for Europe to experience these emerging political transformations that economic skeptics, and globalist  seem to highly critic questioning their reforms and agendas?

These political transformations are the result of a specific European policy, which favored rigorousness excluding any kind of proposal related to the renegotiation of the debt. It’s good that a democratic society expresses alternatives or modifications of this economic system. Even if in terms of principle expectations of creditors could be reasonable, this kind of European economic policy generated too high social costs, as we can see in Greece.

– What denomination do these parties represent? 

These parties represent segments of society cut off from European development: youngsters, unemployed, retired people facing huge difficulties and that cannot afford higher costs of life. Popular vote is the expression of a discontent; people see as unacceptable the fact to pay a too high price for wrong past policies.

-Will Europe divide itself? 

Europe is now facing many challenges, not only economic but also in its approach towards Russia and MENA (Middle East and North Africa). Europe should not divide itself given the construction of a multi-polar world order but the risks of a division are tangible. The risk of economic failure of Europe is concrete because a hypothetical exit of Greece from EU could be followed in future by other countries with a difficult economic situation, like for example Italy or Spain. There is not yet available a unique European voice in many fields, especially in economics and foreign policy.

-And are these transformations only shown in economies that show similar characteristics, mostly Mediterranean’ that share differences with Northern European countries? 

These transformations are not only available in Mediterranean countries because we can see also in France, Germany, Austria, Netherland, Great Britain, Denmark and other Northern countries a sort of disaffection towards the idea of Europe thought up to now if we only consider recent 2014 elections for European Parliament.

2) Would a divided Europe benefit Putin in anyway? 

I don’t think that a divide Europe will anyway benefit Putin. Russia aims to commerce with Europe. A weak Europe was not in Russia’s interest given the great interdependence of European and Russian economies. Europe is already divided in many issues even in its energetic policy and in the approach to adopt towards Russia (for example Great Britain, Poland and Baltics States historically hope for a stronger posture against Moscow compared to Germany, France and Italy).

Maybe Russia could obtain advantages from these European divisions, utilizing them as a tactical advantage in bargain with Europe over Ukrainian imbroglio and finding alternatives for its exportations (Turkey and Greece in Europe; Egypt in Middle East; China and India in a long-period vision in Asia). However, the main challenge for today Russia is represented by NATO’s expansion, seen as a direct threat to Russian stability and influence in Eastern Europe. The real problem, according to a Russian view, is represented by US rather than Europe and Russia cannot accept a loss of influence over Ukraine.

3) Should Europe unify only its military, but not their economies given the recent circumstances?

Given recent circumstances maybe it was better a military union. However, the problem is that European project was born in economic terms without de facto a political union. The United States of Europe is in theory a good idea, but the United States of America fought a bloody civil war for the final political and economic unification in the XIX century.

Today Europe is based on imbalances with a hegemony of Northern countries (especially Germany) which ask to other countries to adopt socio-political measures that are not suitable for the contexts of Southern States. People of the latter countries see at this fact as an unacceptable diktat. Europe doesn’t have yet a common “civil religion” that could really unify European people.

A great European State could be a good idea, but it could not rest on these bases.

Considering military aspects, Europe is already united given the affiliation of many EU countries to NATO. However there are also two elements to ponder. First of all this alliance is based on the Transatlantic relationship so it’s founded mainly on US interests rather than European one, given the stronger position of Washington in the US-EU binomial. Second, also in this case EU States are divided and national interests prevail, if we consider for example the case of Libya’s intervention in 2011, in which Great Britain and France posture prevailed over Italy’s interests. Europe should overcome internal imbalances.    

4) How should Germany and France among others respond to these reforms?  

Germany and France should take into account these reforms, seeing them not only like a challenge but an occasion to a concrete transformation of Europe, reforming the idea of this Union of countries. Historical bases of Europe are now challenged by a different world context, a multi-polar one, in which a divided Europe could be weaker and without future. Also in France there are problems with the economic severe approach adopted by Germany. These countries should recognize the need of a difficult compromise with nations like Greece, otherwise the European project could really derail.” 



