Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

EU needs to consider its New Year resolutions

By Fu Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-30 07:56

EU needs to consider its New Year resolutions

(L-R) Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, French President Francois Hollande and Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho meet European Union leaders summit in Brussels, on December 18, 2014. EU leaders gathered in Brussels on Thursday seeking common ground on a long-term strategy to deal with an unfriendly but economically wounded Russia. [Photo/Agencies]

As the New Year approaches, it is a time to look back at the year that is ending.

But in terms of Europe, the recent Ukraine crisis and Russia's consequent economic difficulties have led me to think beyond the 12 months of 2014.

Let's start, instead, by rewinding back to 2008, when the 28-member European Union was battered by the financial crisis and its home-made sovereign debt upheavals.

At the very beginning of the crisis, many forecast that the world would experience a decade of lost economic growth and the EU has already suffered from two economic recessions since 2008 and another is looming. With the United States having obviously stepped out of crisis at a quicker pace than the EU, the latter must rethink its rigid and insufficient institutional arrangements and political system if it is to regain economic vitality.

The EU's political system, especially its political power struggle games, have already aggravated the effects of the crisis stemming from the US subprime meltdown and the European sovereign debt crises, as the prolonged debates and struggles have caused political uncertainty and meant chances for propelling economic recovery have been missed.

The EU is not only facing a lost decade economically and the attendant internal instability and uncertainties stemming from that, but also a decade of political instability in its neighborhood.

Putting the bloc's debt crisis, the uncertainties in North Africa and Ukraine, and the Russian currency trouble together, it is easy to predict that due to the interlocking economic relations the pace of any EU economic recovery will be slow.

Since World War II, the Western European countries have been forging a project of peace and an economic and monetary union. The EU now has 28 members; and with Lithuania starting to use euro in the beginning of 2015, the eurozone will cover 19 countries.

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