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2. Migration and refugees

This was reflected in the process that led to the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation GDPR , which will come into force in May , as well as in the eventual agreement with the US on the new Safe Harbour agreement on data transfers. In both cases, privacy concerns loomed large in the debate, with the European Court of Justice taking a particularly strict line.

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  6. The Netherlands and developments within the EU | European Union |

There is also a significant risk that the Trump administration will go back on some of the assurances on surveillance issues given to non-US citizens. This could create significant risks to the rapidly developing trans-Atlantic data economy with its increasingly important digital value chains. In June , the EU published its European Global Strategy, attempting to set out a coherent framework for its relations with the outside world.

From this flowed both a new level of cooperation with NATO on meeting different "hybrid" threats, as well as plans for new steps in security and defence cooperation inside the EU. The Minsk process to deal with Russia's aggression against Ukraine continued to be run by Germany and France, but in substance went nowhere, with Ukrainian soldiers and civilians killed in continued low-level attrition fighting in the Donbas area.

Challenges Ahead

EU sanctions on Russia have accordingly been extended for a further six months. Syria peace talks, started in a UN framework, continued bilaterally between the US and Russia, but have now been taken over by Russia and Turkey with a role also for Iran. Prospects are uncertain, at best. On a positive note there is now a serious possibility of resolving the issue of a bitterly divided Cyprus — although the outcome of the twin referendums to ratify a possible deal remains hard to predict.

The politics of Europe, along with the rest of the Western world, has entered a new period of volatility.

The Netherlands and developments within the EU | European Union |

The EU itself seems to have halted the slide in support and legitimacy it has suffered in recent years, at least for now. One of the effects of Brexit has been to reduce support in the remaining 27 countries for the idea of leaving the EU, although this probably has been driven more by fear of the uncertainty associated with leaving the EU than genuine support for the EU process.

The latest Eurobarometer polls, released in November, also show that the decline in confidence in the EU has been arrested. The curve shows a clear correlation between EU performance and support for it. During the acute phase of the Euro crisis in , confidence declined considerably, but as the crisis receded, confidence started to move up again. Then the refugee crisis in caused another slide, which has once again been reversed as the acute crisis was handled. Going into , immigration and terrorism, rather than the economy, are seen as the key issues for the EU to handle.

The challenges for the cohesion of the EU will come from within the member states in the next couple of years. Across European countries, previously dominant political parties have lost support to populist forces focusing on anti-immigration, anti-trade and anti-Europe issues. Such tactics may not succeed, since the current political revulsion seems to go much deeper than voter dissatisfaction with individual policies.

This new divide is driven to a large extent by a sense of cultural, physical and economic insecurity among particularly elderly and less urban parts of the electorates across Europe. A series of important elections in will show how these issues will play out in the EU member states, most notably in France and Germany.

Launch of the book Governance and Security Issues of the European Union – Challenges Ahead

The second round of the French presidential election on 7 May will in all probability be contested by Francois Fillon of the centre-right and Marie Le Pen of the populist right. A victory for her would take the EU into a far more fundamental crisis than has been the case with Brexit. The German election in early autumn is unlikely to lead to any major change in the country's European and international policy.

Is the European Union Worth It Or Should We End It?

However, Merkel will find forming a coalition after the election unusually complicated. Spain now has a minority government that is likely to last for some time, but the prospects for Italy are more uncertain. Fear of the populist Five Star movement might prevent a new election until early , also in the hope that the dismal performance of Five Star mayors in Italian cities will by then have started to diminish its appeal.

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  • In the elections in the Netherlands in March, the anti-immigration Geert Wilders may well attract the largest share of the vote. He may prefer to leave government responsibility to a coalition of smaller, more mainstream forces, however. An election in Greece might well bring back a New Democracy government after the semi-populist experience of the past few years.

    Fragility in Europe is on the rise and we're not doing enough to respond.