Steven Hansen.

(Publisher and Co-founder of Econintersect, is an international business and industrial consultant specializing in turning around troubled business units; consults to governments to optimize process flows; and provides economic indicator analysis based on unadjusted data and process limitations)

“Logic is not the primary driver of events which will happen in the EU. Pundits love to put down logical arguments and chess moves of all the parties involved – but the ultimate result is mostly emotion driven. From an emotional perspective, it is unclear whether the need to stay together is greater than the desire to divide – but I believe a united Europe will continue to survive in one form or another. 

The failure in the EU is currency related. The Euro may have evolved too early in the unification process. Currency union can only be effective after there is a political union – and the EU is far from a political union. European nationalism still runs strong. I would not place a bet on what will happen to the Euro – but I would bet against a total failure of the Euro.

Europe has a long way to go in its unification process. Europe is impatient, and not waiting for the southern members to equalize to its northern members. A union requires continual support of the weaker members – and ultimately, this is what must occur.

Europe’s model is has to be Canada or the USA. Even today, each of the states, provinces or territories jostle for their position – even after the 150 to 200 years since each country was formed. The real unification of Europe requires many generations.”



Dale Yeager.

(President of SERAPH. He has extensive training in criminal psychology, forensic psychology, sex crimes investigation, and crime scene forensics / procedures and domestic terrorism analysis.)

“1) Is it good overall for Europe to experience these emerging political transformations that economic skeptics, and globalist  seem to highly critic questioning their reforms and agendas?

This is a good thing because the EU is acting like a nation rather than an economic consortium. Some of these reforms such as Greece will be disastrous. The new leadership is pushing a empirically proven failure for an economic system.

-Will Europe divide itself? 

It already has economically i.e UK and Greece and politically Ukraine.

-And are these transformations only shown in economies that show similar characteristics, mostly Mediterranean’ that share differences with Northern European countries? 

No people all over Europe are flexing their Sovereignty muscles.

2) Would a divided Europe benefit Putin in anyway? 

Yes  he is determined to use chaos as a tool for solidifying control.

3) Should Europe unify only its military, but not their economies given the recent circumstances?

Only NATO has any military power, the EU and UN have none.”


rsz_lucas_photo_1 (1)

Lucas Juan Manuel Alonso. 

(PhD Economics (graduated with honours) with specializations in Research in the Management of Organizations (Methods & Techniques) and Investment & Financing, MBA Executives Degrees in International Commerce and Innovation & Management, University of Santiago de Compostela)

“1. Is it good overall for Europe to experience these emerging political transformations that economic skeptics and globalist seem to highly critic questioning their reforms and agendas?

Any democratic emerging political party will always be positive, not only in Europe, but in every part of the world.  Governments ruled by one-party for enormously long periods of time, laws encouraging the establishment of strong bi-partisanship in policy, religious hierarchies exercising their power in the political, university sphere and public life…and similar facts, endanger the democracy quality.  In fact, these kinds of actions (or situations) increase corruption risks endangering country’s long-term democratic transparency, because politicians can place family, relatives and friends into the State or private firms and, thus, in this way they create lobbies that ensure them a large number of unconditional voters, as well as to legislate appropriate laws in order to protect themselves and their clique of collaborators.

-What denomination do these parties represent?

In the case of Europe, these emerging political parties (it would be more appropriate to say: social-political movements) represent a wide socio-economic discomfort as a result of having suffered a long time of painful austerity measures. And, the worst of all this is that austerity measures have failed to achieve their missions, worsening the socio-economic situation in Europe.  For example, despite of austerity measures, in several European countries (mainly peripheral countries) the debt to GDP ratio was going onto a firm upward trajectory creating a possible risk of default. And there are higher unemployment rates, greater social inequalities, poorly-paid work, spending cuts in key government functions such as education, research & development, health… while, at the same time, increased expenditures on public structures which are intended to place people related to political, economic groups…., wasteful of public funds brought about by governments on opaque contracts…and others unproductive public expenditures.

