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Europe’s leadership under threat.

Troubles never come single spies but always in battalions.*

Europe lacks positive, constructive and definitive leadership. In the UK it has allowed a squabbling wraith of the “Mother of all Parliaments” to kick the Brexit can down the road of time to October where nothing will come of nothing.* Now it is confronting continental disruption in its elections next month.

A motley slate of 28 nations in turmoil must now face the consequences of economies in decline, perilous overindebtedness and their own individual brands of internal division and canker.

The UK will put forward “candidates” whose sole objective is to leave the Group. Matteo Salvini, the bruising boss of Italian political chaos, is encouraging a cabal of diruptive politicians most at threat. In Germany his allies are the AfD, in France Marie le Pen, Hungary, Serbia and Poland are happily plotting. Each has its own cause – unemployment, poverty, a lack of investment coupled with a fear of immigrants from North Africa, who look different and are made desperate by wars and the ravages of Climate Change.

The rhetoric in the next 6 weeks will be that of despair, desperation and paranoia. Emerging despots will cement their mandate to disrupt the European Project, which at the least has brought 70 years of peace to the region.

Expect little that is constructive; expect no long term thinking about climate Change; but do expect a further shift towards China’s thousand year One Belt One Road strategic embrace. Last week as the UK disappeard into its own fog of hesitation, China launched its largest infrastucture project to date. A bridge is to be built over Mali Ston Bay in Croatia, Europe’s newest member (Croatia joined in 2013). As part of the celebrations China hosted a new bloc of 16 neighbouring states all looking east, all desperate for financial succour. Expect each member state, especially those in the south and east, to be looking hard to China partnership and aid with the blinkered gaze of untruth and mangled fact.

It should have been an E.U. celebration. It was the E.U. who supplied 85% of the bridge’s $500 millioin cost. Instead the popular credit went to a state owned Chinese construction company that had undercut its nearest competitor by $100 million to secure the contract and the political acclaim. 

And , of course, expect to see Putin and Russia meddling at the edge, testing its ability to subvert the voices of democracy and freedom.

The European vision is now in peril. The scrupulous and the just, the noble and humane are rarely the leaders of change – they are its victims*.

* with apologies to Shakespeare and Joseph Conrad.

Have a good day, James