chapter  40
The future
Pages 6

In March 2017 the EU will mark the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome which established the European Economic Community from which it has evolved. Ten years earlier – on the fiftieth anniversary – there was a very great deal to celebrate; the infant organisation had expanded to cover nearly the whole of the European continent, bringing peace, prosperity, democratic values and the rule of law in its wake, and setting an example to the rest of the world on how to resolve disputes by negotiation rather than force. The celebrations did not last for long. The recession of 2008 and its long aftermath put the future of the eurozone in peril. The Russian interventions in Georgia and Ukraine, the plight of Greece, the turmoil in the Middle East and the subsequent migration crisis, the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels and the election of authoritarian governments in Poland and Hungary which challenged many of the principles of the Union, all posed problems which the EU, and its member states, were ill-prepared to meet.