Brexit, Xi in Italy, Suspension of Fidesz: A look at last week shows what forces are working on this continent.
Nothing is more stupid than the demand that we now urgently need more Europe, or the opposite: that it is now high time for less Europe. More or less Europe – nobody can choose that anymore. Europe is simply a matter of course in all its political, economic and social power.
Of course, the populists love to trivialize this Europe and imprison its citizens in the snail shell of nation states. On the other hand, the fantasists are raving about the European state and the great equality from Syracuse to Inari. Both camps pretend that Europe can be reinvented overnight, as if living in a nasty haunt, which could suddenly fly away and clear the way for a tremendous imagination.
This is of course mischief. A look at the past European week shows what powers are working on this continent, how citizens, institutions, parties, economies and the fate of entire states are inextricably interwoven. What does the European People's Party, the union of Christian-conservative parties, stand for? What enormous educational effect does this party alliance have on the populist Viktor Orbán, who in turn is solely interested in his economic survival and the connection of Hungary to this wonder weapon internal market? Or Great Britain, this dramatic self-discovery process of a deeply irritated country: Europe is the standard, whether the Brexiteers want to admit it or not. Chinese President: Xi Jinping is launching his fishing rod – and the Italian Government is biting. The first G-7 state that wants to subordinate itself to the Chinese economic order – if it were not for Europe. The EU forces Italy to see. European rules and Chinese Silk Road laws do not harmonize. And lo and behold: Italy and even China submit. Europe develops muscles.
The list goes on: 5G in Germany, Google in the antitrust case, the Bosnian Serb leader in court – without Europe, nothing would be, with Europe growing in importance. The union of 28 states into a legal and community of values has become an undeniable power factor in the world, the relevance of which increases the longer Donald Trump governs in Washington or Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
By the election day in about nine weeks (and of course beyond), this Europe will go through the biggest test of its well-60-year existence. The European elections will be the final exam for a continent that wants to save the idea of liberal democracy and multilateralism. The peaceful interaction of states, a wise give and take, business for the benefit of all – this is the successful construction of the EU, which will be tested as never before in their history by their opponents.
Therefore, the SZ will accompany this European election in great intensity and bundle once a week the most important European topics in a newsletter. That's why in the printed newspaper, on SZ.de and in the digital SZ, in podcasts, videos and multimedia narratives, we'll talk about the election campaign, the big issues of the moment and the ideas for the future. Here you can register for SZ Europe: