An East-West Divide on our Doorstep - Mini-Mag Autumn 2017

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Mini-mag fr/en Autumn 2017



Foreword The second half of 2017 has continued to stall most political integration projects within the European Union. Nationalist and opportunistic movements have gained a foothold in the political spectrum. Today, these parties are present in every member state and are gaining ground. This phenomenon is an aftermath of both the economic crisis of 2008 and the failure of several (now mostly former) pro-EU leaders to tackle the underlying issues. The gap between citizens and leaders have been filled by populist discourses in France, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Poland among others. Moreover, an internal division seems to be on the EU’s doorstep. The divide between East and West of Europe is getting more and more concrete on a number of dossiers: from the new rules on posting of workers to relocation of asylum-seekers. In general, the older and fresh EU members seem to share opposite views with the regards to the future of the EU: while Emmanuel Macron in France is calling for more integration in the form of a multi-speed Europe, in Hungary Viktor Orban has rejected any bid to pool more sovereignty, claiming that “Brussels” is controlled by George Soros.

Ramona Coman, director of the ULB Institute for European Studies, contributed to this special issue with an analysis on the East-West fragmentation and the existing divisions within the Visegrád 4 (V4) group. Elodie Thevenin explains how the countries making up the V4 are resisting the refugee quota and how the Austrian election result may influence the EU. In the next pages you will also find Juliette Le Maguer’s interview with Philippe Lamberts, Belgian MEP and leader of the Greens–European Free Alliance. Bárbara Matias gives her take on how the rise of President Donald Trump could give a chance for the EU to become a new beacon of the West. Finally, Cornelia Herman and Jean-Stanislas Bareth analyse in-depth the developments in the posted workers directive revision and its consequences.

sent the diversity of the European Union: everyone comes from different member states, both from the East and the West of Europe. Their experiences and outlook on the EU is much needed, as most media nowadays seems to be focused on the English isles. The Visegrád 4 and its neighbourhood are currently and will likely remain long-term members of the European Union. Therefore, these countries will have a say on EU’s future. Will it be a multi-speed Europe “à la Macron” or a Europe of national powers, as in Orbán’s will? •

Daniel Vig Co-Editor-in-Chief

Our fall mini-mag encompasses some positivity on the future of our European Union. It tries to shed a fresh light in the debate about the future of the EU while avoiding for once the pessimistic tone which has accompanied analyses of the Brexit negotiations. Our contributors repre-

Summary p.O3

The East-West divide and the divided East


EU Immigration Policy in the Visegrad Group: Between Solidarity and Discrimination


A New Turn for Austria after the Elections?

p.08 p.09

Philippe Lamberts, avocat de la convergence au sein de l’Union The European Union’s moment: why a new era in international affairs has begun


Faut-il davantage réguler le détachement des travailleurs ?



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Mini-mag autumn 2017

The East-West divide and the divided East In 1989, the ‘return to Europe’ of the Central and Eastern European Countries sought to unify the East and the West after several decades of political isolation. For many political leaders in the former communist countries, the integration process was the necessary driving force to catch up with the socio-economic developed West.   Catching up with the West   Over the last 28 years, the political, economic and social path of these countries has been shaped in many ways by the integration process, at different moments and with different intensities. The internal market built on the Schengen borderland was intended to bring economic prosperity and social development. While it improved the economic and social conditions of some specific categories of citizens, as the business environment brought closer economic actors from the East and the West, it also increased inequalities, as well as the feeling of being ‘second-class citizens’, all of which strengthened the conviction that ‘this part of Europe will never catch up with the West’. Even in the Eastern part of Germany, citizens still feel as if ‘they are second-class citizens whose salaries and pensions are lower than those in the western part of the country’, as Ivan Krastev recently argued in a piece published in The New York Times.

