World Economy

Challenges Facing EU, EC Presidents

Challenges Facing  EU, EC PresidentsChallenges Facing  EU, EC Presidents

There are two real challenges, Presidents Jean Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk are facing in the years to come. They must convince Angela Merkel to let the European Central Bank to print money, plenty of money as Americans do with the dollar and place Europe in the orbit of development, growth and wealth.

Equally important is to set a working relation with Russia. Since a quarter of a century ago the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia emerged as a world power covering an entire continent and still today, although Russia is our neighbor and main energy supplier, we do nothing to find a modus vivendi with Moscow, New Europe reported Saturday.

On December 1, Donald Tusk is replacing Herman van Rompuy as president of the European Council and this is a challenge.

Not because van Rompuy set such high standards that his successor will find difficult to emulate but because the European Union is going through challenging times. And the member states, the ones the Council is about, bear a huge part of the responsibilities while van Rompuy's tenure didn't offer much towards preventing Europe to become the playground of the most powerful member states at the expense of Europe as a whole.

Internal challenges as European society is rapidly losing the last remaining faith in the European project combined with external perils to create a perfect storm, best described by J. C. Juncker as “last chance” for Europe.

Tusk is supposed to bring a new perspective to the eastern side of the Rond-point Schuman. That of Eastern Europe, shaped by a completely different historical experience after WWII. He will be challenged to reconcile this very emotionally charged perspective with the equally charged, especially after the financial crisis, outlook of the European South and the almost metaphysical fixation on austere flagellation in and around Germany.

He will be hampered by the Brussels Bubble delusions of those, all around said Rond-point Schuman, that are already patting each other on the back believing that “the crisis is over”. Some of them are of the same bunch that believed that Europe was and is doing a fine job in Ukraine, that didn't see Moscow's reaction coming or dismissed it as irrelevant.  He will have to maneuver around politicians that refuse to see the masses that are crossing Europe's southern shores and those that perish, while their governments refuse to share the burden or even consider search and rescue to be a “pull factor”.

To achieve that, he will have to cooperate with his neighbor across the street far beyond the  contortionist “double handshake”  made notorious by van Rompuy and Barroso.

They will both need to assert themselves among the very people that confirmed them.

The challenge for Tusk will be to reach beyond becoming a glorified appointments assistant to the major member state leaders.