INSOR Russia: Institute of Contemporary Development
Updated April 18, 2019

Centre for European Reform on the Outlook for the European Union

February 20, 2014

On February 19 in London, INSOR Management Board Chair Igor Yurgens took part in a meeting of the Advisory Board of the Centre for European Reform, of which he has been a member since 2008. Following a discussion of general business, Mario Monti, a new member of the Advisory Board and former Prime Minister of Italy (2011-2013), presented a report on the present state of affairs of the European Union. The discussion that followed touched upon the most acute challenges facing the EU ahead (including the plan of the conservative government in Great Britain to withdraw from the union) as well as the passing of the most acute phase of the economic crisis, as evidenced by the growth seen in Ireland, Greece, Spain and Great Britain, where GDP growth last year reached a 6-year high.

The discussion participants made particular note of a new trend in Germany’s foreign policy strategy, as reflected in the latest speeches of the country’s president and foreign minister. They highlighted the special responsibility of their country before Europe and the world, including on security (i.e. military) issues. At the same time, there is a general concern over the division of Europe into North and South. If Northern Europe led by Germany is tightening its belt, increasing labor productivity and investing reserves, then Southern Europe continues to live beyond its means.

Mario Monti expressed the sentiment that establishing order should not come at the price of dividing the continent. Thus, he believes, any steps toward following in Germany’s footsteps in tax, budget and monetary policy should not lead to a sharpening of the contradictions within the European Union.

Photograph from the website of the Centre for European Reform