However, the East is not   a homogeneous bloc Although the East-West divide has historical roots, neither the economic nor the social conditions in Central and Eastern Europe are (or had been) homogeneous. Countries in the region differ from each other on many aspects. Despite the attempts to reduce disparities, the East and the West bring together spaces of economic and social prosperity that intersect other spaces of poverty and social exclusion, regardless their geography. For instance, in the aftermath of the Eurozone crisis, the economic and social situation of EU citizens dramatically deteriorated. According to Eurostat, the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion has increased in most Member States. In Central and Eastern Europe, the situation is uneven as, on the one hand, the Czech Republic has the lowest share of poor or socially excluded people among its population (followed

by Sweden, the Netherlands and Finland), while, on the other hand, in Bulgaria, Romania and Greece ‘more than one third of the population is affected by poverty and social exclusion’.

Different interests, values   and policy preferences Since their accession, the Central and Eastern Member States of the EU sought to put forward some of their preferences to shape the integration process. Back in the 2000s, some of them pushed for the introduction of references to the Christian origins in the preamble of the Constitutional Treaty. The old and new Member States were also divided about the role of NATO in Europe, and concerning their diplomatic relations with Russia. Over time, disagreements increased on how to shape policies at the EU level in a number of important fields, including migration and the refugee crisis, defence, posted works and the EU budget, among many others. Interests matter, but values play also a role in explaining such outcomes. Although the EU sought to promote solidarity policies, recent crises revealed the limits of this value. When the refugee crisis worsened, in Central and Eastern Europe political leaders stood firmly against any decision in this direction, arguing that Islam was a threat to their identity.


Thus, promoting ‘national and regional diversity, history, culture and traditions within the EU’ is one of the aims of the Visegrad Group (V4) that brings together since 1991 Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Together they seek to act as a unitary actor and to shape the future of the EU in line with their views and objectives. The V4 promotes increased regional cooperation in a wide range of policies. However, while they seek to have more weight at the EU level, they often vote differently in the Council. Their apparent unity has its own fragilities depending on the ideological aims of the political actors in power. Whilst Viktor Orban and Beata Szydlo managed to strengthen their relations since the (re)election of the Fidesz in Hungary and PiS in Poland, in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Robert Fico and Andrej Babis did not always follow their direction. For instance, when in October 2017 the Council voted on the directive on posted workers, Poland and Hungary refused to follow Slovakia and the Czech Republic that endorsed the compromise reached at the EU level on cross-border labour rules. While in Central Europe the V4 increases regional cooperation, Romania and Bulgaria seek to join key EU’s policies. The two countries have long struggled to access the Schengen area. Given the opposition of some old Member States,

EYES ON EUROPE the decision seems to be postponed sine die, although political actors in Bucharest and Sofia lament that administrative and technical criteria are fully implemented. Still, political actors in the West fear the levels of corruption and the inability of these countries to effectively guard the external EU borders. The lack of trust has not yielded over time.

Diverse views on the future   of EU integration The East is also divided as far as the future of the EU is concerned, with some political leaders claiming for ‘more Europe’, while others calling on for ‘less’. Since the election of Emmanuel Macron and the reelection of Angela Merkel, the future of Europe seems to be a multi-speed one. In contrast, in Central Europe, Viktor Orban and Beata Szydlo, who are opposed to the idea of ‘more Europe’, see the launch of a series of enhanced cooperation projects as the only way forward. Andrej Babis called on stopping the talks about a two-speed Europe, while Robert Fico wants his country to belong to the ‘core of the EU’. In contrast, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia seem to be in favour of ‘more Europe’, as they wish to join the Schengen area and the Euro. While Slovakia joined the euro area in 2009, Poland and Hungary prefer to maintain control on their monetary policy, as they fear the empowerment of the EU institutions. In the Czech Republic, where only 33% of the citizens believe that membership to the EU is a good thing (which is the lowest score in EU 28), the Euro still divides political actors and citizens.

