Even though one doesn’t want to be pessimistic, the facts make it quite simply impossible not to. Beyond encouraging statistics, the economic reality is not good enough eight years after the 2008 financial crisis and five years after the 2011 sovereign debt crisis to assess that Europe could survive any new major negative development.
Economic growth is certainly better but remains weak overall considering the favorable external factors over the last two years: theoretical full-employment in the United States, sharp drop in the price of oil and many other raw materials, weakening of the euro (EUR) against the dollar (USD).
The “new mediocre” is ongoing in spite of the ECB’s ultra-accommodative monetary policy, the significant cost of which will be borne by the next generations. Unemployment has declined overall but it remains very high or even endemic especially among young people in major economies of Europe such as France, Italy and Spain.
The migratory crisis is aggravating and while thousands of illegal entries of young non-European men – 87% of whom are not fleeing war zones – are jeopardizing the fragile European equilibrium, Turkey has threatened to send 3 million more “migrants” to Europe if its citizens weren’t granted visa-free entry into the European Union (EU).
To such powerlessness taken very badly by European citizens exasperated by what they’re rejecting as “Brussels’ inertia” has grown a terrorist threat of unprecedented magnitude. Worse, “populism” would be threatening democracy, but rather than immediately taking common sense basic measures, European leaders are continuing policies whose results do constitute a real threat to Europe’s future contrary to European citizens’ legitimate anger.
Defenseless, commercially mistreated, authentic “security and border strainer”, Europe is a boat adrift buffeted by the violent winds of a dream that became a nightmare. However, such a great potential exists for Europe to become again the beacon of civilization tomorrow. Europe must therefore break with idealism and get back to realism.