-Will Europe divide itself?

While respecting all opinions voiced, I think that European policy-makers (mainly conservatives and liberals) have made the Euro area looks like an experiment in process rather than a strong socio-economic union based on socio-cultural diversity.  Take, for example, the EURO currency:  Do you understand that a currency backed by the central banks of the Euro zone depreciated so much and so fast against the U$S dollar influenced by the fact that Greece could exit from the EURO? I don’t think so.

From my point of view this sharp depreciation of EURO is a result of disorganization and lack of true leadership in the Euro area, because: Do you understand that the ECB carry out a Quantitative Easing at the worst possible moment? Quantitative Easing was necessary (very necessary) one and half year ago, when the exchange rate was EURO = U$S 1, 38 straining the socio-economic situation in the Euro area, now it is a big mistake which will be extremely damaging to the Euro zone, putting the EURO in danger of losing global confidence.  Let’s think about that Greece exits the Euro currency and its economy rebounds.  This fact could lead to trigger a domino effect across Europe and other Member States may also leave the Euro area.

-And are these transformations only shown in economies that show similar characteristics, mostly Mediterranean’ that share differences with Northern European countries? Obviously, European peripheral countries -Greece, Portugal, and Spain- have suffered the crisis and austerity measures more than other European countries.  European Mediterranean countries based their economic growth mainly in tourism and construction rather than encourage creation of new competitive business-structures.

In the last years these countries tried to gain competitiveness through a strategy of low wages, which from my view is totally inappropriate, because EU should compete through the quality and added value in differentiated products. On average, these countries’ wages are not much higher than those of China. The current EU’s general mindset about labour markets is: “Unemployment is worse than create low wage jobs in places in which these are so desperately needed” This is a central prayer constantly repeated and supported mainly by liberals and conservatives policy-makers.  But, in my view, such a situation can be an option in a few very specific cases, only for short periods of time, and in economies in transition and can never, therefore, be a variable to formulate long-term economic policy.

Thus, it is necessary that working conditions to improve in the medium term, because such improvement will result in a greater competitiveness of the area or country.  Wages must be worthy to improving the living conditions of the people because this fact will lead to the creation of middle classes which would strengthen purchasing power and domestic business structures.  An example of the latter is China, where the social differences have been reduced.  Obviously, there is still a great deal to be done in this area but China has gone from being the world’s factory to become a major consumer, both in the domestic and international markets. The growing middle class is making China more competitive.  We have there an example of the positive effect in reducing huge social inequalities (countries increase its purchasing power, encourage consumption, and gain competitiveness in the international market). We have an opposite example in the European Union countries (mainly peripheral countries) where a policy of low-wages is generating enormous social inequalities and making these countries uncompetitive in global markets when it comes to labour costs.

European peripheral countries need to promote sustainable economic development by creating and/or strengthening of core productive sectors rather than austerity plans and competitiveness based only on tourism/construction, fostering new start-ups and innovative projects…Mediterranean countries’ current situation requires profound changes (very different from the current ones) to leave behind this deep stagnation and achieving socio-economic progress.  Because as a consequence of the global deep crises jointly with inappropriate economic measures and structural reforms, the income gap between a country’s richest and poorest people is enlarging and thus personal safety and rights are under serious threat in these countries, as well as the real entrepreneurial spirit (genuine enterprises) strongly discouraged.  Why am I saying “genuine enterprises”? The answer is very simple: There are many “enterprises and entrepreneurs” arising from political clientelism (cronyism and patronage), and that kind of enterprises and entrepreneurs do not generate wealth and prosperity in their societies because they are not competitive.

2. Would a divided Europe benefit Putin in anyway?

Yes, it is possible because that situation would increase his political and economic powers.  The balance of power will be favourable to Russia because the negotiation power of governments the former Member States would be reduced.  But a question arises, to what extent, in a divide Europe, some former Member States can gain competitive advantages in key areas as a result of having a closer relationship with Russia?