Europeans divided about   EU integration Citizens from Central and Eastern Europe are also divided and the lines of division do not always reflect the political ones. The last Eurobarometer (April 2017) revealed that 49% of Europeans wish to move forward ‘without waiting for the other EU Member States’, while 41% believe that it would be better to ‘wait for all the EU Member States to be ready’. The majority of those wishing to advance ‘without waiting’ are located in Latvia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Estonia, while in Portugal, Greece, Spain, Romania,

Ireland, Finland, Poland, Bulgaria, UK, Cyprus, Sweden, Mata, Luxembourg and Italy citizens believe that all the EU Member States should be ready. Despite these differences, observers still insist on the East-West divide, while in reality the picture is much more complex. ‘There are more differences within the so-called East (…) and West (…) than between East and West’ (Anna GrzymalaBusse 2016: 89). By highlighting the East-West divide, observers tend to forget that ‘there are two Polands

as there are two Hungaries’ (Rupnik and Zielonka 2012). Most of the lines of divisions are not specific to the said East-West divide as ‘they overlap and cut across each other’ (Grzymala-Busse 2016). Considering them together can help politicians to think ahead the future. •

Ramona Coman, Director of the Institute for European Studies -ULB

EU Immigration Policy in the Visegrad Group: Between Solidarity and Discrimination Governments, political parties, as well as the broader society seem to be divided on the question of acceptance of asylum seekers within the European member states. Although the division can be felt on different levels, a greater disagreement is occurring between the Western European countries and the Visegrad Group (V4) – namely Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.   European Schemes for   Relocation and Resettlement Following highly debated controversies on the role that the Union needs to play in regards to several accidents in the Mediterranean Sea, the European Commission established its first relocation scheme in May 2015. However, still facing a huge number of asylum applications, the European Union decided in September 2015, to set up new refugee quotas. The plan of relocating 120,000 people located in Italy, Greece and Hungary has been quite controversial amongst EU member states (Barigazzi and De La Baume, 2015). The countries of the V4 are showing clear opposition to this relocation system. However, the extent and expressiveness of their disagreement differ from one country to another; and even from one ruling political party to another.


Fierce Opposition from the Visegrad Group The Czech government voted against the proposal of the European Commission in September2015 – alongside Hungary, Slovakia and Romania – and consequently rejected the imposed quotas, even though the mechanism entails to welcome a rather small number of refugees (Jurečková, 2016). Hungary is the only country of the V4 having direct experience with the migration flow, due to the arrival of asylum seekers through the Western Balkan route. The discourses towards refugees addressed by the government are clear: asylum seekers are not welcomed in Hungary. Furthermore, the ruling-party, Fidesz, is relying on assertive advertisement campaigns to influence public opinion. With identity concerns at the background of the actions against

Mini-mag autumn 2017 ric, Poland backed Hungary and Slovakia’s action(Bodoni, 2017).

refugees, the Hungarian government is also spending millions of Euros on national consultations in order to legitimate its policy (Bayer, 2016). Eventually, the case of Hungary will be remembered by the construction of the border fence to deter immigration (Dunai, 2017). First, Poland did not go as far as the other members of the V4 on the rhetoric against refugees. In the beginning of the so-called ‘refugee crisis’, Platforma Obywatelska – the party in power at that time – em The Czech government voted against the proposal of the European Commission in September2015 – alongside Hungary, Slovakia and Romania – and consequently rejected the imposed quotas, even though the mechanism entails to welcome a rather small number of refugees (Jurečková, 2016). Hungary is the only country of the V4 having direct experience with the migration flow, due to the arrival of asylum seekers through the Western Balkan route. The discourses towards refugees addressed by the government are clear: asylum seekers are not welcomed in Hungary. Furthermore, the ruling-party, Fidesz, is relying on assertive advertisement campaigns to influence public opinion. With identity concerns at the background of the actions against refugees, the Hungarian government is also spending millions of Euros on national consultations in order to legitimate its policy (Bayer, 2016). Eventually, the case of Hungary will be remembered by the construction of the border fence to deter immigration (Dunai, 2017). First, Poland did not go as far as the other members of the V4 on the rhetoric against refugees. In the beginning of the so-called ‘refugee

crisis’, Platforma Obywatelska – the party in power at that time – emphasised the inability of the country to fulfil such capability-based solidarity, but in the end agreed to welcome a small number of asylum seekers, on the condition of them being affiliated with Christian faith (Györi, 2016). With the shift in the ruling party in 2015 in favour of Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, the rhetoric against asylum seekers toughen. This change has since created more bonds between the V4 members, and their opposition to the Commission’s decision seems to renew and demonstrate their unity. Poland also tried to distance itself from the EU, as the ruling-party rhetoric usually highlights the fact that the refugee issue is not a Polish problem, but only concerns the European Union (Hassel, 2015). The refugee quotas were also rejected in Slovakia and the country strives to tighten its borders. The Slovak government’s rhetoric, more than being only against refugees, is pointing at the religious affiliation of asylum seekers – predominantly Islam – which according to the Prime Minister Robert Fico “has no place in Slovakia” (Chadwick, 2016). This coalition of the Visegrad Group against the EU immigration strategy illustrates the solidarity between these four countries under a background of discrimination against refugees.

