The Summer of Discontent

If the European Union is going to split up, this is how it will start.

By Juda Jelinek.

Nations have turned against their neighbors in the European Union, quarreling over how much of a burden they should bear in managing the refugee crisis. As an indicator of how xenophobia is rising to the level of policy, Britain voted to leave the E.U. Meanwhile, in Hungary, another referendum is underway which will determine whether or not the country will submit to the E.U.’s plans to temporarily resettle refugees from the Syrian war across the member states. The referendum is nothing short of an attempt by Hungary to disregard E.U. parliamentary policy. It has been a summer of discontent.

General unease prevails across Europe: the fruit of a shocking increase in racism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism. These trends are underpinned by the outrage originating from terrorist assaults around the world that are carried out by men using guns, bombs, knives, even trucks, which contributes to the widespread suspicion of refugees and Western society’s increased restlessness. The unfortunate constellation of variables which have resulted in such dire discontent is unlikely to be season-specific; its negative repercussions are expected to set the tone of political debates for the remainder of the year and likely beyond.

E.U. Instability

In September, E.U. leaders attending the Bratislava Summit voiced their shared ambition to avoid any repetition of the migration fiasco, despite the emergence, in the aftermath of Brexit, of political divides that make it virtually impossible to present any all-encompassing consensus.

Britain’s referendum to exit the E.U. in June shook even the most hopeful across the Union, which is still engulfed in the struggle to overcome years of economic recession, heightened terror threats, and a massive influx of refugees. The Bratislava Summit was supposed to …

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