Economic reforms in Europe

Christian Kern argues that while there are important problems with European institutions, the current legitimacy crisis has much more to do with the failure to provide prosperity, progress and modernization. Thus the only way to regain trust is to protect people from the social dislocations of globalization. Reinhard Bütikofer and Philippe Lamberts agree that Europe’s economy has seen better days, and argue for a paradigm shift towards a people-oriented economy—an economy that empowers people, builds sustainable competitiveness, and pursues inclusiveness and fairness instead of exclusion and social division. This is difficult since, as Harry Blain writes, European politicians continue to get in and out of the “revolving doors” of financial elites. Even if no law or regulation is broken, the appearance of conflicts of interest in public office matters for their credibility.

The divisions of Brexit

Fraser Cameron believes that there still is a way to avoid Brexit, by calling a referendum the day after the negotiations with the EU are over. If this results in a “hard Brexit” it is fair, he argues, that citizens get the final say on a deal which may be much worse for them than what they were led to believe. This position, according to Denis MacShane, is shared by many “Pro-European Refuseniks”, who reject a vote involving 37% of the electorate and tarnished by lies, and seek a new vote once the full details of what will happen to Britain emerge. But public opinion is divided on the matter. “Cautious Adaptors” are those believing that the referendum is the final word on the matter. “Worried Uncertains” are against it, but they do not know how to change public opinion for a deal that keeps full economic access to Europe. “Triumphant Brexiteers”, finally, are urging immediate Brexit.

Tackling the refugee crisis

Simon Parker condemns the new rhetoric of Theresa May, who framed “mass movements of people” as “threats” to be countered, alongside war, global terrorism and climate change. The fact that she is a unwilling to understand that no one chooses to be a refugee and that those least able to protect themselves deserve our love, care and protection reveals that this is not a crisis of immigration, but a crisis of inhumanity. Kirsteen Shields believes that within the refugee crisis lies a bigger problem: a rule of law crisis. Greece is compelled by lack of resources to commit human rights violations in three directions: 1) in deporting of refugees to an unsafe country; 2) in the inadequate resourcing of camps; and 3) in the inability to provide effective administration to process asylum and family reunification claims. The UN Summit for Migrants and Refugees promised to step up its efforts to turn the tide on the global refugee crisis. Resourcing and restoring legal infrastructures in Greece should be amongst their first concern. Timor Sharan observes gravely that in any case forced repatriation does not work. Returnees do not necessarily stay in their country of origin once deported, because outflows are the inevitable fallout of failed states. There is no quick fix to the refugee crisis and Europe’s current short-term response is counterproductive.

This Ideas Monitor is by Giulia Bistagnino and Carlo Burelli

Photo Credits CC: Chris Hartford 

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