But a divide Europe can be harmful to Russia because Russia is the third trading partner of the EU and the EU is the first trading partner of Russia.  Although in my view, some goods imported (in particular, oil and gas) from Russia into the European Union have bigger switching costs than those goods imported from EU into Russia and, as a consequence of this weak point, European Union becomes more dependent on Russia.  But this situation is offset in part because the EU is the most important investor in Russia; about 75% of Foreign Direct Investment stocks in Russia come from EU Member States.  But at the same time, this large concentration of capital on only one market makes the EU vulnerable and dependent on Russia.  Therefore, at least for me, it is easy to see that EU has bigger switching costs resulting from imported goods and Direct Investment in Russia.

In hypothetical case of a divide Europe, Russia could establish stronger ties and preferential trade arrangements with some former Member States or another possible scenario: Russia, China and South America could provide the core of a new commercial axis and step aside EU.

3. Should Europe unify only its military, but not their economies given the recent circumstances?

Now more than ever, it is necessary a closer unification of Europe, if not, EU could be a project doomed to failure.  Europe needs to recover its culture and welfare state and stop being a reference point about poverty, unemployment, poorly-paid works, huge social inequalities… EU cannot be a straitjacket intended to inhibit the socio-economic progress of Member States but also Member States need to establish an adequate structure to avoid corruption and to fulfill the contractual obligations.

4. How should Germany and France among others respond to these reforms?

In EU, mainly in the Euro area and especially in the Mediterranean countries the situation is tragic: higher unemployment rates, greater social inequalities, child poverty, abject poverty, growing number of food banks, energy poverty, high level of corruption, drastic spending cuts in education, research & development, health and other public necessary services, whilst, paradoxically, at the same time, unnecessary public spending increases (for example unproductive public infrastructure development and bureaucratic wastage), restrictive access to competitive education, higher tax burden on household, temporary and badly paid works… EU needs a society revitalization to protect the middle-classes and it should come from, among other things, a combination of fiscal consolidation improving equity in tax policy and structural reforms that encourage productive sectors rather than austerity plans. EU politicians should really take into account: “Progress of a country must be a balance between economic and human development” “If economic growth is being distributed on just a few people, it will never contribute to the progress of the countries that generate it” “Economic growth is not the goal itself but rather a means to reaching the goal: the progress of a country on all fronts” “Economic growth does not seem to be the problem or the solution, but a fairer distribution of wealth… isn’t it a logical conclusion?”

A key issue for policymakers should be to carry out necessary investments to promote human development with greater equity.  As it says on page 20 of the 2013 Human Development Report: “…Investments in human development are justified not only on moral grounds, but also because improvements in health, education and social welfare are key to success in a more competitive and dynamic world economy…”  In the light of this sentence, I think some important questions need to be considered: What kinds of investments in human development are being carried out in the euro-zone?  Isn’t it a short-sighted policy?  Isn’t it necessary a shift in attitudes?  Can we say that we are on the path of progress?”



Todd Steinmetz.

(He is a homeland security and counterterrorism subject matter expert with significant proven knowledge and practical experience in intelligence analysis, counterterrorism, physical security, and disaster preparedness, management, and response. He holds a Master of Science in Terrorism and Counterterrorism Studies. As an intelligence and security Subject Matter Expert (SME))

“1. Is it good for whom? Depending on who you ask, the Economic problems in Europe are either largely the result of irresponsible social policies in Greece or German greed.  To some degree, both are correct. In their zeal to win popular support, politicians in Greece (and beyond) did write checks the Greek economy simply could not afford and accepted loans it knew it could not cover and to find buyers for its export-based economy, Germany knew it was issuing loans to Greece that the country could not afford to repay. There simply is no “high-ground” in this scenario; both sides are at fault.

