There have been quite a variety of intellectuals of one sort or another who have roots in Hungary. My father is one and George Soros is another.
In that light I read with some interest George Soros’s latest article on the subject of Europe. As I have read it his basic contentions is that Europe is in a state of crisis owing principally to a number of issues (a) the refugee crisis (b) the austerity policy that has hindered Europe’s economic development; and (c) territorial disintegration.
The refugee crisis he proposes to deal with by making a serious effort to improve living conditions in Africa by adopting a sort of Marshall Plan for Africa. This will if successful , reduce the economic pressures driving people to migrate from Africa. I actually think this is a very valid idea which should be looked at seriously. However i think that his idea of funding this plan via some sort of loans on a large scale is not likely to be supported in the current climate and there are better options.
He is also in favor of de emphasizing the Euro ie leave membership of the Euro Zone as optional. This i think is correct.
Some of his other ideas I found a bit vague. Encourage a bottom up approach to problem solving sound great, however I am not exactly sure what this means in practice etc.
He also calls for a reform of the EU to make it more attractive to countries like the UK. However he stops short of mentioning the obvious thing which would make the EU more attractive to the UK which is the ability of the national governments to control migration from other EU countries.
Anyway following the above I suggest my own ideas.
- Provide more meaning to the European Parliament in ways such as allowing legislative power in areas controlled by the EU and control over the EU budget. ( As things stand the EU Parliament makes an inferior impression relative to that of the UK for example).
- Elect a leader for the EU as whole. The traditional function of leadership includes dealing with internal and external challenges , looking out for long term interests, etc . (The current leadership of the EU is principally the heads of the various EU governments e.g Merkel, Macron etc. In other words there is basically no dedicated noteworthy EU leadership. The heads of of the EU governments are elected to look out for their own countries interests rather than those of the EU as a whole.)
- Let national governments have some flexibility on migration including from the EU. This would provide provide a basis for the UK to remain in the EU which would be much better for the EU financially in the long run. Furthermore it would enable the EU to expand rapidly which would also help financially. For example up to a few years ago Turkey was interested in joining the EU. However this was politely blocked by the EU countries as they did not want unrestricted migration from Turkey. Were EU countries to be able to control migration this would enable the expansion of the EU without the fear of uncontrolled migration. It is also notable that free movement of people was not part of the original EU treaties. I will also add that there is a clear connection between control of migration from inside the EU and control of migration from outside the EU inasmuch as as things are currently set up granting of citizenship by any member state will automatically force all other member states to grant freedom of movement, employment etc.
For all of its flaws the EU is an important institution. It remains to be seen whether it is capable of serious reform, which would ensure its long term viability and attractiveness.