Few European Union summits have been so divisive and rancorous than this week’s gathering of its 28 national leaders in Brussels.
The issue of irregular immigration is the “central battleground”, as the Wall Street Journal put it. But there are a number of contentious issues, including eurozone economic policy and how the bloc should conduct relations with Russia.
The intransigent adherence to neoliberal capitalism espoused by the EU has inflicted huge damage on the majority of its 500 million citizens, from low-paid jobs, in-work poverty, to unemployment and austerity in public services. Such slavish obeisance to corporate capitalist priorities regardless of the wider social consequences of poverty has inevitably forced a popular discontent with the political class. What needs to change is an overhaul of the entire socio-economic system. Yet leaders like Emmanuel Macron continue to pursue austerity measures and attacks on workers’ rights.