It’s hard to escape the claim these days. The end of the European Union is near.
Have you heard the European Union is on the verge of destruction?
Of course you have. Even passive political observers would have had a hard time avoiding the apocalyptic assessments from European politicians over the past few months. With the migrant crisis flaring, another round of doomsday rhetoric from Brussels to Berlin and beyond is upon us.
Here’s a look at the best, most calamitous, end-of-days proclamations ricocheting across the continent:
1. Donald Tusk, president of the European Council: “A political earthquake”
European Council President Donald Tusk
Tusk told MEPs Tuesday he had “no doubt that this [migration] challenge has the potential to change the European Union we have built. It has the potential even to destroy achievements such as border-free travel between Schengen countries. And what is even more dangerous, it has the potential to create tectonic changes in the European political landscape.”
2. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission: “Not going very well”
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
“The European Union is not going very well. And so we must ensure that we keep alive the ambitions, hopes and dreams of Europe.”
The president of the Commission warned the center-right European People’s Party last week that the EU faces decline and the “love affair” with integration may be over.
3. Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor: “Not what we wished for”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
“If Europe fails on the question of refugees, then it won’t be the Europe we wished for.”
That was the blunt assessment of the German leader in August as she discussed the ongoing migration crisis.
4. Miro Cerar, Slovenia’s prime minister: “Weeks away from falling apart”
Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar
“If we don’t find a solution today, if we don’t do everything we can today, then it is the end of the European Union as such,” Cerar said ahead of a special summit Sunday of EU leaders. “If we don’t deliver concrete action, I believe Europe will start falling apart.”
Cerar reiterated his warnings Monday when he announced that Slovenia is under increasing strain as it tries to manage the thousands of migrants passing through the country, even calling in private security firms to help out.
“If a joint solution is not found, it [the EU] will start breaking up,” Cerar said.
5. Werner Faymann, Austria’s chancellor: “A quiet collapse”
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann
“Now the speech is about either a common Europe or about a quiet collapse of the European Union. One path is burdensome, difficult and supposedly long, and the other one would lead to the chaos.”
The Austrian leader set out the depressing alternatives for Europe in an interview with the Kronen Zeitung on Sunday.
6. François Hollande, France’s president: “The end of Europe, our demise”
French President Francois Hollande
“We need not less Europe but more Europe. Europe must affirm itself otherwise we will see the end of Europe, our demise.”
The French president struck a direct and fairly ominous note when he addressed MEPs alongside Merkel in early October.
7. Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the European Parliament’s liberal MEPs: “Breaking apart”
Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian member of the European Parliament
“If we don’t stand together now, our Union and the values we share will start to break apart. “
Calling for another migration summit of EU leaders in September, the former Belgian prime minister warned that his beloved Europe was in deep trouble.
8. Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament: “Bad condition”
President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz
“Europe is in a bad condition.”
The German Socialist warned in September that disagreement over the distribution of refugees was causing the bloc to splinter.
9. Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front: “Destroy the EU, not Europe”
Head of the Front National Marine Le Pen
“The French have understood that the EU does not live up to the utopia they were sold. I want to destroy the EU, not Europe! I believe in a Europe of nation states. I believe in Airbus and Ariane, in a Europe based on cooperation. But I don’t want this European Soviet Union.
Unsurprisingly, right-wing populist Le Pen had harsh words for the EU in a June 2014 interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel.
10. Mark Rutte, Dutch prime minister: “Could tear apart EU’s fabric”
Prime Minister Mark Rutte
The migration crisis is the largest challenge the European Union is facing, Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said last week.
“It could tear apart the fabric that binds our cooperation,” he said glumly, just days before Dutch king called for calm on migration.