The Ukraine war and the future of the European Union NDR.de

As of: 04/29/2022 4:42 PM

Since the beginning of the Russian attack on Ukraine, war has broken out in Europe, and it has had profound effects on many areas of life and especially on international politics. Because what does this war really mean for the European Union?

by Herfried Münkler

Because what does this war really mean for the European Union? She has made a name for herself recently mainly through internal conflicts. The war has pushed opposites into the background for the time being. Because the focus is on a common and perhaps historical challenge. The question would be: Can the EU, in its internal contradictions, manage the shift from a rule-granting bureaucracy to a powerful political actor? And what role does Germany play in this?

The European Union’s problems have receded into the background

Until recently, the EU was mainly prominent in its internal struggles, especially those with Poland and Hungary over the independence of the press and the judiciary from parties wanting to transform their temporary position of power into permanent domination. At the same time, the dispute over the financial security of debt-burdened EU member states in southern Europe was by no means settled, but only mitigated by the low interest rate policy of the European Central Bank. Accordingly, the influence of centrifugal forces is currently less on the possible breaking points of the European Union between North and South, West and East. Although Brexit is no longer an English model of success, concern remains that other member states will follow Britain’s lead and leave the EU as well.

All of this faded into the background with Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine. Issues of common foreign and security policy have supplanted questions of fiscal and constitutional policy. They are likely to set the EU’s political agenda for a long time to come.

Hungary and Serbia: New Imminent Conflicts

Of course, the realignment of Brussels’ agenda does not mean that the EU’s sticking points have completely disappeared: those with Poland should not play a major role at the moment, especially since Poland is taking in three million Ukrainian refugees, the number of whom is unpredictably unpredictable. Permanent, the dispute over the admission of immigrants has now been settled. But the problem with Hungary remains, especially since Orban maintains his rapprochement with Putin.


Herfried Münkler is Professor of Political Theory at Humboldt University in Berlin.

There is another problem: with Serbia. Belgrade has been trying to join the European Union for a long time, but it adheres to its very pro-Russian policy, and therefore, along with Hungary, could become a potential player in the veto of EU policy aimed at moving away from Russia. Moreover, Serbia is a revisionist state that wants to change the regional order that emerged in the context of the wars of Yugoslav disintegration, strives to join Republika Srpska and refuses to recognize Kosovo. Such a member would certainly strengthen the centrifugal forces within the European Union. This speaks against Serbia’s accession to the European Union. On the other hand, the fact that Serbia rejected by the EU is likely to become a springboard for a fundamentally destructive Russian policy in Europe, including the transfer of the Russian army to Serbia in order to pursue a policy of destabilizing the Balkans from there speaks in favor of acceptance. In short: in the case of Hungary and Serbia, Europeans are faced with the question of whether they should rely on shared values ​​or on the geopolitical unity of the EU region in the sense of an impenetrable unity of political opponents. Perhaps they will try to combine the two, which could lead to new conflicts.

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Culture NDR | Thoughts at that time | 04/30/2022 | 1:05 pm

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