In 2016, the world, including Europe, saw the beginning of the end for globalism. It was the year of Brexit and the rise of Nationalism.
It was also a year full with examples and reasons as to why not to force “cultural enrichment” on the West.
There were terror attacks committed by so-called refugees in Brussels, Nice and Berlin.
Last year was also a time for referendums against globalism in the United Kingdom, Italy and Holland. These referendums symbolized the rejection of the Establishment.
All of these and more signs were clear messages from people who care more about their national interests, rather than globalist interests, that the plan to forcefully merge everyone into one giant soup of cultures while the technocrats are on top micromanaging and socially engineering the planet is not acceptable.
Perhaps the region of the world that faces the most opposition to globalism, now that Trump has won the election in the United States, is Europe.
The EU faces an uncertain scenario with multiple open fronts: weak economic growth; no immigration policy, dependence on Turkey; a common defense system, and immense political risks in the face of an eventual clash with the United Kingdom in the Brexit.
If all that is not enough, Europe also faces the populist uprising in Holland, France and German.
While unelected European leaders plead for and promise solidarity, more Europe and less ‘national egoisms’, in reality, their push is for more globalism that favors their corporate owners.
Take for example the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. The main who goes around asking everyone to be more solidary, did exactly the opposite while he was the leader of Luxemburg.
While he now calls for tax reform to avoid tax evasion by international corporations, he vehemently opposed new tax rules during his period as Luxemburg’s Prime Minister. In fact, Juncker facilitated the arrival of corporate profits to his country, one of the world’s most attractive fiscal paradises.
In the last twelve months, the Union has fortified its borders with a border guard after some European countries rejected the open borders policy that the technocrats had in mind.
The only nation that seemed to have adopted that policy in full was Germany, which has been the victim of terror attacks committed by alleged ISIS operatives. These operatives entered Europe as refugees.
The main threats to globalism in Europe will come from general elections in Holland, France, Germany and Czech Republic. Possibly also in Italy. Each appointment will be a new examination for the dominant political class or the strengthening of the nationalist / populist formations.
Czech billionaire Andrej Babis, often compared to Berlusconi and Trump, is a favorite for being Prime Minister in the Slavic country, and forces such as Dutch Geert Wilders or French Marine Le Pen, who have experienced a dramatic increase in support, are in favor of abandoning the EU and implementing tough measures against immigration.
All three candidates understand that the uncontrolled arrival of millions of refugees who have not been vetted is directly proportional to a growing terrorism threat; the kind that has been seen in Europe in 2016.
“The biggest risk is not that they win, which seems unlikely, is that traditional parties will come to power by assuming the diagnoses and prescriptions of extremist formations in a sort of David Cameron syndrome,” explains Yves Bertoncini, director of the Delors Institute, a House analysis based in Paris. The same was said of Donald Trump: “He will never run.” “He will never get the position.” “He will never win the election.”
Along with the rise of the self-proclaimed defenders of the Europe of Nations and the original copy that can be made by leaders such as the right-wing François Fillon to the ultra Marine Le Pen in France, there is an additional risk for globalism: electoral campaigns are paving the way for candidates who support globalism to be conservative in their policies, just to assure their victories.
With Angela Merkel focused on conquering power, Germany may be tempted to turn its eyes to itself and have less room for making decisions that would advance globalism in Europe.
Those decisions include the creation of a commom Police State force. Pro-European leaders believe that the continent must realize the ambition of its military effort with Trump questioning the commitment of the United States to keep the NATO umbrella open.
The defense budget of the Twenty-Eight is much lower than that of the US or China, and the threat of the Islamic State and the crises in Syria, Libya and Ukraine are still unresolved while the first European military power, the United Kingdom, is out.
If Theresa May keeps her word, the United Kingdom’s disengagement will begin in March and in the spring of 2019 British membership of the EU will be part of the past, a fact unheard of in the history of the Union.
“It had already been speculated with a similar scenario before the Greek crisis, but what was considered then was not a voluntary departure, but rather a forced one,” says Salvador Llaudes, a researcher at the Elcano Royal Institute.
The UK’s access to the single European market and the free movement of people will be the main points of friction in a debate that is predicted to be tense.
Beyond estimates, the economic effects of Brexit are yet to be defined, but Europe is facing turmoil in markets as it enters a weaker position.
In Italy, banks face the possibility of a financial rescue to save the money of small savers from dissapearing, the Greek debt crisis threatens with new aftershocks, the Juncker Plan has failed to contain the fall in investment, countries like Germany, with room for fiscal expansion, refuse to increase public spending, and this year’s subdued growth of less than 2% has failed to meet EU estimates. All of this makes Europe vulnerable to any shaking.
According to experts, the three biggest risks are, in this order, a possible victory for Le Pen in the French elections, a currency or financial crisis in China and tension in the Brexit negotiations as much uncertainty in the markets becomes a common thing.
In addition to all the scenarios cited above, Europe has two other longer term issues to deal with: a less significant influence, demographically speaking, – only 7% of the total and with the departure of the United Kingdom the figure will fall even further – with a population that tends to age, and a defense policy that is very dependent on NATO.
Europe faces a loss of relevance in the global geopolitical stage before the Chinese economic, demographic and military boom and a possible Trump-Putin partnership.
“This alliance reminds Europe that for the first time since World War II they do not own their security and must cooperate diplomatically and militarily if they do not want to go from being protagonists of history to mere spectators,” warns Bertoncini of the Delors Institute.
In his favor, Brussels highlights last year’s achievements of Greece’s continued existence in the single currency, the management of the refugee crisis – which has reduced arrivals but depends on a fragile agreement with Turkey – progress in the digital single market, the entry into force of the Paris climate agreement and the signing of the free trade agreement with Canada.
In the minus column there are the most ambitious TTIP and the US trade agreement, that have been sent into obscurity due to opposition from Trump.
If 2016 was a record year when it comes to victories for national interests and a time of great loses for globalism, 2017 promises to be a year when important decisions will determine the rise or fall of the globalist-supported European Union project. Stay tuned.