Politika, a Serb daily, recently dealt with the current EU identity crisis, largely due to the Eurozone one, and with unpredictable aftermath on the viability of the European integration.
The current crisis is more and more similar to the one experienced by Yugoslavia in the 1980’s according to Momcilo Pantelic. For him, “the European Union (EU) is beginning in many ways to resemble Tito’s Yugoslavia”, a Europe within national selfishness and interests overtake a common objective.
This reference to ex-Yugoslavia may be excessive but deserves to be regarded. Indeed, this former Balkan Europe kingdom then republic founded in 1918 on an ideal: gathering Slavic peoples of the region (which explains the name of the country “Yugoslavia”). The State became communist under Tito, a charismatic leader who strongly ruled the country from 1945 to 1980 with a big stick. But, when he dies in 1980, he left Yugoslavia with no heir which had consequences on the fragile equilibrium of the country. Personal interests and national ambitions overtook and led to the dismantlement of the country from 1991 (with the split of Slovenia) to very recently (with the independence of Kosovo in 2008)
The current EU crisis is quite similar insofar, as explains Momcilo Pantelic, it is based on the French-German axe as the Yugoslavian federation was based on the Belgrade – Zagreb axe. And like the European Union, the democratic deficit issue is clearly put forward although there are some nuances.
Will the European Union end up like Yugoslavia? Pantelic asked. Referring to the current events, it might be the case. Nonetheless, such a hypothesis should be regarded with precaution. In fact, the European Union was created from an ideal, peace which is the main raison d’être of the integration compared with the Yugoslavia of Tito built from another ideal, communism with no real support of the peoples. What is more, the decision making-process still allows the small EU Member States to have their say and put forward their own interests although the process is still dominated by the French-German tandem. The case is sensitively different for ex-Yugoslavia because of a very strong Zagreb – Belgrade axe and a very domination of the republic of Serbia within the Federation.
Thus, some nuances should be added especially when it is known that the EU gives more guarantees (democratically speaking) than the yesteryear Yugoslavia. Momcilo Pantelic even approves concluding: “even those who hope that the European project will fail want to benefit from its achievements, notably a certain equilibrium between the laws of the market and the social contract which has never before been attained”. It is not by accident Slovenia joined the EU in 2008 as Croatia is going to do the same, the 1st of July 2013 and Macedonia which has an applicant status. Even Serbia is looking to Brussels, “in spite of the slowness of the accession process” as the Serbian journalist highlighted. Maybe a sign of the attraction the EU still has due to the security and the stability it gives in spite of its current identity crisis.