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    Four Major Problems Merkel Faces That Could Lead to EU Collapse

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    A strained meeting of European leaders took place in Bratislava on September 16 as Europe faces several major challenges which are unlikely to be resolved soon, expert in the field of national security at Washington's Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments Michelle Shevin-Coetzee said.

    The main problem is that if the EU members will not find a solution to these challenges in the near future, the European Union might be destroyed from within, the expert stated.

    As de facto leader of the European Union, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a politician who should work out a long-term strategy in the first place, Shevin-Coetzee said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
    According to the expert, the European Union faces four major challenges that threaten the unity of the bloc and may lead to its collapse.

    "First, it is the growth of regional blocs. The variety of European crises urged member states to set priorities and consider possible responses to them on a geographical basis," the analyst said.

    As an example, he cited the Baltic States that are concerned about the allegedly aggressive actions of Russia, and Southern European states which, in turn, are more anxious about the instability in the Middle East and North Africa as well as their socioeconomic problems.

    "This difference in the perception of the threats divides the continent and is, perhaps, the greatest threat to the European unity," the expert said.

    Another threat, according to the analyst, is the growing gap between the European Union as a political institution and the citizens of its member countries.

    "Only a few Europeans understand the true meaning of the EU and its institutions," the analyst said.

    According to 2016 data of the "European Barometer," almost half (46%) of residents of European countries have admitted that "they don't know what rights they have as citizens of the European Union."

    Among key challenges, the expert also named the rise of right-wing parties in Europe. They are becoming increasingly popular throughout the continent. The fourth is the "inadequacy of EU's institutional structures," Shevin-Coetzee argued.

    "As it so often happens in other parts of the world, the challenges Europe has to face can no longer be clearly defined as diplomatic, economic or military ones," the analyst said.

    In her opinion, the existing global problems, from strained relations with Russia to the refugee crisis, can't be resolved by one particular tool. That is why European leaders have to comprehensively work with a whole set of problems to ensure the effectiveness of the EU as an institution.

    Earlier, German political expert stated that Alexander Thiele that the EU states are unlikely to work out any comprehensive strategy at one stroke.

    "Holding the club together is something that will be on the main agenda of the remaining 27 EU member states in the coming future," Thiele said.

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