That places all involved in a decidedly difficult position. Now the Germans must either agree to live with less by curbing their exports and enacting certain trade/economic reforms, or risk losing the mechanism that provides the free trade zone the German economy relies upon by making default more attractive for EU debtors than austerity. In choosing its path forward, it should be understood that the Greek government simply cannot afford, either economically or politically, to satisfy all of Germany’s current demands or to continue along the current trajectory. Neither can other debtor nations. All of this, of course, must be done amid a rising tide of nationalism in Europe across the political spectrum.

In sum, it does not look good for the EU. Even if they find a short-term solution that kicks the can down the road a bit, the underlying problems would persist, making a replay of this scenario down the line almost inevitable.  Should that short-term deal not “punish” Greece enough for its government’s reckless policies, there is the very real chance EU governments will not only continue their reckless policies, but may default when the bill comes due.

2. A divided Europe certainly benefits Putin; how much so depends on Russia’s ability to allocate resources to exploit the opportunity. If nations, like Greece, begin pulling out of the EU, many might turn to Russia for support; expanding Russian influence within the European sphere.

3. While this approach would certainly appear to provide the strategic benefit without the economic and political confusion. However, some of the factors driving the current economic woes, including the interplay between the haves and the have not’s, would inevitably emerge with any defense deal as well. In reality, a revitalized NATO may be a better option in that regard; particularly if the concern is Russia.

4. The establishment is certainly on notice in Europe. For Germany, accepting some economic reforms and curbs to exports would at least appear more appealing than losing its free trade zone altogether; at least until it is not. As such, to a point, the preservation of the free trade zone created by the EU is of ultimate importance for the Germans. So, they should continue to hold the hard line as a negotiation tactic, but should do so with the understanding it is intended to reach a deal.

For France (and really the rest of Europe) pushing to achieve some type of deal, even if imperfect, to at least forestall the eventual disintegration of the EU would appear prudent. Even then, some of the more problematic policies would still need to be reformed rather quickly, or the can will stop rolling quickly. Should the economic woes continue over the long-term, none of this may matter anyway as the rising tide of nationalism could get so large that the EU becomes politically untenable domestically for its constituent parts.”



Aditya Pandey. 

(Working part-time as an activist for PETA in Bhopal. Also involved in social upliftment through innovation by being a part of UNICEF.Selected as a top tester by the UNICEF-GIS Technical Team.)

“Syriza’s win in Greece underscored the fact that Greeks are in no mood to drink the poison of austerity concocted by their Eurozone creditors. Years of austerity measures have proved futile. A quarter of Greece’s GDP has vanished in thin air, half of its’ youth are sitting in home and growth has unsurprisingly come to a grinding halt.

Austerity measures have hit the poor the hardest.Soup-kitchens can be easily spotted on every nook and corner of the country. Syriza’s pro-poor and anti-austerity stance helped it to an emphatic win over its rivals. It won’t be illogical to compare Alexis Tsipras’ win with Arvind Kejriwal’s thumping victory in Delhi Assembly elections.

Both leaders had a clean message that reached people’s ears. Syriza has sent a clear message to its’ largest creditor, Germany that it won’t be black-mailed any more. People are loving the fact that for first time someone is taking a stand against Germany which was the chief architect of austerity plans that bled Greece dry. I think Syriza’s win has brought much needed respite for poor. It would be great if Syriza could renegotiate the bailout deal and bring to the fore the fact that austerity measures have failed. Obviously, Germany won’t accept this fact because that would undermine Germany’s economic grip over its’ peers.

Ukraine- the center piece of Russia’s political ambitions is spiraling into a full blown crisis. Pro-Russian rebels backed by Russian military have been gaining on Ukraine’s territory. Greece under Syriza has refused to continue sanctions on Russia. This shows a crack in the Eurozone. A divided Europe would serve Putin’s interest more than anyone. Europe had been inactive in lending any help to Ukraine but the recent talks of ceasefire between Putin and Poroshenko brokered by Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande proved otherwise. Germany was concerned that talks in Washington of arming Ukraine could lead to a full blown war. Therefore, it was right for Germany and France to step in. ”



Dr. John Bruni.

