The statement comes a few days after a survey commissioned by the European Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank, revealed that more than half of Europeans believe that the disintegration of the European Union is a “realistic possibility” in the next 10-20 years.
Acting Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, who is also a Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party candidate in the upcoming European Parliament elections, has called for urgent changes to take place in the EU so that the bloc can continue to exist.
“There is a growing awareness that Europe cannot continue to function as [it did] before. Europe must change in order to survive” Borrell told the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
He claimed that “Europe is needed more than ever” but that currently, “it is under threat”.
According to Borrell, Europe has now many enemies, including Brexit, China, the presidents of the US and Russia, as well as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.
At the same time, Borrell argued that Europe “can turn these risks into opportunities”, suggesting that “[US President Donald] Trump’s attack on the German trade surplus will force Berlin to change its economic model”.
“Maybe Brexit will force us to move faster towards a political union, while Salvini and Orban will prod Germany to seriously consider the protection of fundamental rights,” Borrell pointed out.
His speculation comes after a poll released by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) last week indicated that a majority of citizens in 14 European countries, including France, Germany, Belgium and Italy, believe that the EU is likely to collapse within the next 20 years.
Commenting on the survey’s results, ECFR director Mark Leonard said that pro-European parties should offer voters “bold ideas” so as to ensure that the continent’s “silent majority” vote in the forthcoming EU elections.
“There are seven days to resolve the paradox at the heart of the European project. Support for EU membership is at its highest level since 1983, and yet a majority of voters fear the EU might collapse. The challenge for pro-Europeans is to use this fear of loss to mobilise their silent majority and ensure it is not just the anti-system parties who get their say,” Leonard noted.
The new composition of the European Commission and its head will be determined in line with the results of the EU vote scheduled for 23-26 May.