If Not Now, When? Reviewing Europe’s Failures, One Country at a Time
From terrorism to corruption, war, economic crises and the return of extremist political parties, the past years have been trying for the EU on the social, political and economic fronts. BREXIT may have been the first rejection of membership—it is unlikely to be the last. To avoid the complete unwinding of the European project it is important to recalibrate the essence of the Union; to find and expose its weakest points – and members – and work at building a Europe that is reflective of the ethical compass, and interests, of its citizens.
This week marks the beginning of our contribution to Europe. Our new critical commentary series – If Not Now, When? – will take readers into the socio-political and economic lives of the EU member states to expose national failings that produce European challenges. This series will begin with the EU27 and work its way backwards to the EU25 and then to the EU15. Croatia is excluded since its membership in the EU is too short to determine its impact. Not so for Romania and Bulgaria. The entry of Europe’s poorest and most corrupt states has certainly impacted the EU and its functioning—as did the so-called Eastern Enlargement (2004). And the other EU members will not be spared either; each country will be critically examined.
With Romania, as the first to be scrutinised in this series, focus will be paid to eight thematic areas:
- endemic problems with democracy, the rule of law and freedom of speech,
- state capture and the ruin of Romania’s political parties,
- re-emergence of the Securitate in the guise of the SRI and its renewed quest to police the Romanian population and infiltrate key areas such as the economy and the judiciary with agents and officers,
- lack of an independent judiciary and abuses and breaches of due process,
- continuing intimidation and infiltration of the media,
- an appalling record on human rights,
- failure to adopt and implement the acquis communitaire and the risks the country poses for the stability of the EU due to the lack of will of true reform
- the recent thrust to re-nationalise private assets and witch-hunting of entrepreneurs.
The commentary articles produced in this series are meant to spark a debate – a European debate – about the future of the Union while exposing abuses of the system by some at the helms of power. Many will disagree with the arguments of the authors and others will take offence. We at CEJISS welcome your engagement. Write us, draft your rebuttals. Now is the time to redress the challenges facing the EU—and if not now, when?