No easy union amid lack of unity in Europe

Former London mayor Boris Johnson saw the writing on the wall when he said that "the EU lacks democracy and a unifying authority and is doomed to fail" ("EU doomed to fail, like Hitler: Boris Johnson"; May 16). Only time can hope to prove him wrong.

American business magnate George Soros has said that the European Union is on the verge of collapse.

The Greek crisis is nothing but kicking the can down the road, or, more accurately, kicking a ball uphill so that it keeps rolling back down.

The EU tried to develop a model of regional integration based on the principles of an open society, but is bound to fail.

Citizens prize their national identity over the supranational dream.

The Brexit referendum, scheduled for June 23, can trace its roots to the 2004 enlargement of the EU and the subsequent wave of Polish migration to Britain.

Belgium and Luxembourg formed an economic union in 1921, and talks began for a customs union with the Netherlands in 1944.

The EU remains the weakest link in our global economy after years of economic stagnation. It is mired in high unemployment and paralysed by political dysfunction.

EU officials have addressed the economic downturn by imposing severe austerity and reducing debts through cuts in spending, with tax increases.

Unemployment runs up to 21 per cent in Spain, even hitting 27 per cent at one point. And Portugal's constitutional court struck down austerity policies enacted by the government in compliance with EU requirements.

The EU lacks any kind of democratic legitimacy, and the end could come sooner than the politicians imagine.

Forcing together economies as disparate as Germany and Greece was always doomed to result in debt and paralysis.

The impending clash on economic policy will be aggravated by the continuing migration disaster, which is threatening to tear apart the social fabric of Europe.

It took the US about 80 years and a horrific civil war to complete its own integration, transitioning from a loose confederation of colonies, and then states, into a true union.

Is it reasonable to expect Europeans to have an easier time in view of their deep cultural differences and a long history of wars?

Heng Cho Choon