EU Refugee Quota Scheme   to Court The opposition against the quota system recently reached a crucial turning point. Budapest is now fighting alongside the Slovak government in front of the Court of Justice of the EuropeanUnion. Relying on security-threat rheto-


The decision of the Court is going to be decisive for the future of the opposition to the relocation plan. Indeed, if the Court’s decision goes against Hungary and Slovakia, it would give more incentives to the European Union and the member states in favour of the quotas to pressure the Central and Eastern European countries to accept asylum seekers. On the contrary, a ruling against the EU relocation plan would mean that the quotas are actually a violation of EU law (Baczynska, 2017). This decision would strengthen the countries’ opposition, and may bring greater divisions amongst the EU member states.

Conclusion   H e n ce , t h e co m p re h e n s i ve European immigration policy seems to be failing to gather all member states around common decisions. Besides, the reactions of some countries to its implementation completely jeopardise the sentiment and goal of unity and solidarity between EU members. The division of member states on immigration policy is leading to significant consequences, in a time when the Union is already facing huge difficulties, notably with Brexit and the democratic deficit. The migration crisis and the reactions of some member states might be revealing a deeper issue related to xenophobia and Islamophobia. Eventually, the European Union needs to take concrete actions in order to overcome this wave of non-toleration, as it goes against the values and core essence of the Union, and call into question the coexistence of different cultures across Europe. •

Elodie Thevenin is studying for a Double Degree Programme in European Studies at Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland and the Institute of Political Studies in Strasbourg, France.


A New Turn for Austria after the Elections?

Legislative elections were held in Austria on the 15th October, 2017.

The results confirmed what seems to be a current trend in the European Union: the rise of populism, as far-right made a significant progress.

A Rightward   Shift First of all, the functioning of the Austrian political system implies that the President – Alexander Van der Bellen, from the Greens’ party (Die Grünen), since January 2017 – is elected by universal suffrage for six years. However, his role is somewhat minor and comparable to the function in a semi-presidential system. Hence, a significant part of the executive is left to the Austrian Federal government, whose head is the Chancellor – since May 2017, Christian Kern from the Social Democratic Party of Austria (Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs – SPÖ). The legislative elections are held every five years to elect the 183 members of the Nationalrat – the National Council – which is one of the two chambers of the Austrian Parliament. Following the elections, the leader of the most represented party – with the possibility to form a coalition – becomes the new Chancellor. The October elections were quite unusual, even if most people were expecting this trend. It marks the

end of a long-lasting coalition, and even domination, from the two main parties SPÖ and the Austrian People’s Party (Österreichische Volkspartei – ÖVP). Five parties now make up the Austrian political scene, as there are represented in the Parliament: SPÖ, ÖVP, the Freedom Party of Austria (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs – FPÖ), the New Austria and Liberal Forum (Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum – NEOS) and the Peter Pilz List (Liste Peter Pilz - PILZ). ÖVP is now the party with the highest number of seats (62 under 183), followed by SPÖ (52 seats). But what has been unusual is the score of FPÖ (51 seats), as well as the eviction of the Greens (Die Grünen) that failed to cross the 4% threshold to be represented in the Parliament (Huggler and Csekö, 2017).


As Sebastian Kurz is the leader of ÖVP, he will now become Chancellor. However, his figure has been quite controversial amongst the European Union member states. Not only is he the youngest leader in the EU, but his positions are sometimes going against Brussels’ policies, especially on issues related to migration and security (Sahloul, 2017).

