The Fate of the EU: Amputation or Euthanasia - the Bratislava Summit as a Sentence


Against the background of the ongoing political and economic crisis of the European Union, Bratislava will host an informal EU summit. Brussels is trying as much as possible to smooth out the rough edges on the eve of the anniversary of the Rome summit in March 2017 dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the creation of the European Community that preceded the European Union.

Informal summit

This summit in Bratislava is the first since 2007 when an informal meeting of EU leaders was held in Brussels. Then, in Lisbon, the famous Lisbon Treaty was adopted as a reaction by the European bureaucracy to the failure of the EU Constitution draft project. In 2005, it was rejected in referendums in France and the Netherlands.

Brexit changed everything

Despite the fact that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that the subject of the UK’s exit from the EU will not dominate the agenda in Bratislava and that participants will focus on the "other priorities", it is clear that this development has dramatically changed Brussels’ plans. Brexit gave new impetus to the development of right-wing conservative movements within the inherently ultraliberal European Union, especially in Germany. Thus, Brexit became one of the main challenges to the EU, and turning a blind eye to it means showing one’s own impotence in the face of impending collapse.

Financial conflicts

Another important aspect centers around the financial contradictions within the EU. The summit of Mediterranean EU countries (Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Cyprus, Malta, and Portugal) that took place in Athens on September 9th adopted the so-called “Athens Declaration.” It called for an end to the “dogmatic economic regime” and for the “Stability and Growth Pact”, which is the basis of EU financial policies that sets strict criteria on budget deficits and public debt, to be abandoned. The Athens Declaration caused a strong reaction from Berlin and Brussels.

Migration policy

It also became clear in the run up to the summit that the countries of  the Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland) have a particular position on migration and border security.

The heads of states of Central and Eastern Europe, especially Hungary and Poland, believe that Brexit demonstrated the need to toughen their position on migration issues and human rights, and advocate for “correcting the mistakes of the past."

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban bluntly called the EU a "rich but weak" formation. In early October, Hungary will hold a plebiscite on entry quotas for migrants. Experts have almost no doubts that a positive decision will win out and put an end to Brussels’ plans for resettling migrants, as well as call into question the principle of freedom of movement, the cornerstone concept of the entire European Union.