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The Future of Europe

Fernando de la Iglesia Viguiristi SJ - La Civilta Cattolica - Wed, Oct 23rd 2019

1If we wish to outline a future scenario for Europe, it is useful to first recall certain significant events that took place during 2017. The first was at the beginning of the year, on January 31, a few days after the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States. On that date, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, sent a letter to his colleagues – the 27 heads of state and government – in which he wrote that “The challenges currently facing the European Union are more dangerous than ever before in the time since the signature of the Treaty of Rome.”[1] He was referring to three threats the EU must face.

The first is an external threat that is linked to the new geopolitical situation in the world and around Europe: the heightened role of China which is increasingly determined to play a leading role in the word; the Russian policy toward Ukraine and its neighbors; terrorism, war and anarchy in the Middle East and Africa where radical Islam plays an important role; and also the worrying statements by the new U.S. administration.[2]

The second threat comes from within the EU and is linked to the growth of anti-European, nationalist and increasingly xenophobic sentiments. National egoism is becoming a seductive alternative to integration; centrifugal tendencies are driven by the errors of those who believe that ideology and institutions have become more important than people’s interests and sentiments.

The third threat is represented by the attitude of the pre-European elites who show that they have less trust in political integration and who passively accept populist arguments and doubt the fundamental values of liberal democracy.

All of these threats “make our future highly unpredictable. For the first time in our history, in an increasingly multipolar external world, so many are becoming openly anti-European, or Eurosceptic at best.”[3]

A month and a half later, on March 15, 2017, legislative elections were held in Holland. The liberal Mark Rutte won with 33 seats, leaving the anti-European candidate Geert Wilders in second place with 20 seats, although according to the polls the latter seemed likely to win. Thus despite the defeat of Wilders, the threat remains in the Parliament of one of the six founding nations of the European project. The uneasiness remains.

On March 25, 2017, the European Council met in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the founding moment of the European Economic Community. The British Prime Minister Theresa May was not present. May’s absence at the celebration led some to speak of a “birthday” while others saw it as a “funeral” for Europe. The leaders of the 27 member states present and of the EU institutions approved the Rome Declaration which clearly states that “Europe is our common future.”[4]

Four days later, on March 29, in accordance with the results of the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership in the EU, Theresa May sent a letter to Donald Tusk. Referring to Article 50 of the EU Treaty, May communicated the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU and begin the relevant negotiations. Brexit, praised by Trump, led to demonstrations rejecting the move in London.[5]

On April 23, France held the first round of its presidential elections. Emmanuel Macron emerged as the winner, receiving 24 percent of the votes. Marine Le Pen came in second, with 21.3 percent. If Le Pen were to win the second round, France’s membership in the EU would be jeopardized, threatening the survival of the EU itself. On May 7, the result arrived: Macron won with 66.1 percent (a total of 20,703,694 votes), while Marine Le Pen got only 33.9 percent (10,637,120 votes). The EU breathed a sigh of relief, but this did not eliminate the crisis.[6]

On May 9, as they do every year, European institutions celebrated “Europe Day,” commemorating the “Schuman Declaration” which marked the start of the process of European integration. What should we think of all of this?

Are the 60 years of the EU a success story?

There are plenty of reasons to respond to this question in the affirmative. This is what leaders of the EU believe, and they expressed it in the cited Rome Declaration: “Sixty years ago, recovering from the tragedy of two world wars, we decided to bond together and rebuild our continent from its ashes. We have built a unique Union with common institutions and strong values, a community of peace, freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, a major economic power with unparalleled levels of social protection and welfare. European unity started as the dream of a few, it became the hope of the many. Then Europe became one again. Today, we are united and stronger: hundreds of millions of people across Europe benefit from living in an enlarged Union that has overcome the old divides.”[7]

It is difficult to deny the validity of this assessment. There are reasons to love the EU, or at least to appreciate it. In evident opposition to other projects, such as fascism and communism, the idea of a united Europe is the only sensible and reasonable utopia constructed by Europeans. Today, the Old Continent is undoubtedly one of the best places a human being can live.

