Can the Bratislava Summit mend the European Union?

Article published on Sept. 16, 2016
Article published on Sept. 16, 2016

The leaders of the EU member states met today in Bratislava to discuss how the European Union should deal with the problem of refugees and Brexit. In the run-up to the meeting Donald Tusk called for "a sober and brutally honest assessment of the situation. Europe's press reacted with a mix of hope and scepticism.

Politicians are finally listening to Europeans - Kristeligt Dagblad, Denmark

Kristeligt Dagblad hopes very much that the representatives of the member states and the EU will roll up their sleeves and get to work on overcoming their differences in Bratislava: "Everything points to the EU elite having understood the problems. In many key areas the EU is to be strengthened but at the same time have less influence in others. Although many politicians have succumbed to the trend of expressing Euroscepticism or opposition, the Union needs all the political and public support it can get. A Europe in which countries don't work together is unimaginable. There is no alternative to precisely this European Union. We should be glad that the politicians are now listening to the peoples of Europe." (16/09/2016)

The EU needs good will most of all - Sydsvenskan, Sweden

Sydsvenskan suspects it won't be easy to reconcile the various interests within the EU: "Metres of shelves containing treaties, directives and regulations govern cooperation in the EU. But what good are rules and agreements if no one follows them? Cooperation in the EU can't be brought about with rules. It must be based on good will and the readiness to put the common good above conflicting national interests. Without such good will the EU simply can't function. Is there enough of it present to break the spiral of dissatisfaction with the EU? The answer could lie in Bratislava." (16/09/2016)

Take foot off the integration pedal - Dennik N, Slovakia

Whenever the EU runs into problems further integration is automatically presented as the solution, says Dennik N, calling for a new approach: "If your car has a problem with the engine, the fuel line, the ignition, the gearbox or the brakes because it was put together too quickly and with faulty parts, it doesn't help to step on the gas pedal even harder. The only thing to do is stop and get the car repaired and the faulty components replaced. The summit in Bratislava and the coming months will show whether the EU leaders can overcome their profound tendency to react to any integration problem with more integration. But judging by EU Commission chief Juncker's recent speech there is little hope of this. He has recognised the problems but only sees strengthening Brussels as the solution. To stick with the car metaphor, with such drivers the car will fall apart long before it reaches its destination." (16/09/2016)

Exclusion of the British is unacceptable - The Times, UK

The decision not to invite the UK to the summit is proof that Jean-Claude Juncker wants to punish the country for its Brexit vote, the Times complains: "The divorce papers have not yet been served. Britain is still an equal member of the EU and its Prime Minister should be present... The intentions of Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, have become all too clear. He wants to erect a cordon sanitaire between Britain and the remaining members. In his annual state of the union address yesterday, Mr Juncker declared that he 'respected but regretted' Britain’s decision to leave. His actions betray little sense of regret. He will not be satisfied until Britain is punished and given pariah status."

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