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What Merkel's political woes mean for the EU

11 0 4

Want to be pessimistic about Europe? Let me count you the ways.

The latest reason for pessimism is Germany, which from being the undisputed leader of Europe has suddenly descended to being the basket case. The latest blow: Angela Merkel’s struggle to keep control of the government after her struggle to cobble together a new ruling coalition collapsed last weekend.

Merkel, a leader of apparent modesty and inexhaustible good sense, now must choose between another exhausting round of coalition negotiations, a minority government or fresh elections.

Meanwhile, Britain is leaving the European Union, and the vast task of disentangling nearly 45 years of unity at times seems beyond the UK’s weak Conservative government. But the people spoke in a referendum on Brexit, and no one can grab the wheel and turn the country around. Italy’s right, revived by gains in regional and local elections and leaning heavily towards the right, even far right and euro skepticism, is now the favorite to win a general election early next year.

Spain dismissed the government of Catalonia and rules it directly because the region – Spain’s richest – voted for independence in an unconstitutional referendum. Ironically, Madrid’s action will likely increase that very support for independence. In Poland, an increasingly authoritarian government headed by the Law and Justice Party now trades barbs daily with the EU – the latest salvo coming from European Council President Donald Tusk, a former prime minister of Poland.

And that’s just the larger countries. In the ranks of the middle and small members of the EU, matters are as bad — worse, in some cases. Belgium, according to some of its ministers, will cease to exist in less than a decade, split........

© Japan Today