The rise of the far right and far left, a crumbling European Union, economic crisis, terrorism, the refugee and the migrant crisis are the highlights of the many problems faced in Europe today. The next five years are perhaps the most crucial years in the history of Europe. By the year 2022 or five years from now. It will be absolutely clear what is the fate of Europe in the 21st century.
Europe at the moment has been hit by a massive wave of change. Populist movements from both the right and the left are changing the political landscape of the continent. The refugee and the migrant crisis add more fuel to the changing political landscape and it is also producing a major shift in Europe demographically.
Along with this Brexit has not only stimulated the euro-skeptics, but is also changing the diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union. Hence, European Union is battling its biggest battle for survival in its entire history.
Such factors combined challenges the current status quo, which is actually not the European Union itself. The current status quo establishment in Europe, are the pro Atlantisit (or pro American) policy makers. “Saying yes to the Americans” is the policy on which the establishment of Europe is based on, the European Union is just a part of it.
As I have said earlier that the next five years are the decisive phase of Europe’s fate in the 21st century. These political, demographic, economic and social crisis were based on the mistakes of the current European establishment. Therefore, the European public out of discontent is preparing a revolt against the pro Atlantist European establishment. So lets now take a look at possible scenarios Europe might face by 2022.
Europe Without The European Union
This is a total collapse scenario and a collapse in a period of five years means a rapid decline. However, the probability of this is very low. In this scenario by 2022, Europe will witness the complete collapse of the European Union.
The collapse will probably be triggered if a euro-skeptic political bloc might come to power in European countries by either victory in general elections or triggering snap elections by causing civil unrest. Even if they don’t come to power, with populist movements causing anarchy and large scale agitation against the government. They can force their governments to hold a Brexit type referendum.
Therefore, if due to such situations. During the next five years, two or three EU member states will leave the union. The union will collapse rapidly. This will cause a major economic crisis and make Europe vulnerable to many international risks.
Internally, many internal disputes in European countries will get hot. For example, in recent years, tensions between Belgium’s two major regions Wallonia and Flanders, have been increasing side by side. In such a scenario the tensions between Wallonia and Flanders can suddenly go to the next level, resulting the break up of Belgium.
Moreover, external threats like terrorism and the clash of superpowers can further harm Europe. In a divided Europe for the terrorists an opportunity is provided to easily target major European cities. This can cause an increase in terrorist attacks, activity and recruitment of European citizens in terrorist organizations. However, terrorism will be not the only threat. An even bigger threat can be the room and space for the major world powers to clash in Europe for influence. Remember that Ukraine is already a battle ground for the proxy war between the United States of America and Russia.
A major economic crisis can be caused due to the sudden collapse of the euro. Many European countries will take quick decisions on the replacement of the euro. Resulting in confused monetary polices. Such crisis directly lead to political turmoils. Many European nations might face coups or authoritarian leadership in their countries. In short in a such scenario Europe will be in multiple major crisis, divided and mostly under nationalist governments.
The most important factor is that in such a scenario will Europe be pro Atlantist (pro USA and UK) or pro Eurasia (Russia and China). Well, in such a scenario, it depends what type of policies the euro-skeptic present. If the euro-skeptic will get on board with Eurasia (like Italy, Poland and Hungary), there will be hope for Europe to enter a rapid recovery phase. However, if the euro-skeptic will continue pro Atlantist policies (like the United Kingdom) and replace euro with the dollar. Europe, will then enter a dark period for a long time.
European Union Remains And Drops Pro Atlantist Policies
This is the best possible scenario for Europe. In this scenario the European Union will recognize its mistakes and work hard to solve them. For example, the European Union will make the EU’s bureaucracy, less complicated and more transparent for the people of Europe.
Moreover, the European Union will be now able to “say no to the Americans”. The EU will be able to disagree and criticize the United States of America on economic, social and political issues. Europe will stop dancing to America’s tune and will put the interest of the people of Europe first.