The EU is in fact the largest alliance of democracies in the world. The decision by its founders that it was necessary to be a democracy in order to join the group contributed significantly to the fact that 14 countries that did not meet that requirement 60 years ago do meet it now. All of Europe’s citizens – 510.2 million people as of January 1, 2016 – have the right to vote and run as candidates both in the elections for the Parliament in Strasbourg, and in municipal elections, wherever they reside and independent of their nationality. The members of the EU represent one-third of the countries in the world in which fundamental rights and freedoms are respected.

Per capita GDP – 29,000 euros in 2016, 31,500 if we consider just the Eurozone – has almost doubled in the last 20 years. The euro is the second most important reserve currency in the world: approximately 1.7 trillion euros[8] are deposited at central banks around the globe.

The EU is the largest trading block in the world. The total of its exports can be estimated at 5.8 billion euros, representing more than one-third of global exports. Moreover, the Union is the principal trading partner of 80 countries and is the largest source and destination in the world for foreign direct investment.

Between January 2013 and September 2016, 10 million jobs were created in the Union. The employment rate in the 27 European nations is approximately 69.7%. Six and a half million Europeans currently work in another EU member state. In its 30 years of life, the “Erasmus” program has already allowed more than five million young people to study and experience living in another European country.

The salary gap between men and women has fallen to 16 percent. Life expectancy in the Union is eight years higher than the global average (79.6 years compared to 71.4 for the world as a whole). All workers have the right to four weeks of paid vacation every year.

Since the first European Framework Research Program was launched in 1984, the Union has invested almost 200 billion euros to fund scientific research and technological development. Countries of the EU are responsible for 25 percent of global spending in research, and one-third of patent applications in the world. The recycling of waste in European municipalities, where atmospheric pollution is among the lowest in the world, grew from 30 percent in 2004 to 43 percent in 2014. The renewable energy resources installed per capita are triple the global average.

These are the results of a process of integration that has had high points and low points. A European project that stagnated during the years of the crisis – what was defined as “the Eurosclerosis of the 1970s” – and recovered during the years of economic expansion, the two decades that go from 1986 to 2007. The EU can show the world the important successes of its 60 years of existence: its shared values, the peace and political stability obtained, the high standard of living, the benefits of the social state, the single market, and the common currency, almost a rival to the dollar. The EU makes the largest contribution to UN peacekeeping missions, without forgetting that European countries also provide the largest contributions to Public Development Aid (PDA),[9] and that the EU is a global leader in the fight against climate change.

These are the lights, but there are also shadows. In a world that is dynamic, conflictual and undergoing transformation, the EU has lost its role as a leader in the economic, political and demographic fields. This has taken place essentially due to the decline and aging of the European population, and the lack of dynamic growth throughout the EU with respect to emerging economies that are developing rapidly; yet doubtless also due to the lack of political unity. The projects of the EU institutions make it a weak global actor, a political “dwarf” according to some.

A global context that is dynamic and changing due to the technological revolution and globalization, but also conflictual – terrorism, the wars in the Middle East and Africa, etc. – demands political unity, a single voice and concordant actions that, with democratic legitimacy and according to the principle of subsidiarity established by the Treaties, deals with the problems that each state is not able to face alone.[10]

The fact is that since 2008 the EU has gone through an unprecedented crisis, much greater than the recurring difficulties in the history of the European community, such as those in the 1970s and early 1990s; an existential, multidimensional crisis, with aspects that interact and mutually strengthen each other.

A political crisis, with the exit of the United Kingdom.

An economic crisis, which the Eurozone is slowly emerging from after almost a decade of stagnation of economic activity. And with some countries still in recession. The fragility of growth and of job creation is evident; the very high level of public and private debt, especially in the Southern countries, contributes to this fragility. A financial fissure exists between the creditor countries of the North, and the debtors of the South, which gives rise to the considerable differences in competitiveness between the enterprises of different countries. The financial crisis has not been fully overcome: the European Bank holds approximately 1.1 trillion[11] euros of bad debts, i.e. debts that have not been paid.

A social crisis, with the majority of the young people unemployed or underemployed in many countries. Out of a total of 21 million unemployed, almost half (46 percent) have been without work long-term. The youth unemployment rate is 19 percent[12]. Inequality increases due to the uneven distribution of the costs of the financial crisis, and the future of funding for social services is uncertain, given the decline and aging of the population, together with weak growth. The future of the elderly in Europe is also hazy.

