*Published in 22.08.2016. In this article I predicted that there will be a logical necessity for both the federalists and the populists to overcome their contradictions for the European project to survive. The time has shown that politics do not follow the logical necessities. European federalists really do not care for the European project – just for their egos. They haven’t found the courage to try to listen to the voices of reason from the Central-Eastern European countries and as for now they haven’t found the courage to maintain a good relationships with the UK in the context of Brexit. Their agenda is to punish – so that other countries would be afraid to -exit out of EU. But this only deepens the crisis of EU and alienates the Central-Eastern Europe from the Brussels. The ideas of “multiple speed Europe” is only a sophisticated way to say that Europe is in deep crisis and is crumbling in to a several regional blocks. This is the situation in which Central-Eastern Europe has to find its own way for the future.
People who know the basics of philosophy, will know that there is the idea of dialectics – contradictions between opposites creates a synthesis. This largely applies also to the history of ideas. Clash of ideas creates new ideas that include something from previous ideas, but at the same time overcoming these original ideas. Today, in the European politics a contradiction between two main ideas is happening – idea of federalisation and idea of populism.
Idea of federalization is one of the scenarios offered for European integration. National governments would be replaced by a transnational system of government. The European Union has long existed as a hybrid system – both transnational and national ideas have existed in some kind of balance and both have had their influence to maintain this balance. It is true, however, that the overall progress has been rather in the direction of federalization, since the proponents of these ideas have significant financial and informative resources.
During the last year, this balance was strongly disturbed, and it is difficult to tell whose blame it was in the first place. Many people blame populism – general anti-establishment mood in the West that is usually fuelled by a charismatic leader offering simplified solutions. One log does not burn, said our ancestors. Populism did not arise out of thin air. I think it was payback for the excesses of supporters of federalization. The idea that only a narrow elite in Brussels knows what is democratic, European and humane, offended many – and rightly so. British vote was decided by only a slight preponderance of voters. Bureaucratism, ignorance of opinions of considerable number of voters, labelling it as ‘’racism’’ and the disastrous immigration policy, which culminated with the quota system proposed by Mr. Junker – all contributed to the result. As the border control is the main task of state, idea of compulsory quotas of immigrants and permanent accommodation system was an attack on the necessity of the state and, therefore, a disguised attempt of federalization.
Nor the idea of federalization, nor populism in itself will be the prevailing currents of thought in Europe, because in the first case, there is a lack strong leaders, and it is understood by anyone who remembers Mr. Junkers’s inappropriate behaviour in Riga, but in the second case there is a lack of a plan. In the first case, they will not be able to ignore the people’s aspirations for greater self-determination, in the second case – they will not be able to cope with the need to overcome national egoism, which is contradictory to the need for safer Western world as a whole. For example, Brexit maybe even strengthened the room for manoeuvre for the Britain separately, but at the same time, it upsets the geopolitical balance in Europe, threatens by Eastern European security and reduces the room for manoeuvre for Europe as a whole. Therefore, it is obvious that today we can no longer do without some sort of supra-national leadership.
Latvia should take the leadership in creation of a new European current of thought. For Latvians and Latvian nationalists in particular, the geopolitical situation has imposed a duty to behave responsibly towards the Western system as a whole, but at the same time, addressing the Western weaknesses that can be used by external forces, and are rightly criticized the populist forces. European crisis can be resolved.
On the one hand, unity of Europe and the West is absolutely necessary. We live in an era of clash of civilizations and geopolitics, as well as in era of de-globalization. World divided in several blocks of civilizations means that the alternative of European unity can only be a domination of foreign civilization, which we cannot permit. Therefore, we must help to save Europe. On the other hand, the Europe must be filled with other content that would be even more connected in its historical essence. Europe is not just a ‘common market’ ‘- it is also a culture; it is value of life and freedom. It is the family as a fundamental basic cell of society. West will have to change and respect the national identity and the individual national interests of the countries in the common European framework, task of which would be conservation and development of Western civilization. Beyond federalization and populism, a forward-looking nationalism and conservativism lays ahead.