Home 2014-2020: A Mutating Europe

GEAB Special file

The monthly bulletin of LEAP (European Laboratory of Political Anticipation) - 14 Aug 2020

2014-2020: A Mutating Europe

The corona crisis has been the trigger for the EU to finally start issuing common bonds. It was a modest and hard-won step forward. In the midst of the flames, the fire brigade still took 5 days to decide to bring out the big fire hose. That says a lot about the degree of divisions and disagreements among the 27 states, and the imperative to reform the so-called ‘community’ method.

And it was in this context that our team chose the theme of European governance for its special August archives compilation edition. It marks the beginning of the European mutation phase as 2014. The Euro-Russian crisis that defined this year would considerably accelerate the complex and multi-factorial process of division, concurrent with the rise of nationalism that would notably lead to the exit of the United Kingdom.

The common thread running through our analyses of the EU’s transformation is its repolitisation, starting from what it sees as the only legitimate level, the national one. But the originality of our analysis is that we have affirmed from the beginning that the nationalist ‘populists’ would soon undergo two-pronged change: on the one hand, that their theses would be taken up by all the political parties and in particular by the traditional right; and on the other, their growing alliance at the European level, a level of power much more interesting than the national level.

Although the sovereignists currently appear to be more discreet, they nevertheless represent 17% of the European Parliament (not counting those who stricto sensu share their ideas within the EPP), and they are in the middle of a process of gentrification and Europeanisation, as shown by the Marechal-Sofo[1] partnership. Gone are the days of eccentric haircuts and off-putting outward signals.

A gigantic post-COVID economic crisis is going to hit Europe and it is not by chance that the centrist Macron has appointed a government made up of hardliners from Sarkozy’s old right-wing cabinet.[2] But we have not yet seen anything of what the European Parliament could produce in terms of trans-European political will[3]

The fact is that the EU Council’s ‘historic’ negotiations are a drop in the ocean[4] in the face of the ferocity of the looming storm….

Rereading these few excerpts from the GEAB, as selected by our team for this special issue, helps to put the governance shocks that everyone is anticipating back into the right historical perspective.


[1]  Sources: Le Parisien, 18/05/2019 (for the Europeanisation); Valeurs actuelles, 25/07/2020 (for the gentrification)

[2]  Source: RTL, 07/07/2020

[3]  Source: European Parliament, 21/07/2020

[4]  While Europeans are struggling to agree on a $750 billion loan to revive an economy of 500 million people, the Chinese are signing a $400 billion cheque to revive the oil industry in Iran alone.  Source: LiveMint, 15/07/2020


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