    Turkey and the EU: Issues and Challenges

    With uncertainty in Europe, will Germany take the lead? Since then, European integration has gone through phases of deepening and widening, with a fair share of upsets in between. Now, however, for the first time since its inception, there is a significant question mark about the future direction of the EU. Large parts of the population in many EU countries are opposed to further deepening or widening, or both. At the same time, however, the pressure of external events and threats has forced EU countries to try to find a common solution, in the knowledge that the member states on their own are too small to master them.

    The refugee and migration crisis, the terrorist threats, as well as the digital challenges, all illustrate this.

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    European leaders will struggle to handle the competing pressures of loosening the bonds of the EU, while at the same time increasing cooperation. Whether the round of elections will produce leaders who are up to the task remains to be seen. The Europe of dreams has to some extent been replaced by a Europe of reality. Perhaps, over time, this will prove to be a development that strengthens the Union.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum. I accept. How do we build a sustainableworld? Submit a video. Most Popular. The inspiring story behind this picture of two world leaders Rosamond Hutt 18 Sep This company lets you set your own salary Sean Fleming 20 Sep More on the agenda.

    Explore context. Explore the latest strategic trends, research and analysis. A year has passed — where are we now? A dinghy overcrowded by African migrants is seen drifting off the Libyan coast in the Mediterranean Sea. Italy voted against proposed constitutional reforms in a referendum last year. This notwithstanding, the EU remained a marginal player on wider security issues.

    Below are highlighted in brief some of the key challenges for social Europe today. In theory, the decision-making process at EU level is the following: proposals start with the Commission which has the exclusive right to propose legislation and has the right to withdraw a proposal at any time. Commission proposals are transmitted simultaneously to the Parliament where they are referred to the relevant Committee before being voted on by the full Parliament.

    Final agreement on a legislative proposal may involve a conciliation process between the Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The result will be one of three different types of European legislation:. The problem with this process concerns questions as to the political legitimacy of the European Commission critics claim that this should not be left to unelected civil servants when it initiates new legislation, and the lack of transparency as to how and why it proposes new legislation. Furthermore, the low level of participation in the European Parliament elections in some countries increases the democratic gap which it should have counterbalanced.

    This leads to an increasing questioning of the legitimacy of EU-initiated processes and legislation, and might contribute to fuelling anti-European rhetoric. At the same time there is also general trend towards a low birth rate, leading to a gap in replacement of generations. This is leading to a change in the structure of European society which is having, and will continue to have, a strong impact on social protection and healthcare systems. Demographic challenge and ageing are a fundamental challenge to European societies, in response to which governments have to reform the labour market and pension systems so as to address the shrinking of the workforce and consequent increased pressure on pension, healthcare, long-term care and social protection systems.

    In response to these needs, the European Council Stockholm European Council has agreed to a strategy based on three priorities:. Migrants across Europe are among the most vulnerable groups in society and are often socially excluded. Providers of social and health care services are witnessing an increase in social exclusion and poverty experienced by migrants. Migrant workers and their families often live in precarious conditions and exist in a legal limbo.

    Migrants trying to enter the EU, including refugees, face difficulties in accessing its territory in order to apply for asylum. Irregular migration to Europe has seen a sharp increase in recent years and particularly in Well-managed migration could help address the ageing of European society, helping to reduce the shrinking working-age population.

    However, the reality is currently very different as inclusion policies are too often failing to integrate migrants and, moreover, the increasing number of demands for migration is used as a political tool by some to fuel populism in many parts of Europe. The EU is working to find ways of sharing out responsibility for refugee protection between EU Member States, and to improve inclusion. For instance, in May the European Commission presented proposals for a common asylum and refugee policy, including a proposal for establishing a relocation mechanism to assist external borders Member States.

    In so doing the European Commission is helping to coordinate the work of Member States in facing a common challenge. The respect of human rights and international humanitarian law is mentioned as a priority for the European Commission but the reality of its implementation in the proposed partnership framework is must more questionable. The Action Plan includes actions supporting pre-departure and pre-arrival measures, education, employment and vocational training, access to basic services, active participation and social inclusion.