An Old Threat Comeback   The October elections are also marked by the comeback of FPÖ. Indeed, it made a quick ascent in the number of votes during the 1999 elections and entered a coalition government in 2000. The success of FPÖ was partly due to its former leader Jörg Haider, who presented his party as a renewal of the Austrian political scene that was dominated by the Proporz of SPÖ and ÖVP. However, threatened by the score of FPÖ and its link with Nazism, the EU imposed diplomatic sanctions over

Mini-mag autumn 2017 Austria, as to deter and prevent any wrongdoing by far-right extremists. The EU sanctions did not last long, and the coalition ÖVP-FPÖ lost on strength. Moreover, FPÖ itself declined in popularity following controversies (Prévost, 2004). On the 20th October 2017, the Austrian President invited the new Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to form a government. Negotiations to form a coalition then started and the government should be appointed by the end of December. The conservative leader is said to have invited the far-right party for talks on forming a coalition (Oltermann, 2017). If FPÖ is confirmed to be in the next government, it will signify its return to power after a decade in opposition, and would possibly give again the EU a hard-time.

Toward Stormy Relations   with the EU? Union. Indeed, if we think in terms of a still existing division between Eastern and Western Europe, we

would generally classify Austria as belonging to Western Europe due to its history but also to the link it has with Western countries, notably with Germany. However, the recent trend towards more nationalistic politics could possibly let us think that Austria is getting closer to positions that are currently witnessed in Eastern Europe. Therefore the link between the Visegrád Group and Austria is important to study. The Visegrád Group – or V4 – encompasses four countries of Central and Eastern Europe, that is to say Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The main goal of the V4 was to ease the accession to the European Union, and since this aim was achieved in 2004, the countries are trying to find common positions and collaborate on diverse subjects. The past few years have evidenced the rise of populism in these four countries, especially in Poland and Hungary, with Jarosław Kaczyński and Viktor Orbán, respectively as the Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość – PiS) party leader in Poland and the Prime Minister of Hungary (Przybylski, 2017).

Austria cooperates with the V4 is the framework of the V4+, with as well Croatia and Slovenia. The FPÖ leader already declared being willing to get closer to the Visegrád Group, as the five countries share common views, notably on migration. Indeed, the four counties of the Visegrád Group refused to implement the quota system decided by the European Commission. The situation in Austria is a bit different. The country did not boycott the relocation scheme, however the political rhetoric toughen, as many asylum seekers crossed the border between Hungary and Austria, or with Italy. The recent declarations from FPÖ advocate the closing of borders, but even the ÖVP leader Sebastian Kurz praised Hungary for building fences on the borders with Croatia and Serbia, and keeping refugees outside the EU territory (Nasralla and Heinrich,2017). Immigration is not the only subject the V4 and Austria agree on. Regarding the power given to the Union, the five countries seem to be unwilling to give more power to EU institutions (Chandler, 2017). •

Elodie Thevenin is studying for a Double Degree Programme in European Studies at Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland and the Institute of Political Studies in Strasbourg, France.



Philippe Lamberts,     avocat de la convergence   au sein de l’Union Interview avec le leader du Groupe Verts/ALE au Parlement européen Philippe Lamberts, député Europe Écologie les Verts au Parlement européen depuis 2009, s’adresse à moi, en souriant. « Voilà, je suis à vous », me rassure-t-il d’une voix posée dans laquelle on devine l’assurance d’un homme d’expérience. Après tout, il est engagé auprès du parti Europe Écologie depuis 1991… Il s’apprête d’ailleurs à donner une conférence aux côtés de Jean Quatremer, journaliste français pour le quotidien Libération, spécialiste des questions européennes, sur le thème « Peut-on relancer le projet européen sans réformer l’Union Européenne ? », co-organisée par Eyes on Europe, Stand Up for Europe, et l’Institut d’études européennes de l’ULB. Curieuse de recueillir ses impressions avant la discussion, je l’interroge rapidement sur l’actualité du vieux continent. À quoi ressemblerait votre Europe idéale ? Pour moi, une Europe idéale serait une Europe qui fait du bien-être des citoyens sa priorité numéro 1, qui leur garantirait une qualité de vie optimale, ce qui, à l’évidence n’est pas le cas aujourd’hui. Je souhaiterais que tous les acteurs européens se mettent autour de la table et discutent d’un We belong together (Nous ne formons qu’un seul corps ndlr). Quels obstacles empêchent d’atteindre cet objectif selon vous ?

