08:48 GMT +317 November 2019
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    EU flag is seen in front of the EU Commission Headquarters in Brussels. (File)

    EU's Survival 'Challenged' Due to Its Weakness, 'Threat of Disintegration'

    © AFP 2019 / GEORGES GOBET
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    This year has become a crisis year for the European Union, with the European community being in such a "weakened" state that its survival is not guaranteed, German magazine Focus Online wrote.

    "In 2017, the European Union will turn 60. A person of this age is usually expected to have a certain level of maturity, a firm personality. The EU, however, is unable to demonstrate either of them at the moment. It is in a desolate state, and so weakened that its survival is challenged," the magazine wrote.

    The European Union was originally conceived as a model for securing peace. However, it is increasingly suffering from the fact that its members are focused on their national interests, the magazine noted.

    One of the most severe challenges to the EU has become Britain's withdrawal from the Union. On June 23, the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, a move better known as Brexit.

    "With the Brits, the EU is losing its second-largest net payer and a diplomatic heavyweight in the United Nations," the article said.

    According to the magazine, there is a danger that other EU countries could follow Britain's example and thus the foundations of the European Union will be destroyed.

    "The threat of EU disintegration is still there. Right-wing populists, for instance, in the Netherlands and France, also demand a withdrawal from the EU. In March, the Netherlands will hold the election. According to current surveys, Geert Wilders with his right-wing populist Party for Freedom (PVV) is currently considered the strongest force in the country," the magazine wrote.

    Eurosceptics are gaining popularity all across Europe. According to Focus Online, French right-wing politician Marine Le Pen has good chances in the upcoming presidential election, while leader of the Austrian Freedom Party Heinz-Christian Shtraher is willing to become the country's Federal Chancellor.

    According to the magazine, the heavy influx of refugees has become the main challenge for the European unity. The author noted that German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a big mistake believing that Europe will act in unison to help the refugees.
    With the growing inflow of migrants to the European continent, anti-refugee sentiment spread across the EU, with some countries within the Schengen zone deciding to reinstate border controls for the first time since they were torn down in 1987.

    Hungary became the first Eastern European member state to erect an unofficial razor wire fence on its border with Serbia. Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland have also joined the anti-migrant rhetoric purported by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

    For over a year, Europe has been struggling to cope with the massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing their home countries in the Middle East. The growing influx of migrants raised security concerns among the local population and contributed to the rise of xenophobic sentiments across the country.

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