duminică, 24 iunie 2012

The Next European Decade

I recently read an interesting book, written by George Friedman, 'The Next Decade'. Some parts of Friedman's book touched upon Europe, and I would like to highlight some of his ideas:
He states there are two dilemmas for Europe in the next ten years. The first one is linked with the relation between Europe and Russia, and the second dilemma is connected with the role of Germany, the most dynamic European country. The rest of the European states will need to define their bilateral relations with these powers.

Friedman furthermore urges us to not forget that the EU was founded with two main objectives. The first was to integrate Western Europe into a federation with limited power, hereby solving the problem of Germany and to link it close to France, hence limiting the threat of war. The second one is to reintegrate Eastern European states into the European community.

If France and Germany continue their cooperation, they will be at the heart of the European project. If France and Germany will be in a conflict, the crash will destroy the EU, leaving big space for the members to set up other (intercontinental) coalitions.

Although Great Britain in general didn't block the development of the EU, they didn't want to get engaged in this project and thus they limited their commitment – geography allowed this to happen.

Germany needs natural gas, of which Russia has enough. Russia in turn needs Germany's abundant technology and expertise. It will be interesting to see the developments in the German-Russian relations in the coming ten years.

The final idea I'd like to highlight from 'The Next Decade' concerns the tension between the center and the periphery in the EU, which is well known. The center of the EU, the heart of the European industrial development, is represented by Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium. The periphery then is considered to be represented by Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Italy and the Eastern European countries.

Dan LUCA / Brussels

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