A crisis of identity and values. In Europe there is growing sentiment against integration, a tendency toward exclusionary nationalism and xenophobia that calls into question the set of values proclaimed by the European Treaties and rejects the EU institutions. The Syrian refugee crisis, with refusal of countries to implement their commitments to receive migrants, and Brexit, are clear examples of this. Recent polls indicate that only 6 percent of EU citizens consider European citizenship more important than national citizenship. Strangely, these citizens seem to belong to the upper-income classes.

These aspects must be distinguished in any analysis, but the dimensions of the crisis interact rapidly and dangerously. To sum up: 50 years of progress have been overshadowed by the last decade of crisis; anemic growth and high unemployment constitute fertile ground for significant social discontent; the perverse effects of globalization on the middle class have led to the birth of populist movements; the migrant flows from the Middle East and North Africa have triggered nationalist and xenophobic movements; and lastly, the blow of Brexit has inoculated virus insecurity and doubt in the European patient, favoring the emergence of populist leaders.

After Brexit, Europe showed deep internal tensions between groups of citizens and countries. The institutions and the very idea of the Union were called into question. Part of the population feels marginalized and gives its support to the populist parties that emerged in different parts of Europe. At the same time, Europe is viewed with suspicion by the leaders of U.S., China and Russia.

It is no exaggeration to say that Europe, as a political entity, finds itself facing the gravest crisis and greatest challenge of the last 70 years. The possibility that this crisis – as happened in the past with other crises – would lead to greater European integration cannot be taken for granted. Is it an exaggeration to speak of agony? Europe, quo vadis?

The future of Europe

The commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, the seed of the current European Union, took place in a grave and concerned environment. Just a few days earlier, on March 1, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker had presented the White Paper on the future of the Old Continent; an open document, to be discussed by the governments in the Union, regarding a span of time that reaches until 2025.[13]

Juncker’s White Paper asked the heads of state and government which of the following five scenarios they would choose to represent the future of Europe: 1) carrying on as at present; 2) nothing but the single market; 3) those who want more do more; 4) doing less more efficiently; 5) doing much more together.

Carrying on means concentrating on the current program of reforms; obtaining greater growth together that creates jobs, in a situation of financial sustainability and sustainable public finances, together with cooperation in defense and the fight against terrorism. Doing less, but more efficiently, means choosing to go forward in specific areas (for example the single market, innovation, foreign trade, security, migration, and the management of borders or defense), intervening less in others. Doing much more together in all political areas means sharing resources, competences and decisions. This way Europe would act in the world as a single actor, and the European Parliament would have the last word on international agreements signed by the EU. This also means establishing greater budget coordination regarding social and fiscal matters.

Without representing a formal response, and without being translated into legal provisions in the European Treaties for now, we can see an institutional position in favor of different levels or speeds of integration in the European project of the future. Indeed, the Rome Declaration of March 17, 2017, goes in this direction. It solemnly affirms among its postulates that “Unity is both a necessity and our free choice. […] Standing together is our best chance to influence [global dynamics], and to defend our common interests and values”; and subsequently: “We will act together, at different paces and intensity where necessary […] keeping the door open to those who want to join later.”[14]

The cited paragraph allows us to suspect, or rather positively proposes, a Europe with different speeds in the plan for its gradual integration. The question is to ensure that those who ask to do more, do more. Faced with the need to progress on integration and the impossibility of obtaining unanimous agreements, one or more “coalitions of the willing” will be born – also known as “enhanced cooperation” – in which different nation-states agree to go forward on political aspects (such as defense, internal security, fiscal matters and social and labor matters). Thus, a group of member states can decide on close cooperation on defense, as a coordinated military action. Other countries can join together on the issues of security and justice, coordinating their police forces and intelligence services. A joint prosecutor’s office can investigate fraud, money laundering and drug and arms trafficking, reaching the point of a creating a common area in civil justice matters. Another group of countries could decide to implement close collaboration on fiscal matters, in order to uproot offshore financial centers. And the workers of a group of member states could work to obtain additional and more uniform labor rights and social protection systems.

Among the five scenarios proposed by the White Paper, the fifth seems the most desirable, although not the most likely, given the differences and mistrust existing between the various nation-states. The most likely appears to be the third – that of a multi-speed Europe – which however does not guarantee the possibility to overcome the current crisis. It would perhaps only allow for gaining time, moving forward until the next resurgence of tensions.