(open source intelligence and security consultancy) based in Adelaide, South Australia, formerly served as Special Military Researcher Adviser at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR))

“1) Is it good overall for Europe to experience these emerging political transformations that economic skeptics, and globalist seem to highly critic questioning their reforms and agendas?

These transformations are the inevitable consequence of poor governance at the European national and EU levels. Electorates in established territories are sick of being run by faceless, economically dry EU technocrats in Brussels and now, the compliant and weakened national governments among existing European nation-states are seen as no more that the flaccid intermediaries of the Euro zone. The unfortunate thing for Europe is that the institutions running the Continent have long lost any sense of legitimacy. We are now entering a time of existential crisis for Europe. The still largely subterranean, yet politically influential ‘hard right’ is breaking from its chains and is find more ground among the politically disenfranchised, targeting immigrant groups who are perceived to be taking away jobs and diminishing established European cultural norms. But so is the ‘extreme left’ which is finding fertile ground in recruiting people to resist EU and ‘national’ economic policies that have impoverished the European middle classes, resigned working class families to a life on welfare or permanent un/underemployment.

Then we have the separatist groups. Whether from Scotland, Spain, Italy or elsewhere, these groups are the new ‘political centre’. Finding succor in the ancient sub-national identities that ruled European politics and society for millennia, separatist groups are anti-state because the nation-state in Europe is weak, penetrated by lofty, unworkable, poorly executed, ‘centralized’ planning from Brussels. In a supreme irony the Continent of Europe looks sick and tired because those running the EU institutions are creating for themselves a ‘New Byzantium’. In another irony, Europe only thrived when empires, kingdoms, principalities, and later, nation-states, were masters of their own fate. Savage wars were fought for the right to retain this sense of freedom.

Now, 24 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Europe’s last major threat to centralize the Continent by force, Western Europe has successfully created a new centralizing mechanism, the EU. No war was threatened or acted upon to create this centralized mechanism, only the promise to enrich everyone, no matter what country they came from, by breaking down traditional mercantilism, and internal barriers to free trade. However, in this new experiment to centralize and streamline Europe, ‘the people’, the non-elite, do not feel connected to ‘Eurocratic’ aspirations and are tapping into their revolutionary heritage. To the EU ‘aristocracy’ the European people, whether Greek, Italian or German are mere pawns in their strategic calculations. This situation can only end in chaos and carnage.

– What denomination do these parties represent?

A wide spectrum of the disadvantaged and disenfranchised.

-Will Europe divide itself?

Yes, it has to. The current configuration will be continually attacked from within leaving the EU, a ‘democratic institution’ with few good choices. Either bribe the biggest threats in the hope they will simply go home and have a good life, or create for itself a repressive instrumentality that will be the 21st Century equivalent of the Gestapo or the KGB. Given current national security laws and their intrusive nature, ostensibly designed to keep us safe from the ‘Muslim threat’, that latter option may evolve as the only real option for a fracturing Europe. It is after all unlikely that the ‘Eurocracy’ in Brussels will ever own up to its role in tearing contemporary Europe apart, reform themselves to be less onerous or vote themselves out of a job. Eventually a violent show down has to happen for a new order and sustainable stability to re-emerge.

-And are these transformations only shown in economies that show similar characteristics, mostly Mediterranean’ that share differences with Northern European countries?

Europe has never been a homogeneous entity, socially, politically or economically. Its heterogeneity is carved into its genes. Historically many have tried to corral the highly competitive diversity of Europe into one centralized basket. The last three attempts in the modern era were Napoleonic France, NAZI Germany and the USSR. These attempts were by force of arms, and in the latter case, because of nuclear weapons, by subterfuge. But all failed since all attempts at centralization failed to realize that Europeans would in time rebel against being homogenized into a French, German or Russian political and cultural subset.

