European Parliament President: ‘We In Europe Have Been On A Downward Path For Some Time Now’

brexit schulz
Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

The President of the European Parliament has warned a German newspaper of the danger of an “implosion” of the European Union (EU) if the United Kingdom votes for Brexit in the upcoming In/Out referendum.

Martin Schulz (pictured above) — the current President of the European Parliament and former leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group — was interviewed by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung when he voiced his concern about the effects of Brexit, warning against underestimating the risks of anti-European movements.

“We in Europe have been on a downward path for some time now,” Mr. Schulz said, “the trust of many people in institutions overall, whether national or European, has been lost.”

The blame, in his opinion, does not lie with the EU but with those heads of state and national governments who choose the easy option of criticising the politico-trading bloc rather than joining Mr. Schulz in making a clear commitment to it.

For him the solution to the crisis of trust is not found in Brexit, but in strengthening the existing EU institutions through reform. Failure to do so, he claims, could result in the “implosion of the EU” with Mr. Schulz predicting a domino effect if Britain leaves resulting in “demands for further escape referendums.”

Arguing for reforms streamlining how the EU functions, including further limiting the number of decisions reliant on unanimous approval from Member States, he said: “The EU was created as a tool for solving problems, but many people have the impression that it is more part of the problem than the solution.”

Although Mr. Schulz concedes that those he calls Europe’s enemies — populist parties on the left and right in various countries — are a minority for the time being, he warns that it is not out of the question that such movements could come to power in some EU Member States.

As predicted by others, Mr. Schulz voiced the fear of the Euro-establishment that the rejection of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in the recent Dutch referendum will further fuel rising euroscepticism across the continent.

Mr. Schulz says the example of the Netherlands illustrates that his alleged silent majority cannot just sit idly by trusting that everything will turn out well in the end.

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