The EU is failing to address problems in the bloc in order to thwart the rising tide of anti-Brussels sentiment, a philosopher and political expert warned. Ulrike Guerot, an advocate for a ‘European Republic’, has emerged as a prominent critic of the EU despite believing in many of its principles. She spoke of how the EU could be left divided as countries become increasingly frustrated with the eurozone. Professor Guerot said: “There was the ‘EU three’ – Germany, France and Italy. You have to want to see it, but in Germany and the Netherlands, we don’t see that the Italians and the French are not as happy as we are.
“They have suffered a lot, partly because the reforms didn’t take place, but also because the structures of the monetary union aren’t working for those countries.
“It’s no secret, you can read it in the Italian newspapers that the euro crisis isn’t over yet.”
Historian David Marsh, who has written a book on the history of the eurozone, told Express.co.uk earlier this year that the monetary union in Europe could split.
He said: “Sometimes crises lead to people coming together more – there’s the old adage that Europe is ‘forged in crises’.
“But of course you can have a crisis too far, and some crises end in the whole thing – in this case, monetary union – blowing up.
“There is a chance the whole thing will come to an end because the legitimate demands of the southern states won’t be possible for the northern states to meet, which could conceivably lead to a southern state leaving.
“The northern states could even depart as a bloc.”
Professor Guerot, speaking in a 2019 documentary aired by Dutch broadcaster VPRO, also warned that the EU is failing to act on key issues such as Greece’s economic struggles and Hungary’s disregard for the rule of law.
She added: “It’s like an avalanche, once it starts to shift it’s unstoppable, and it’s already shifting. Yes, there is Brexit, as well as the unresolved matter of Grexit.
“In Hungary, the judicial state is being cast aside, a newspaper was banned and human rights are no longer respected. What does the EU do? Nothing.”
Hungary and Poland recently plunged the EU into crisis as the two countries held up a huge coronavirus recovery fund designed to stimulate the European economy.
Leaders pushed for a rule of law mechanism, designed to penalise countries whose governments had undermined democracy.
But because the recovery fund needed unanimous support, Hungary and Poland were able to veto the package.
After days of intense negotiations, a compromise was eventually reached, meaning the £1.6trillion of stimulus funding can now be distributed to the EU27, but many fear Brussels has let Hungary and Poland off the hook.
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A joint statement from the Hungarian citizens’ organisation aHang and Polish citizens’ movement Akcja Demokracja expressed disappointment.
They said: “Today’s agreement is a political decision to push through the budget and sadly, the rule of law mechanism has been sacrificed. It’s almost toothless now.”
One Hungarian MEP warned of even more severe consequences.
Katalin Cseh, a Hungarian centrist, told the Financial Times earlier this month: “We tried to appease the autocrats and it’s not working.
“A government can be destroying the EU from the inside and still getting billions to enrich their own circles.
“If we do not do something now, it will threaten the stability of the union.”