A two-speed Europe would allow for considering and supporting the different attitudes of different social and national segments of the population; it would allow for progress by those who have no hesitation regarding the European federalist project, and leave the door open to subsequent incorporation of those less inclined toward pro-Union efforts.

One fact is indisputable: the speed of a convoy is always dictated by the slowest vehicle. On the other hand, different speeds of integration are certainly not new in the European Union. Ten countries do not share the common currency. Ireland did not adopt the Schengen agreements. Denmark rejected the common policies on security and defense. Poland has not adopted the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the Czech Republic is outside of the Fiscal Compact. Therefore, institutionalizing a European Union with different speeds only means accepting a reality that already exists and works.

Is this not a way to perpetuate divisions? Designating “first” and “second” class nations goes against the founding ideals of the Union: all countries are equal under a single treaty. A multi-speed Europe will end up creating rival communities and maintaining the divisions between those who are inside, and those who are outside. Is this something similar to the dichotomy that already exists between North and South? Does it not jeopardize solidarity? A Europe à la carte will ultimately become more complicated. The way decisions are made in the EU today is very complex; so if we want to expand governance, it needs to be reconsidered. The new plan for decisions by majority vote would imply changes in the treaties and increasing alienation of citizens, who compare Brussels to an enigmatic and discriminatory hieroglyphic. A two-speed Europe already exists, but it does not seem convenient to exasperate the families of countries and the identity of blocs. Unity must be safeguarded as the central criterion, with a flexibility to adapt. This is a challenge.

Prospects

An essential point is that the White Paper on the Future of Europe reveals the conviction that neither the EU in its current condition nor the single nation-states have sufficient means to deal with today’s challenges. If the EU breaks apart as some anticipate – a possibility that cannot be ignored – in Europe a new process of integration will have to be launched, because falling back on nationalism is not the solution, but only leads to isolation, impoverishment and irrelevance.

The global challenges today – demographic, technological, economic, financial, social and political – require the implementation of supranational aspirations, characterized by competence and resources, and do not allow for national solutions. Europe’s current crisis is due not so much to the European supranational institutions, with competences and resources very limited by nation-states, but rather to those nation-states themselves and their respective electorates, that are not consistent with European values, incapable of reforming their economies and producing efficient supranational institutions.

It is important to recall that European integration was born as the best possible response to the horrible events resulting from the profound division of Europe in the first half of the 20th century. Despite its great cultural and technological development, Europe saw violent political, social and economic conflicts. Nations in opposition to each other, especially France and Germany, social classes that fought for the distribution of income, and brutal manifestations of racism – with their maximum expression in Nazi Germany – dominated the European scene. The two world wars brought to light all of the tensions in Europe, causing the moral and material destruction of Europe itself.

The project of 1957, aimed above all at exorcising the demons of war, has now become ambivalent, full of bright spots, but also dark ones. The recognition of the EU’s crisis – of which Brexit is a manifestation, although not the most important – requires a new supranational impulse. The original promise of the EU must be renewed; a future of prosperity, equality and justice for all of the citizens of the Old Continent.

Three recent events point in this direction. The first is that, at the end of April, 2017, Brussels saved its social agenda, forgotten with a series of measures to contain the populist wave and block the spell of the euro. When the Global Financial Crisis arrived in Europe, Brussels and Berlin imposed the remedy of austerity, which in concrete terms led to necessary cuts and the consequent sacrifices. A decade later, the economy has improved, but the crisis has indisputably already become political.

It can be said that the European Commission has proposed a change to the agenda: leave liberal fundamentalism, adopting social contents. Despite the inevitable protests of employers and the demands from the left, the Commission presented a series of directives, both legislative and non-legislative initiatives, to assert its social shift. The goal is to save, at least in part, a model that was once called the “social market economy” and that has been greatly overshadowed by a decade of crisis and a response that has taken the form of the rigid policies defended by Brussels until a short time ago.

That is how the executive branch of the EU reacted to the deep discontent that originated from the rise in inequality, the risks of poverty, unstable work conditions, the high level of unemployment that remains in many countries, the side effects of globalization, and in this manner finds itself faced with the unpredictable sequences of the fact that a generation of young Europeans may live worse than their parents.

