pulse of europe demonstration Andreas Arnold/AFP/Getty Images

Opkomen voor Europa

BRUSSEL – De hedendaagse Europese Unie moet zowel gered als opnieuw uitgevonden worden. Het redden van de EU moet voorrang krijgen, want Europa verkeert in levensgevaar. Maar zoals de Franse president Emmanuel Macron heeft benadrukt tijdens zijn verkiezingscampagne, is het nieuw leven inblazen van de steun die de EU ooit genoot niet minder belangrijk.

De existentiële dreigingen waarmee de EU wordt geconfronteerd zijn deels van externe herkomst. De Unie wordt omringd door machten die vijandig staan tegenover haar beginselen – het Rusland van Vladimir Poetin, het Turkije van Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, het Egypte van Abdel Fattah el-Sisi en het Amerika dat Donald Trump zou willen scheppen als hij dat zou kunnen.

Maar de dreigingen komen ook van binnenuit. De EU wordt geregeerd door verdragen die, na de financiële crisis van 2008, grotendeels irrelevant zijn geworden voor de omstandigheden die zich in de eurozone voordoen. Zelfs de eenvoudigste innovaties, die nodig waren om de eenheidsmunt duurzaam te maken, konden alleen maar worden ingevoerd via intergouvernementele arrangementen, buiten de bestaande verdragen om. En toen het functioneren van de Europese instellingen steeds gecompliceerder werd, werd de EU zelf op bepaalde manieren geleidelijk aan disfunctioneel.

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