Home Covid, NATO, Migrants… Flashback to all European crises

GEAB 149

The monthly bulletin of LEAP (European Laboratory of Political Anticipation) - 15 Nov 2020

Covid, NATO, Migrants… Flashback to all European crises

As the media heralds the Democrat candidate’s victory in the US presidential election, Europe is going through another of the great hallucinations that we described last month in the GEAB: “Under Biden, America is back and the world is saved!” And the good news is piling up, starting with the discovery of a miracle vaccine by the US laboratory Pfizer (developed by the German company Biontech in a great symbol of the ‘reunification’ of the two sides of the North Atlantic, supposedly).[1] A few days after the announcement, the stock market rallied.[2] We are therefore going to return to the wonderful world that prevailed before 2016 (before Trump’s election)… A wonderful world of financial crises (2008), wars in the Middle East (Syria 2011), Cold War mentalities (Ukraine 2014), large population exoduses (migrants 2015), the disintegration of the EU (Brexit 2016), etc. It’s as if history had a rewind button after all.

The ‘return to reality’ trend highlighted last month will therefore soon resume its course. But this reality is becoming clearer and will, in our opinion, take the form of a vast reminder of all the crises that Europe has suffered in recent years and even older ones that have only been partially solved: a series of second (rogue) waves. [3]

The shocks that Europe and the world are about to experience is a topic that runs throughout this very dark issue of GEAB. As to this first article, it aims to show the degree to which Europe is exposed to these multi-directional ricochets of these crises.

Europe, crossroad of the world

In 2020, the continent most exposed to the winds of world history is admittedly Europe. The global systemic crisis that we have been describing for the last 15 years is unravelling history, a history that is more European than American, not least because the USA is a European creation in the first place.

In 2006, when the GEAB began its work on the ‘global systemic crisis’, it clearly announced ‘the end of the West as we had known it since 1945’. However, we have often noticed that what is coming to an end now went beyond this relatively short period and related to a longer page in history, the one opened by Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries with the  Age of Discovery.

All the transformative waves that Europe has sent out across the planet for a good half millennium are about to return to it in a boomerang, in our opinion.

Yes, Europe is the heart of the history of the last 500 years! Yes, this obvious conclusion is about to resurface. But no, contrary to the positive anticipation of a return to Europe that we put forward in the GEAB in June, this is not just good news!

The first reason is that Europe stopped consolidating its project of union when the Wall fell 30 years ago, choosing to become a free trade area rather than a political union. As a result, it has not transformed itself in such a way as to be able to face up to its great responsibilities, given its historical role, in the immense global systemic transition of the last decade.

Europe with wind in its sails

This obvious role that the European level had to play in order to dock the continental ship in the middle of a storm is revealed by the current pandemic. And indeed, we see two women, Christine Lagarde and Ursula van der Leyen, working hard to come up with a thousand and one ideas: to give the EU a new meaning through a Green Deal, [4] to build a resilient Europe, [5] to build a Europe of health, [6] to emancipate the continent by implementing the digital euro, [7] to complete the Banking Union and launch a Capital Markets Union, [8] to create a “single window” for the Customs Union[9]

And it works!

. The dissidence already seems to be receding, starting with Great Britain which, as we predicted last March, [10] is now ready to make all the compromises so that we don’t abandon it, up to excluding the architect of Brexit, Dominic Cummings, from 10 Downing Street. [11]

. The first eurobonds issued by the ECB at the end of October were a resounding success: while the ECB issued 17 billion euros, orders exceeded 233 billion! [12]

. The Euro-Parliament is on the verge of accepting the €750 billion recovery plan that was painfully negotiated this summer. [13]

. Italy, Spain and Poland have just received the first European aid (17 billion on the SURE programme). [14]

. And so on.

Question: Who knows about this?

The limits of the European cash-machine

LEAP recently asked itself the following question: “Is Generation Europe still European? » [15]. After three decades of contempt by the European elites, the Generation-X, which had seized the project of consolidation of Europe that was open to it at the end of the 1980s, has thrown in the towel, and has done so for at least fifteen years. As a result, there are still no Euro-citizens, no European parties, no European media of any significant size, not even trans-European elections worthy of the name… and so the European Commission is currently acting above ground, in utmost public indifference.

The fairly evenly distributed impact of the pandemic is currently putting everyone in agreement on activating the European cash machine (as it happens in case of a war), but is this enough to strengthen the ties between Europeans? Certainly not: the States keep control of their livestocks, ever more distant and ignorant of the realities of the authorities and mechanisms that run them, and do what they want with the money, like Poland which has just ordered 18 billion euros of nuclear power station from the Americans, [16]  to the great disappointment of France, one can imagine. [17] Faced with the risk of a lasting slowdown in the European economy, it is also worth asking whether there will be money for everyone for a long time and at what point in time will tensions start to mount over obtaining funds: just as hospitals are already announcing that they will have to choose the mother of four children to the detriment of the elderly when all the beds are taken, will access to European funds soon turn into a free-for-all?

Especially since Europe is not ready to stop having to issue/find money, between aids linked to the pandemic, [18] the cost of the green transition over the next ten years, [19] the amount of investments in the Europe of health, [20] the rearmament of K. Mitsotakis’ Greece, [21]the indirect financing of the American economy[22]  that we will speak about later on…


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