Europe’s dog days
The Austrian presidential election has ended with both mainstream centrist parties knocked out and the far right candidate losing by just 0.6% of the vote. Greece’s creditors have reached a deal—but only by kicking the can on a decision about a debt write-off further down the road. The International Monetary Fund, for all its bluster about the existing debt situation being unsustainable, has had to back down. Across the English Channel, the Brexit vote looms next month.
Since the European debt crisis kicked in at the tail end of 2009, the European Union has remained stuck in a quagmire. Every hopeful prognosis has proved fleeting. Its economic situation remains precarious, Russia is flexing its muscles to the east and terrorism and the refugee crisis have made for a combustible mix. Little wonder the far right is in ascendance across the union. The question is: Is this perpetual state of semi-crisis the EU’s new normal?