Bureaucracy and the European Union are unfortunately synonyms for quite a lot of people from all walks of life. I was hoping that the advantages of European integration would become more appreciated if for some reason they could not any more be taken for granted. It seems that now this theory is going to be put to the test.
The two biggest projects to date that make the EU (or most of it) so attractive and powerful are the freedom of travelling and the monetary union. Both of them are struggling to some extent at the moment.
The growing debts of many Euro states have led to a crisis that puts the stability of the common currency into question. Suddenly it seems possible that countries like Greece would leave the Euro zone and reintroduce their own denomination, even if the political leaders try to suppress this discussion. The support for the Euro is declining in several countries.
While the above has been on the horizon for over a year the attacks on the Schengen treaty have come as a surprise to me. First it was the founding members Italy and France that started to demand treaty changes in order to deal with refugees from Northern Africa. This week Denmark decided to reintroduce controls at its borders with Germany and Sweden. Even commissioner Cecilia Malmström is thinking about allowing suspension of the Schengen treaty in more situations than currently.
Combine this with growing nationalistic tendencies in general and you can easily get the impression that not only European integration has come to a halt since the establishment of a constitution for Europe has failed. Indeed the EU is starting to disintegrate.
I can only hope that this serves as a wake-up call, at least for the younger generation who have grown up as Europeans and do not even know a world any more where you had to show a passport when visiting your neighbours.