Last Wednesday, we hosted our first event of 2016 at an Initiative@Home event with Executive Director Dr Oliver Hartwich.
Oliver has written over 300+ opinion pieces on European matters for the Business Spectator over the years, as well as an essay released last year titled Why Europe Failed. This primed him well to talk about the European Union’s crises to both the PortfolioConstruction Forum conference in Sydney, as well as our sold-out audience in Wellington.
Just 10 or so years ago, there were talks of a ‘European Dream’ of sorts – but nowadays the focus seems to be solely on Europe and its problems.
Oliver cites demographic, economic and institutional factors as causes of Europe’s problems, noting especially that the European Union structure is no longer fit for purpose. It has grown to include 28 member countries that are vastly different and diverse, which makes it difficult to find uniting ground.
Due to these issues, the EU has not been able to focus on making progress as much as it should have. Add to that this year’s British referendum on whether the country wishes to stay in the EU, and the well-publicised migration crisis, and the European Union certainly has its work cut out.
Oliver’s presentation went on to detail these issues further, providing a strong outline of the current situation in Europe, as well as fielding a range of diverse questions from the audience.
Will 2016 see the breaking up of the European Union? It’s hard to tell, but Oliver is happy to guarantee that it will be a very different EU, to say the least.