02:40 GMT06 March 2021
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    The EU is suffering from a crisis of decision making that means it will slide into irrelevance, George Friedman, US political scientist and founder of think tank Stratfor, said on Friday.

    The EU has a range of problems that it cannot solve because of fundamental weakness in its decision making that dooms it to irrelevance, George Friedman, US political scientist and founder of think tank Stratfor, told the EurActiv blog on Friday.

    "The future of the EU is interesting, because it cannot make any significant decisions now, and it cannot decide to dissolve. What will happen is what is happening now: less and less does Europe make decisions, and when it does, European states pay less and less attention to them," Friedman said.

    He drew attention to the disagreement between the EU's centers of power in Brussels and Germany, and the governments of Poland and Hungary. Although representatives of EU institutions have criticized the politics of those member countries, their governments have continued to pursue their own course, ignoring the EU's input and consequently consigning it to irrelevance.

    ​"The Polish decision to change the make-up of the board of their media and to change their judiciary, this is what Merkel and the EU have time for. So what does Poland do? The same thing Hungary did: it ignores it, because it doesn’t matter. The EU will exist, and will happily sink into irrelevance."

    The migrant crisis facing Europe is a symptom rather than a cause of its malaise, Friedman said. According to the analyst, "this is not an unmanageable problem," but Europe is unable to manage the issue because of indecisiveness.

    "There are many American views of Europe, but my view is that the EU has failed, but there is no clear alternative. And we see the failure in the immigration issue, which we do not regard as a major issue because it is less than 0.5% of population shift, but Europe cannot make a decision on how to handle it."

    Friedman also drew attention to a recent EU edict that gives depositors in Italian banks the status of investors, thus exposing them to risk. As a result, people will lose confidence in the banking system and pull their money out, warned Friedman.

    "Given the interest rates that banks give you now, it is more rational to put your money under your mattress than to put it in a European bank."

    "It is these sorts of decisions being made by the European bureaucracy that create a situation whereby firstly the ruling is irrelevant to the problem and secondly, the consequences are that everyone either has to flee or ignore it. I don’t see Europe collapsing. I don’t think there is a will to vote it out of existence. I don’t think there is a will to change it. There is a will to ignore it."


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