Sincèrement, pour moi, la réponse à cette question se trouve du côté du néo-libéralisme. Depuis près de quarante ans, ce dernier est devenu le discours dominant pour la majeure partie de la classe politique européenne. Or, cela ne fait que creuser un peu plus les inégalités économiques et sociales. Voilà le problème. Aujourd’hui, on a tendance à blâmer les multinationales, comme s’il s’agissait d’êtres animés. Certes, ce sont des personnes morales, dotées d’une personnalité juridique, mais il ne faudrait pas oublier que des individus sont à l’origine de la création de ce statut. Ce sont eux les responsables. L’argent, plus précisément le capitalisme serait donc responsable de l’échec de la conception initiale de l’Union, telle que définie par la Communauté Économique européenne ? C’est difficile à dire… Je ne serais pas si catégorique. Si l’on remonte aux années 1950-60, au début de la construction européenne, l’argent a permis la reconstruction et le développement du continent, la prospérité des ménages, et la réduction des inégalités. Tout cela c’est fait par peur du Communisme. En revanche, à partir des années 1970, le néolibéralisme a commencé à s’imposer avec


comme chefs de file Margaret Thatcher au Royaume-Uni et Ronald Reagan aux Etats-Unis, avec les conséquences que l’on connaît. L’argent peut être un moteur autant qu’un frein au développement de l’Union. Puisque vous évoquez les freins au développement de l’Union, de nombreux obstacles restent encore à franchir : la gouvernance économique, le dumping social… Pensez-vous que l’Union soit en mesure de résoudre ces problèmes, tandis que la solidarité avec l’UE s’effrite, l’exemple le plus récent étant la Catalogne ? Oui, vous avez raison. Les obstacles sont encore nombreux ; il faudrait tendre vers une logique de convergence. Par ailleurs, j’ai coutume de dire à mes amis catalans (qui travaillent au sein du parti Europe Ecologie les Verts ndlr) : « Je ne comprends pas pourquoi vous voulez faire sécession d’avec l’Espagne sans pour autant quitter l’Union. Cela est tout à fait contradictoire. » En effet, si la Catalogne refuse de payer pour l’Espagne, pourquoi accepterait-elle de payer pour l’Europe toute entière ? Il faut être logique jusqu’au bout. D’un point de vue économique, que ferait la Catalogne isolée au beau milieu du continent ? Là, un de ses collègues s’avance vers lui, sonnant ainsi la fin de notre entretien. • Interview réalisée mercredi 11 octobre 2017, à l’Institut d’Études européennes de Bruxelles. Juliette Le Maguer est étudiante de Master 2 en traduction à l’ULB.

Mini-mag autumn 2017

The European Union’s moment: why a new era in international affairs has begun    “The era in which we could fully rely on others is over to some extent. We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s words in late May 2017 have become almost prophetic. After the Brexit referendum shattered the EU and questionable parties rose in various MemberStates, a power shift sprouted along with Donald Trump’s election in the United States, the political woes of a post-Brexit United Kingdom, and the decisive victory of Emmanuel Macron in France. In this piece I will look into how a new world order is being designed out of an improbable political moment of fading longstanding leaderships.   The fading American   hegemony After the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, what political scientist Francis Fukuyama argued to be ‘’an unabashed victory of economic and political liberalism, the triumph of the West’’ (Fukuyama, 1989), the United States asserted its position as the sole superpower in the world - its soft power was incomparable, hard power unbeatable and political leadership undeniable. Their principal role among the United Nations’ Security Council and the NATO allies avowed their role as ‘leader of the Free World’, a term first originated in the Cold War era. The United States of America were the ultimate, and the victorious, representation of democracy and liberalism in the new globalized reality, having led international efforts in Somalia (1993), the Bosnian War (1995) and Kosovo’s liberation (1999), as well as commanding peace efforts in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidencies also enjoyed this hegemonic period in international relations: after the 9/11 attacks, B u s h i nvo ke d N ATO ’s Article 5 (beholding the principle of collective defense) for the first time,

