Magazine article The Middle East

New EU Dynamics Could Unsettle the World

Magazine article The Middle East

New EU Dynamics Could Unsettle the World

Article excerpt

Within the UK debate over whether Britain is better of in Europe or out of the EU alliance continues to rage. Journalist Mustapha Karkouti writes in Gulf News how he believes that if Britain decides to opt out of the Union--possibly followed by smaller European states--it will ?lead to fracturing of the EU and have repercussions beyond the continent.

It is no exaggeration to say that the European Union (EU) countries are currently facing a task of multi-historic dimensions for the first time since the mid-1950s political initiative saw the birth of the joint European action planning.

Following acute differences in security challenges recently, the world's largest and most promising single trading group is struggling with yet another, but a much bigger challenge.

Having to face up to massive bailouts, not least to Greece, to fight off the threat of the Eurozone collapsing over the last few years, as well as serious security issues emanating from attacks in Paris and Brussels by individuals linked to Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and Al Qaida, Europe seems to be now on the verge of taking steps to reshape its future.

If EU, as we knew it for the last three decades, is to disintegrate, or even to individually re-adjust to suite interests of each single member-state, it will have unprecedented implications for world politics and regional stability, including the Arab region at large and far beyond.

In question, primarily, is the massive number of refugees, including asylum seekers, as migrants arriving in Europe by land (through Turkey) and sea (through Greece) do not appear to show signs of slowing down, pushing the Balkan states, or the so-called Visegrad Group as well as Austria, to urgently demand taking steps to re-write EU membership rules.

The flood of migrants into Europe has had unsettling repercussions throughout the EUEven Britain, the second largest economy and population in Europe, well-known of its historic, though controversial, ties with the Middle East, is renegotiating its EU membership rules.

The country's Prime Minster, David Cameron, has called for a vote of an in or out referendum on June 23. No one knows how Britain's vote will go, but whatever the outcome, it seems the time has dawned on the EU to face the challenge of downsizing rather than enlargement for the first time since its foundation. The Visegrad Group, also known as Visegrad Four, or V4, is an alliance of four Central European countries: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. This group was originally set up for the purposes 'of furthering their European integration', in addition to their military, economic and energy cooperation with one another. Visegrad means High Castle and it is the name of a Hungarian castle town where the group was originated.

In the wake of the collapse of Communism, the establishment of V4 was declared by a summit meeting on February 1991 of the heads of Czechoslovakia (before its dissolution in 1993 into Czech and Slovakia) Hungary and Poland. All four states jointly acquired membership of the EU in May 1 2004.

Now the V4 and Austria are collectively discussing moving forwards to establish their own vision of what kind of an EU they would like to be in. This has attracted an angry reaction from Greece who recalled its ambassador in Vienna on Thursday 'for consultation'. …

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