Maasikas: Member states can deal with populism, but the EU might not survive it
Estonia’s permanent representative in Brussels Matti Maasikas wrote on Wednesday that though the European Union was vulnerable to populism, it wasn’t possible to turn back time and get rid of the effects of globalization.
Maasikas wrote in his opinion piece in daily Eesti Päevaleht that beyond their well-being and feeling of security, people’s loyalty to their country also depended on emotional and social factors, such as symbolism, awareness of history, and on their ancestry. Thus support for the EU greatly depended on the everyday benefits the union had to offer to the people.
People were under pressure economically due to the euro crisis and austerity policies, Maasikas wrote. He added that First Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans had been right when he said at Tallinn’s Lennart Meri Conference in May this year that while individual EU members would be able to deal with the current wave of populism, the EU might not survive it.
Maasikas opined that in human terms, real gain and loss didn’t have as much effect on people’s opinions as the cheap and quick solutions offered by the populists. At the moment unrest was directed against the effects of globalization, Maasikas wrote, and on our continent it was the EU’s single market and the free movement of people that epitomized these effects.
In his opinion, the current situation is far from ideal - but there is no way to turn things back to how they were before, either.