summoning all allies in their ‘’war on terrorism’’ (White House, 2001), and Obama led efforts to further human rights externally (lifting the embargo on Cuba, championing climate change agreements) and internally supported LGBT rights, enacting the Affordable Care Act). Come November 2016, the United States of America chose Donald Trump to lead their country, bringing into power his extremist views on immigration, human rights, and climate change. It marked a new period in American history but also in World history: the once ultimate representation of liberalism and globalism had turned on its head and instead opted for a nationalist and protectionist position. Nations and heads of state worldwide have long not only relied, but mostly trusted American leadership to guide the modern world down a progressive road. As the new administration signed travel bans into law, voted healthcare acts out of law and took the exceptional position of not ratifying the Paris Agreement, it isolated itself more and more from economic and political allies.

The rise of European influence   Across the Atlantic, the European


Union was going through a difficult period as well, seemingly on the way to disintegration. The United Kingdom had voted to leave the Union and the upcoming Austrian, Dutch and French elections worried political analysts and civil society alike. By late 2016, it seemed fated that far-right movements were rising and ultimately winning over traditional Western nations. Yet, one by one, the elections proved to not only opt against nationalism, but for pro-European candidates. Austrians voted in Alexander Van der Bellen, a selfproclaimed “open-minded, liberalminded and above all a pro-European president” (Oltermann, 2016), and the Netherlands rejected the populist message Geert Wilders was preaching in keeping Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party as the biggest in parliament. Perhaps most significantly, France, a country ravaged by repetitive terrorist attacks in the last two years, overwhelmingly voted for Emmanuel Macron’s ce n t r i st , p ro - E u ro p e a n m ove ment. En Marche took 66% of the votes in the May 2017 presidential election, which Merkel dubbed ‘’a victory for a strong united Europe and for the Franco-German friendship’’ (Kirby and Manesfield, 2017), therein rescuing the European proj-

EYES ON EUROPE ect from a different fate. This win was made even more decisive the following month with Macron’s party winning the majority in the parliamentary elections of June 2017. At the same time that Macron walked to his victory speech to the sound of the European Union’s anthem ‘’Ode to Joy’’, the United Kingdom was still battling the aftershocks of the political earthquake that was Brexit – from David Cameron’s resignation to Theresa May’s calling of snap elections and Britain’s will to retain rights comparable to those of a Member-state, the surprise decision to leave the Union has turned into what has been dubbed ‘’a long, costly and messy divorce’’(Karnitschnig and Hirst, 2017). Recently EU negotiation Michel Barnier alerted that ‘’I’ve heard some people in the UK argue that one can leave the Single Market and keep all of its benefits. That is not possible. (…) The decision to leave the EU has consequences and we have to explain to citizens, businesses and civil society on both sides of the Channel what these consequences mean for them” (Gutteridge, 2017). Also worth mentioning is that, when rivers of ink were written about the inevitable collapse of the EU at the hands of Brexit, little was said about how the UK always held a special status among the Member-States, opting out of the single currency and the Schengen Area, for example. This means their decision to leave, albeit a blow to the system, would never deliver such shockwaves as those from a founding Member-State, a Eurozone member or a Schengen partner.

A new international   political order All of the above political cleavages have translated into new alliances and rethought deals. After the Trump administration pulled out of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, Japan and the EU moved forward with their own bilateral free trade agreement. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared it ‘’the birth of the world’s largest, free, industrialized economic zone’’ (Financial Times, 2017). The G20 Hamburg summit also materialized such shift in influence and international relations: the final joint statement read that ‘’We take note of the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. (…)The Leaders of the other G20 members state that the

