Jul 21, 2019 / 16:31

Squaring the Circle

The Hanoitimes - The EU would still need more time to solve its own problems before returning to the role and influence it once had on the world stage.

Squaring the circle is a problem proposed by ancient geometers. It is a metaphor for an impossible task. It could be used now to illustrate the challenges for the newly-elected President of the European Commission, former German defense minister, Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen.
Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: BBC
Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: BBC
The process of nominating and electing Mrs. von der Leyen to this top-job in the power hierarchy of the EU was curious. Mrs. von der Leyen was backed by 383 votes, only 9 votes more than the minimum of 374 needed to be approved by the European Parliament. Mrs. von der Leyen got the job but not the comfortable majority in the European Parliament to realize her political agenda as head of the European Commission.

The trail ahead of Mrs. von der Leyen is challenging for her as well as for the whole EU. The EU is now divided and fragmented and therefore not easy to be governed. The destructive rupture in the European Parliament is remarkable. Mrs. von der Leyen's historic mission for the EU is now to solve 3 core contentious issues deciding the future of the EU, namely uniting the EU, defining strategic directions for the EU's next development steps, and repositioning the EU in the rapidly and profoundly changing world.

The EU is now facing complicated and sensitive challenges like environmental protection, the enlargement of the Eurozone, common tax reforms, social and industry reforms, migration, rule of law in all member states and common foreign and security policy.

The problems are concrete but need overall and fundamental solutions. Identifying them may be easy but solving them is mostly like squaring the circle for the EU and its newly-elected European Commission President for the next 5 years. Until now, the EU has proved itself unable to succeed in both safeguarding the rule of law and preserving the internal unity, reconciling between enlargement and consolidation the Union, addressing environmental concerns and concentrating on economic and trade priorities. The EU has still been torn between internal and external needs, immigration and emigration as well as between trade liberation and protectionism, internationalism and unilateralism.

First of all, Brexit and budget will be the tough nut to be urgently cracked for the EU and Mrs. von der Leyen. All indications are suggesting that the EU would still need more time to solve its own problems before returning to the role and influence it once had on the world stage.