Serpent's Egg

The Eroticism of Fat Men

Europe’s glory days at an end, warns Juncker

The European Union faces an age of comparative economic decline, while the ‘love’ affair’ of integration is at risk, says Jean-Claude Juncker in downbeat assessment of Europe’s future

Luxembourg, which was headed by Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, has failed to comply with the directiive

The European Union faces long-term economic decline and the “love affair” of integration is at risk, Jean Claude-Juncker has said in a downbeat assessment of the bloc’s future.

“Economically, we see the end of Europe’s glorious years compared with what others are doing,” the president of the European Commission said.

The “dream” of a unified continent is at risk from “fissures and fractures” of national divisions and separatist movements, he said.

“The European Union is not going very well,” Mr Juncker said. “And so we must ensure that we keep alive the ambitions, hopes and dreams of Europe.”

The EU’s share of global output is falling and will soon represent just 15 per cent of worldwide gross domestic product, while 80 per cent of growth is emerging from countries outside the European Union, he said.

David Cameron has pointed to the risk of European decline to push for more ambitious trade deals with the US and Far East, and the removal of national barriers in services and digital technologies, as part of his renegotiation drive.

Others in Brussels argue the cure for economic malaise is radical economic integration to a degree that Britain would never tolerate.

The prospect of demographic, and therefore economic, decline has persuaded some European officials that the refugee crisis is a blessing in disguise.

France's petrol pumps could run dry by Wednesday, industry experts have warned, as airlines told pilots to refuel abroad and the stand-off over pension reform reached crunch pointThe old continent: French workers strike against pension reforms  Photo: REUTERS

Mr Juncker likened the European project to the vale of tears, the Biblical term for the sorrows of life on earth.

“When I’m on another continent, I see eyes shine when those I visit talk about Europe. And when I return to Brussels or Luxembourg, I find myself in a valley of fears, a valle Lacrimarum. We do not know who we are, and we are not proud of the solid achievements of our predecessors.”

In a separate speech to the European People’s Party, Mr Juncker said he would focus on ‘social Europe’ – that is, employment rights – to win the support of “simple” people.

“We can’t lose the people who always believed in us, the simple people who work, who aren’t any less intelligent than the elites. They’ve always supported Europe and it is about reconquering their heart.”

European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans in WaterlooEuropean Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans in Waterloo  Photo: Getty Images

Frans Timmermans, Mr Juncker’s deputy, warned of a crisis of support for the EU.

“What was unimaginable before now becomes imaginable, namely the disintegration of the European project,” he told the Friends of Europe forum in Brussels. “The European ideals still have very strong support among the population across Europe. What do not have strong support are European politicians and European politics.”


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This entry was posted on October 23, 2015 by and tagged , , , , .

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