As we approach week four of Trump’s arrival to the international scene, much remains unclear. Despite this murkiness, we can discern two important aspects of Trump’s victory for Europe and for federalists. First, the geopolitical consequences of his presidency on European external action and second the ideological developments symbolised by his election.
For one year I have now been living in Scotland’s capital Edinburgh, home to haggis and kilts. I came to take a four-week English course, but I stayed because of a city so full of history where the sea and the mountains live together just as the Scottish live together with lots of people from Spain and Italy, and I decided to stay without deciding on when I would return.
Directives are in a sense the lightest form of EU legislation. As opposed to regulation and decisions, directives aren’t binding per se. The purpose of directives is to set a legislative goal that each member has to reach in the way that suits local circumstances the best. One could say that directives are the legislative instrument which combines the efforts of Member States and EU institutions the most.
Internal market, common currency, common borders and perhaps even a common European Constitution. Europe has never been as united as it is today. Nevertheless, according to several enthusiasts this is still not enough and dreams of a united continent should continue further and include the creation of the EU army.
For almost the entire first half of the 20th century, Europe was subjected to great crises and tensions, which had their maximum expression in two big world wars. The first one brought the break-up of two great empires, the Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman. The second one, Europe’s division into two big blocs: a democratic, capitalist and free bloc, and one subjected to a great empire, the Russian, leader of the communist ideology that caused so much suffering and oppression to our continent.
Europe is divided against itself. While the migration crisis has taken the spotlight, the rift between Northern Europe and Southern Europe is still a very real problem. What do these two halves of Europe share aside from a geographic continent? And how should European Federalists try to fight the divisions in Europe?
A while ago, I wrote about the event organised by European Movement Finland where the impact of Jean Monnet and Altiero Spinelli on European integration was discussed. The event was a part of a series of EU-related discussions. The second event of the series featured Tapio Raunio, Professor in Political Science from the University of Tampere and Petros Fassoulas, the Secretary General of European Movement International.
This year has been particularly challenging for democracy in the EU. Surely the Referendum in Greece on 5th of July regarding the Memorandum Agreement has been the highest point of this difficult year, which is going to end with another challenge. Some weeks ago a Dutch Eurosceptic platform managed to achieve enough signatures to trigger an advisory referendum on the EU-Ukraine.
’Among peoples who are geographically grouped together like the peoples of Europe there must exist a sort of federal link. It is this link which I wish to endeavour to establish’ is a famous statement of Aristide Briand, Prime Minister of France during the French Third Republic and co-laureate of the 1926 Nobel Peace Prize. Even though nearly one century has lapsed since then, we have to say that this citation is still very current despite the relatively successful integration process on the old continent over the last sixty years.
I recently participated in an event organised by European Movement Finland where the heritage of EU founding fathers, particularly that of Jean Monnet and Altiero Spinelli, was discussed. At the event that took place in Helsinki, Teija Tiilikainen from the Finnish Institute of International Affairs and Timo Miettinen from the Network for European Studies at the University of Helsinki shared their thoughts about the past and the present of the European Union. One of the main questions addressed by the speakers was, to what extent have the ideas of the founding fathers been put into practice?