As Europe slowly recovers from the longest economic recession in its history, the jarring crisis management of Greece has highlighted its weakened political foundation. The lack of solidarity between members of the European Union is evident in their inability to formulate a common solution to the large number of refugees arriving at Europe's borders. The terrorist attacks in Paris, too, have raised questions about the values of European society and of decisiveness in foreign policy.
Europe’s leaders are in crisis-fighting mode; they’re reactive and often uncoordinated, according to a new report by the Global Agenda Council on Europe. Under the title Europe: What to watch out for in 2016-2017, the authors point to some of the region’s moderate successes:
The Eurozone has not splintered; Russia is smarting under Western sanctions; some burden-sharing on refugees has been agreed. Busy with short-term problems, however, Europeans have taken their eyes off more profound, long-term challenges. How the European Union copes with its immediate problems in the next couple of years will determine how the continent will fare in decades to come.
- Global Agenda Council on Europe
Certain areas of concern dominate the debate: the inflow of refugees, the Greek economy, Brexit, instability in Ukraine, populism, terrorism and the rise of extremism. For more information, take a look at this explainer on Europe’s greatest challenges.
So, what do the EU leaders gathered in this session – the prime ministers of France, Greece and the Netherlands, as well as the finance minister of Germany – propose to do?