One thing is indisputable: those who feel damaged by the liberalization policies of recent years have acquired irrefutable political strength. It is estimated that 25 percent of the European population considers poverty a real risk. The excessive austerity and reform measures have decimated social protections in Europe. As a consequence, a growing sentiment – a mix of uncertainty, insecurity, fear and indignation – has translated into support for populism. The fault has been attributed to the EU, and Brussels has no other choice but to respond to those critiques by attempting to acquire legitimacy with a series of measures aimed at reconciling work and family life, and at improving social and labor conditions and social protections.

The second event took place at the summit in Gothenburg, Sweden, on November 18, when the heads of state and government approved the entire series of measures. The European press informed us that as of that day, 500 million Europeans had 20 additional social rights. “Everyone has a right to quality education.” That is beginning of the text agreed on by the heads of state and government of the Union at the social summit in Gothenburg, in a list that includes “equal opportunity,” “social inclusion” and “fair pay that allows for decent living conditions.”

Europe thus attempted to strengthen the so-called “social pillar,” that had previously been the continent’s distinctive characteristic. However the solemn declaration is very vague, and non-binding. Most of these problems are under purely national jurisdiction. Yet the EU is dealing with a serious political proposal of the highest level: one which the member states should adopt, if they intend to survive. The head of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, asked to transform the Gothenburg agenda “into a political program,” and he recalled that most of the time social rights are proclaimed they end up being forgotten in the Parliament or the European Council.

Yet nobody in the Union is without sin: starting in 2010 the Troika, of which the Commission is a member, approved three rescue packages for Greece, but did not prevent a recession in that country. Those alleged rescues had no indications of a growth strategy or respect for social rights. Brussels, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund forced the Greeks to reduce pensions by 40 percent, to put an end to collective bargaining, and to implement measures that triggered a rise in poverty levels. Ultimately, in Gothenburg, Europe showed its social spirit; but Greece reminds us that the continent has more than one spirit.

Macron’s proposals

Between these two events, there was a third important event: the speech by Emmanuel Macron at the Sorbonne on September 26, 2017. The French president, who in recent months had already indicated elements of his plan for Europe, waited for the conclusion of the German elections to present his viewpoint, before the foreseeable formation of a coalition government in the neighboring country. After years of crisis, in which its leadership was weakened, France now wants to return to setting the pace.

Macron proposed a “profound transformation” of the European Union, to protect it from external threats and defend it from European populism internally. In a speech given before French and foreign students, the French president sounded the alarm and at the same time offered a vision of the future.[15] “The Europe of today is too weak, too slow, too inefficient,” Macron stated, “but Europe alone can enable us to take action in the world, in the face of the large contemporary challenges.” It should be stressed that the proposals, that include the creation of a super-Minister of Finance and a Eurozone budget, came two days after the elections in Germany, an indispensable partner in the project.

It is surprising that Macron insisted on the idea of creating a form of European sovereignty; a new and interesting idea. As Paul-Henri Spaak said, in Europe there are only small countries and countries that have not yet realized they are small, and this is what led Macron to affirm that “the only route which ensures our future is rebuilding a sovereign, united and democratic Europe.” To reach his goals, the French president suggested a series of reforms that, if implemented, would transform the Old Continent.

As regards the question of sovereignty and defense, Macron relaunched the idea of a Eurozone budget and a European Minister of Finance, a common military force, a European intelligence academy, a European asylum office, economic aid for Africa, a tax on carbon emissions and financial transactions, a food inspection service, and as regards the digital world, an Agency for innovation, commonly funding new fields of research.

To promote unity, France proposes greater fiscal harmonization, including of corporate taxes (with a part of the income allocated for European projects); a minimum wage, adapted to the economic situation of each country; a new mobility program, so that half of the youth in the EU can live in another EU country for six months and speak two European languages by 2024; the creation of more European universities and the introduction, in high school, of a natural process of recognition of middle school diplomas.

Lastly, to make the EU more participatory, in 2018 national and local debates would be organized – with the participation of citizens – to hold six months of discussions on the future of the Union, and the proposal would be made for transnational lists in elections for the European parliament in 2019 for the 76 seats that belong to the United Kingdom. This means that citizens would be able to choose their representatives from lists drawn up by their national parties, as until now, but also from lists with politicians of different nationalities.

