Given how much hopes were placed in the European Union at its inception, especially in its ability to raise the living standards of all those who had great hopes placed in the disappearing of borders, there is today only doubts. All that was once praised about tariffs, currency barriers, in short all that was said to bring collective prosperity and ensure a more prosperous future across affiliated states is now in doubt. That the President of the European Council in charge of all the arrangements, Donald Trusk, has urgent misgiving about the European Union itself surviving if Great Britain exits should serve as warning ( Traynor& Watt, 2016). How inequality may be addressed within the current arrangement is hard to say, and depends greatly to how those at the bitter end of inequality react. How we got to this crisis may be easier to describe, and that is the theme at this essay, focusing, especially on the freedom of goods and people, the core values of the European Union, which is at stake in light of the growing inequality shredding the bonds among nations.
The European Union, like the rest of the world, suffered a severe financial crisis about 2008 which turned into a prolonged and unsettling period in the real economy featuring a sovereign debt crisis which found is gravest expression in Greece’s inability to repay its debts, and subsequent impositions of hard conditions on the indebted and poor country already flooded with refugees. Not only Greece, but Italy and Spain have been left behind by the more prosperous members causing bitterness and divisions, and inevitably the thought of exiting the European Union if it is not possible to redistribute wealth better among member nations. In sum, excessive freedom for banks to lend and nations to borrow has destroyed national economies leaving enormous power of both economic and political nature under the control of financial elites that have left the poor across Europe ever more poor and impoverished ( Tirado, 2016). This competition for markets threatens the free-flow of goods, while the free flow of people is threatened from another direction
We got to a period of crisis as well because we had been at war, and that is very expensive, disruptive, and simultaneously lights all that is unequal in societies, leading daily to explosive situations across Europe. Over a million refugees are knocking at the gates of Europe from war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan. The first country they come to is an economically troubled member of the European Union, Hungary, which does not want them, and is building walls to keep them out. Denmark is seizing their assets, and Sweden proposes to deport them. At stake is the Schengen Agreement, signed in 1985, promising that workers from poorer member countries the ability to travel, work in wealthier countries and send their earnings to support their families back home. In fact, to return to the British referendum, at issue whether to exit or rather Brexit the European Union, referring to its Brussels headquarters, it is precisely this flow of humanity deepening social divisions that causes problems (Savio, 2016)
Britain under its Prime Minister Cameron wants to reduce benefits for migrants from the European Union and stop paying benefits for those who leave their children at home. In Great Britain as elsewhere, inequalities bring about nationalism and xenophobia, allowing those who brought about the financial crisis by domestic underinvestment escape attention and punishment. There need be effort made by making needed investment to regain the trust of the economically and socially disadvantaged or else their alienation will lead to antidemocratic parties of the left and the right to gaining political power. It may be that investment in culture, social programs, the environment and infra-structure may pay off better than the current investment in war which creates only more refugees and still greater inequality.
- Savio, Robert ( 16 February 2016). “Europe is disintegrating while its citizens watch indifferent”, Interpress News Services , Retrieved from www.ipsnews.net/…/europe-is-disintegrating-while-its-citizens-watch-indi.. (Accessed February16, 2016).
- Tirado, Ignacio. (2012). Sovereign Insolvency in the Euro Zone Public and Private Law Remedies. Retrieved from Social Science Research Network, https://www.uam.es/otros/afduam/documentos/SSRN-id2186730-3.pdf (Accessed February16, 2016).
- Traynor Ian& Watt, Nicholas (15 February 2016). “Risk of EU breakup is real, Tusk warns ahead of crucial summit ,” The Guardian Online. Retrieved from http:// The Guardian. (Accessed February16, 2016).