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People’s Confidence in the European Union Is Being Tested

The European Union was above all a vision and a hope for the end of wars in Europe, the harmonious rapprochement of relations and the cooperation of peoples through free economic and trade relations.

This vision resonated greatly, spreading first as the Common Market and later as the European Union over a much wider territory than even its initiators could have imagined.

However, a series of events in recent years have weakened or even marginalized the EU – as the war in Ukraine demonstrates – to the extent that even its very cohesion is threatened.

“Democracy in Europe is under attack,” said the President of the European Parliament at an emotionally charged press conference, referring to the scandal that has emerged involving allegations of corrupt activities by Members of the European Parliament and staff involving Qatari officials – and there appears to be a Greek dimension.

One could say that I am exaggerating.

What is certain, however, is that this scandal could not have broken out at a worse time for Europe. At a time when the far right is gaining ground on the continent. When the Russia-Ukraine war is raging. And when the economy is testing the resilience of its member nations.

Putin and Erdogan should be overjoyed. They will not believe in their luck.

Since last Friday, authorities have discovered a bag containing 600,000 euros in cash from one suspect, 150,000 from a second “and a few hundred thousand euros in a suitcase in a Brussels hotel room.”

Among the six suspects arrested by the Belgian authorities is PASOK MEP Eva Kaili, who yesterday said she was innocent.

I cannot know whether and how deep this scandal goes. Nor do I know whether Mrs. Kaili is innocent or guilty – at least before she goes to court.
But what is clear is that the people of Europe will lose even more confidence in the European Union.


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