This sort of centralization can only really have legitimacy among people who share common language, culture and religious affiliation, say in the mould of the late 19th Century empires. Today’s EU suffers from coming to grips with this reality as well. While unity in the EU was based on nation-states voluntarily subsuming much of their sovereignties to Brussels, in the hope of superseding nation-states as principle organizing structures, every member-state to the EU had vast differences in economic wealth, industrial capacity and agricultural output and therefore, economic potential. You might be able to adjust the figures on fancy computer spreadsheets to say otherwise, but one cannot escape this reality on the ground. Contemporary Europe is rife with differences. Differences in means of production, labor laws, efficiency in production, business culture and these divisions are stark between northern and southern Europe. One can hope that redistributing wealth from the richer to the poorer economies can flatten out some of these differences, but this policy setting cannot change people, their work ethics and habits, many of them formed over centuries of dealing with highly localized issues.

2) Would a divided Europe benefit Putin in anyway?

Europe’s natural state historically is to be divided. The Hapsburgs tried forging a Europe-wide empire 1440-1780. Napoleon tried 1799-1815 through military force and Adolf Hitler 1939-45. For much of the Cold War, 1947-91, Europe stood on the precipice of being absorbed or conquered by the Soviet Union. From 1993-2015, the European Union forged a process of voluntary unification by using trade and economics rather than war. The problem with the latter experiment was that all European nation-states who signed up to the EU project essentially did so in order to help the nation-state survive.

The EU technocrats on the other hand came from a position that the most destabilizing entity was the nation-state. Does this situation give Putin advantage? Perhaps. But memories of Russian occupation of Eastern Europe during the Cold War are still fresh. Franco-German co-operation, while the bedrock of a stable Western Europe, has its own problems. Britain wants to maintain a sense of splendid isolation from Continental politics. It seems that this fractured underbelly only serves to heighten America’s attractiveness as a hedge against Russian machinations for most European countries.

3) Should Europe unify only its military, but not their economies given the recent circumstances?

Europe should do neither. A divided Europe only gives an external (or internal European power) temporary advantage. Washington and Russia during the Cold War felt frustration in dealing with their own sections of Europe. No continental hegemon ever enjoyed total control. Soviet leaders, Hitler and Napoleon managed restive populations that were never entirely comfortable with being the ‘underdog’. The Hapsburgs had to contend with forever shifting alliances and counter alliances to keep on top.

Therefore, letting European states remain free and independent is almost a guarantee for their survival. A balance of power model whereby the largest and most influential states exert the greatest influence on European affairs is a more geopolitical natural setting for the Continent. Sometimes the mechanism will fail and lead to wars or skirmishes, but in doing so cultural and political independence remains and this ‘rebalancing’ may lead to renewal.”



Prof. Nake Kamrany.

(He  is an eminent Afghan-American development economist with superior experience in economic development who is held in high esteem by the international development community, Afghan leaders, scholars, the private sector and intellectuals. He is one of the founders of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, Nebraska.)

“You have certainly raised pointed questions about Europa issues.  However, the Europeans Havre reached a political. social  and economic maturity to resolve difference through diplomatic means and move forward.

My concern lies with relations between U.S. and Western European countries on the one hand and those of the  Islamic  countries of the Middle East including ISIS, THE TALIBAN and many other autonomous and indigenous groups.

The real problem is not only communication but it is structural.  I am dubious about the current approach of using drones and airpower to subdue the opposition.  It is clear that they are retaliating although they are sustaining enormous damages in blood and wealth.

My concern is that the situation will extend into the long term future  as it did in Afghanistan  where the U.S. was engaged for 14 years and it is continuing.  Part of the structural differences is the cultural dissonance.  When members of the family of the villagers are killed by air-power and drones a sense of revenge is created and that sense could go on for a long time.  There is also no doubt that many innocent villagers are being  killed , maimed and their properties are destroyed.

It follows that the west must go back to the drawing board and re-examine how a political resolution could be found possibly substitute the prevailing intractable wars and terrorism  in several countries.  It can be done but it will take vision, leadership, cultural differences  and an assessment of the art of the possible.  Instead of killing them let us try persuading, educating, and giving peace a chance.”

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