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Sunday, July 3, 2022

Columns

EU in rough seas with immigrants, UK shake-up


The European Union is a group of 28 countries currently that has steadily been growing since the end of World War II. Since then, its members have enjoyed economic and political prosperity.

In 2012, the EU was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for “contributing to the advancement of peace & reconciliation, democracy & human decency.” 

Four years later, the achievements seem laughable. In dealing with the daunting refugee crisis, few countries in the union were willing to take in refugees.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany boldly stepped forward, as she always does, hoping her act of opening the country’s borders will set an example for the rest of the EU. Germany underwent growing pains as a result of more than 1 million migrants entering the country in 2015.

Local authorities have felt the influx of people the hardest. Merkel drew heavy criticism from right-wing politicians for leaving the country vulnerable to “Islamisation.”  Along with that, rampant sexual assaults perpetrated by migrants in 2015’s New Year’s Eve turned Cologne into a zone for protests.

The EU has too many things on its plate — Crimea (as if sanctions will stop military invasions), bailing out Greece, and the fight to convince its members to give migrants access. In 2015, 3,770 immigrants died attempting cross the Mediterranean Sea for asylum in Europe.

Also, national elections in countries throughout Europe have begun to abandon liberalism for nationalism. Here is a breakdown of right-wing parties and their current positions of power in Europe.

Historically, nationalism has shown to not work well in Europe. Countries that follow the ideology and in close proximity typically do not play nice, an example being Italy and Germany during World War II.

However, nationalist parties have been gaining more attention in recent elections. On Sunday, Austria’s right-wing party was an inch from losing in a presidential runoff election.

Adding more to the chaos is UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to organize a referendum in which the votes will determine the country’s membership with the EU.

Should the nation break off from the union, it would be able to pursue its own economic and social interests. That said, “Brexit” would give the EU monetary setbacks that will be spread out on other member countries. In terms of economy and politics, UK will isolate itself from the rest of Europe.

Even the U.S. and the world will feel the hurt if the country decides to leave. In short, this is a decision where no one wins.

Until June 23, all that can be deduced about the future of the EU and UK are educated guesses. If the poll reveals that a breakup is official, there will be a two-year period where trade agreements between the EU and UK will be drafted and agreed upon before the exit.

Assistant opinion editor Thomas Dwyer is a broadcast journalism sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]

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