OPINION

What future for Europe?

The United States is keen to undermine European integration, deeming that the «ever-closer union» is antagonistic to its global hegemony. It is no coincidence that Britain, a perennial Trojan horse within the EU fortress, has raised the greatest obstacles to the unification process, taking every opportunity to make alliances that promote its own minimalist vision. The latest wave of enlargement includes a number of states more responsive to the British plans. It is true that the Franco-German axis behaves as an informal directorate, a state of affairs that irks other member states. Nevertheless, only this duo has the power to thwart Washington’s unadmitted attempt to torpedo the unification process. Paris and Berlin did not choose Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt as the new commission chief on the basis of ideological criteria, but because he is a Europeanist politician, keen to keep a distance from the US. Ironically, the Atlanticists vetoed the Franco-German bid for the same reasons. The EU’s external relations commissioner, Chris Patten, is a respected figure but being British he inspires little confidence among the continental pair. All this prevented EU leaders from reaching an agreement in Brussels. Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had to tread a very thin line and did not adopt the conservatives’ view in the European Parliament. It would be an exaggeration to say that he joined the Atlanticist camp but his stand will not be without consequences.