All of this, according to Macron, would mean that by 2024 the EU will become more sovereign and democratic, and more united, based on three fundamental pillars: 1) common democratic values, which are non-negotiable; 2) a simpler, more effective and more protective single market, associated with an updated trade policy (with a European trade procurator to guarantee that other countries respect the provisions of the treaties[16]); and 3) a European Union that includes the Western Balkan countries and has only 15 members of the Commission, 13 less than now (one for each member state).

The important thing about this new picture is that the countries that do want to go further, faster, can do so without any obstacles. The motor of Europe will continue to be the France-Germany duo, to be based on a new Elysee Treaty. Aware that France and Germany cannot go it alone, Macron also requested the creation of a “group for the refoundation of Europe” including Italy and Spain to take his grand plan forward.

At the Sorbonne, Macron laid the first stone for the refoundation of Europe. He essentially proposed something similar to the United States of Europe, a federation formed by countries that wish to join a strengthened French-Germany axis. It may be late. The plan may not withstand contact with reality. But Macron’s plan is the most ambitious there has been since the time of Helmut Kohl and Jacques Delors, three decades ago.

A Europe based on solidarity and without unemployment, that pursues the cohesion of our society and the development of our economies, such as to produce an economic and social convergence among the member states of the EU. This is the great challenge: to maintain and develop that project, that dream realized only in part, in order to be able to celebrate “Europe Day” each May 9 with confidence in the future, commemorating the “Schuman Declaration,” the start of the always exciting project of European integration.


[1].D. Tusk, “United we stand, divided we fall: letter by President Donald Tusk to the 27 EU heads of state or government on the future of the EU before the Malta summit” (http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/01/31/tusk-letter-future-europe/), January 31, 2017.

[2].On this situation, cf. F. de la Iglesia Viguiristi, “La nuova via della seta,” in Civ. Catt. 2017 II 486-499; V. Pachkov, “La Russia tra l’Europa e l’Asia. Verso Oriente alla ricerca di se stessa,” ibid. 2017 II 276-284; D. Christiansen – J. Cesari, “La questione Qatar,” ibid. 2017 II 398-405; G. Sale, “La politica estera di Donald Trump,” ibid. 2017 II 158-171.

[3].D. Tusk, “United we stand, divided we fall,” op. cit.

[4].Declaration of the leaders of 27 member states and of the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission (www.consilium.europa.eu/it/press/press-releases/2017/03/25-rome-declaration/), March 25, 2017. On the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, cf. A. Spadaro, “‘L’Europa merita di essere costruita.’ A 60 anni dalla firma dei Trattati di Roma,” in Civ. Catt. 2017 II 105-118.

[5].On Brexit, cf. F. de la Iglesia Viguiristi, “Il referendum su “Brexit,” in Civ. Catt. 2016 II 342-355; and the editorial “Brexit,” ibid. 2016 III 105-109.

[6].Cf. M. Rastoin, “Le elezioni presidenziali in Francia e il futuro dell’Europa,” ibid. 2017 II 353-367.

[7].Declaration of the leaders of 27 member states…, op cit., 1.

[8].International Monetary Fund Composition of Foreign Exchange Reserves Q1 2017 http://data.imf.org/?sk=E6A5F467-C14B-4AA8-9F6D-5A09EC4E62A4

[9].Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom currently provide PDA exceeding 0.7 percent of GDP, the target established by the UN. Cf. European Commission, “EU Official Development Assistance reaches highest level ever” (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-916_en.htm), April 11, 2017.

[10].Cf F. de la Iglesia Viguiristi, “Una globalizzazione da governare,” in Civ. Catt. 2017 III 49-62.

[11].European Central Bank, supervisory baning statistics https://www.bankingsupervision.europa.eu/banking/statistics/html/index.en.html

[12].Eurostat, official statistics office of the European Union: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=File:Unemployment_rate_EU-28_2007-2016,_%25.PNG

[13].European Commission, White Paper on the future of Europe: Avenues for unity for the EU at 27 (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-385_en.htm), March 1, 2017.

[14].Declaration of the leaders of 27 member states…, op. cit., 2.

[15].Cf “Iniziativa per l’Europa, un’Europa sovrana, unita, democratica,” in www.radio24.ilsole24ore.com

[16].Here there is an implicit message aimed at China.

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