By saying no to the Americans, putting European interests first and making the EU more transparent. The EU will be able to break the far right wing populist movement’s momentum. Whereas, due to such acts many far left euro-skeptic will get on board with the EU again.
Turning away from America does not mean EU has to turn something like pro Russia. However, the EU has to drop its current brutal and one sided anti Russia media campaign. The EU should not be either pro or anti Russia. They should develop a neutral policy towards Russia. Instead of being pro Russia, they should be pro Eurasia. By establishing neutral ties with Russia, increasing economic activity with China and establishing new diplomatic relations with Central Asian countries.
If by 2022, Europe succeeds to do this. Then the European Union will remain and turn out to be even stronger than before. The euro will remain and will challenge the US dollar. Tensions with Russia will be lowered. Since the EU will be on board the Eurasian train. For Russia a stable European Union will become a national interest. The EU market will get exposed and expand into the Central Asian markets. Moreover, the euro-skeptic movement will be fully crushed and the rise of the far right will turn into a sudden decline.
European Union Remains And Keeps Pro Atlantist Policies
This is the worst scenario that Europe can end up with in the next five years. This scenario is even worse than a total collapse scenario. In this scenario, Europe will continue its pro Atlantist policies and instead of putting efforts to correct their own mistakes. They will continue to blame Russia for almost everything!
By walking on this path the EU and the euro will exist in 2022. Europe will avoid a rapid decline and the European Union will remain. However, Europe will enter a slow decline or death by a thousand cuts.
Continuing pro Atlantist policies will make Europe directly linked with the United States of America. Which means Europe’s foreign and economic policies will be dominated by Washington. This means Europe will enter deeper in the war games produced by the United States of America. Europe will then be directly involved in the US-China trade war and tensions with Russia will further escalate.
Hence, Europe’s fate will be totally depended upon the Americans. Russia, China and Central Asia will consider Europe a rival (a direct enemy in some cases) rather than a partner. Europe will be blocked in the newly developed Eurasian markets dominated by Russia and China.
Moreover the far right and far left populist movements will eventually establish a permanent strong hold in different European countries. Terrorism will continue to grow more, as a blow back from the conflicts in the Middle East. The euro will remain, but will slowly decline and will not challenge the US dollar at all.
By 2022, the EU and euro will exist in a very sick condition. However, eventually will collapse in the next decade. This slow collapse will be even more horrific than a rapid collapse. Since, Europe continued to completely side with the Americans and in a post USA world. Russia, China and other Eurasian countries will completely neglect the majority of the Western European countries.
The chances of the first scenario of a rapid decline are very low and can only occur if there is a twist in the tale. The second or third scenarios is likely to occur in Europe with in the next five years.
This means the EU will exist. However, it is a choice of accepting the new multi polar world and getting aligned with Eurasia or continuing the old uni polar world order’s policies. By completely taking the American side.
The reason why I have recently become an optimist of Europe and the European Union is because recently Europe has shown signs of alignment with Eurasia. For example, recently Germany, France and the EU its self had criticized the United States on the new sanctions imposed on Russia. Since in those anti Russia sanctions, Europe is being hurt more than Russia.
The new anti Russian sanctions purposed by the United States, calls to abandon the Nord Stream energy project with Russia. Hence, due to this Europe will be forced to be dependent upon the United State’s energy market.
Moreover, The EU has recently criticized United States handling of the crisis in the Korean peninsula. Europe cleverly in the name of Donald Trump, has started to say no to the Americans. The recent record fine for Google imposed by the EU, shows Europe is brave enough to challenge giant American corporations. A record multi billion free trade deal with Japan also indicates on Europe’s shift from the west to the east.
Europe has started to show signs of leaving pro Atlantist policies. However, these signs are still not enough to prove that Europe has left the pro Atlantist ideology. Since, European politics is still today heavily dominated by pro American policies.
If by 2022, the EU decides to undo its mistakes and drops the pro Atlantist policies. Then, instead of a decline a new chapter will start for Europe. However, if by the end of the next five years. Europe decides to completely bracket itself with the United States. Then they should prepare for the ultimate political, social and economic disaster.