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Growing sense of fin de siecle in Brussels
There is a growing feeling of “fin de siecle” in Brussels these days, a sense of degeneration, of euro-depression.
But people across the European Union do not seem to care.
The collective EU leadership is widely seen as weak and demoralised and the Czech government has collapsed in the middle of its six-month presidency of the 27-nation bloc, an unprecedented event that is bound to leave much unfinished business before an election to the European Parliament in June.
Nobody knows what the EU’s institutions are going to look
like in the future, with the Lisbon treaty that is supposed to
reform them in limbo.
The executive European Commission and the parliament are in
transition, the former avoiding difficult decisions and debates
for fear of harming the treaty’s ratification. As a result, an
important debate on EU budget reforms can’t even get started.
The global economic crisis is forcing governments to take
extraordinary measures that do not always coincide with EU rules
but the Commission seems to turn a blind eye in some cases. But
then, the EU has always been good at fudging.
There are also plenty of signs of EU enlargement fatigue.
But do people care? Judging by a poll this week, the answer
The Eurobarometer poll showed turnout in the election
could be the lowest ever. Only 34 percent of EU adults are
certain they will vote, a sign of no-confidence in the EU
A “fin de siecle” should offer hope of rebirth, a new
beginning. It’s hard to feel any at the moment. The EU’s
bureaucratic machine will lumber along until better times come.
But how much does anyone care?