Paris Agreement is irreversible. We reaffirm our strong commitment to the Paris Agreement’’ (G20 Summit, 2017). Similarly, as the UK moves forward in its path to leave the Union, the Franco-German axis has been revamped along with Macron’s new centrist charge. Indeed, if you turn inward and choose a nationalist and protectionist stance, the world will continue without you. The improbable political clutters the United States and the United Kingdom find themselves into worked as a catalyst of the European Union to have faith in itself once more. Such sentiment of renewed belief in the European Union was also visible at the passing of EU giants Helmut Kohl and Simone Veil. Respectively the first Chancellor of a reunified Germany and the first President of the elected EU Parliament, their deaths gathered the European civil society at large in praising their efforts for a stronger Union, one of inclusivity and openness. In fact Kohl was the first beneficiary of a European Ceremony of Honor at the EU Parliament, being put to rest under the EU flag instead of his native German. Once more, Angela Merkel said it best, in giving the following statement just some weeks ago: “For many people, including myself, something changed when we saw the Britons want to leave, when we were worried about the outcome of the elections in France and the Netherlands. (…) But we have realized in the past few months that Europe is more than just bureaucracy and economic regulation, that Europe and living together in the European Union have something to do with war and peace, (…) You don’t have all this in many parts of the world. And that’s why it is worth fighting for this Europe”(Bolongaro, 2017). After Macron’s victory, The Washington Post stated that ‘’the popular doom-and-gloom narrative about the European Union has proved to be overblown’’ (Cross, 2017). Several months in, I argue that the tragic omen given to the EU was not only misguided, but has been successfully turned around into positive momentum. Concerns have instead shifted to the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively its (former) main ally and (on-the-way-out) member-state. With an incomparable track record in social and economic rights, an area of borderless travel and free cir-


culation, and larger political troubles seemingly surpassed, the European Union’s values of globalism and integration position it as the new leader of the free world. The overblown panic has developed into a pronounced sentiment of hope that the European Union is not only alive and kicking, but the new beacon of the West. •

Bárbara Matias currently studying her Master’s degree in Human Rights at Columbia University in the United States

Mini-mag autumn 2017

Faut-il davantage réguler le détachement des travailleurs ? La révision de la directive de 1996 sur le détachement de travailleurs est un point de discorde dans l’Union européenne. Alors que l’Europe de l’Ouest critique à profusion cette directive, l’Europe de l’Est souhaite son maintien afin d’assurer la libre circulation des travailleurs. Néanmoins, l’Union européenne a une fois encore démontré sa résilience en concluant un accord sur ce dossier lors de la réunion du Conseil du 23 octobre 2017.

La genèse d’un problème européen

Divisions sur la révision   de 2016 En 2016, une révision de la directive de 1996 est proposée par la Commission européenne dans le but de modifier la directive existante sur trois points : la rémunération des travailleurs détachés, la durée

250 000 200 000 150 000 100 000



nombre de travailleurs détachés (France) par an

02 20 03 20 04 20 05 20 06 20 07 20 08 20 09 20 10 20 11 20 12 20 13 20 14 20 15

50 000


La directive est critiquée sur trois fronts. Premièrement, elle ouvre

règles en vigueur. Enfin, elle donne lieu à la création d’entreprises “boîtes aux lettres” afin de profiter des cotisations sociales plus avantageuses de certains États membres.

300 000


Cependant, ces dernières années, cette directive est devenue hautement politisée avec l’explosion du nombre de travailleurs détachés en Europe de l’Ouest. Ainsi, par exemple, alors que la France comptait moins de 50 000 travailleurs détachés entre 2000 et 2005, leur nombre avait grimpé à près de 300 000 en 2015.

la porte au dumping social étant donné qu’un travailleur détaché n’est soumis que dans certains cas à la législation de leur pays d’accueil, par exemple, en ce qui concerne la durée maximum de travail, la période minimum de repos, le salaire minimum, et les règles de sécurité. Ainsi, si une entreprise française paye ses salariés le SMIG. Le coût de la main-d’œuvre sera quand même tiré vers le bas, tant l’écart entre le niveau de cotisation en France (45%) et en Roumanie, par exemple, est grand (13%). Deuxièmement, elle entretient des fraudes comme la non-déclaration de certains travailleurs et le contournement des


L’enjeux des travailleurs détachés remonte au traité de Maastricht, et à la directive de 1996 qui s’en en est suivit. En 1992, avec la ratification du traité de Maastricht, quatres libertés fondamentales intègrent l’acquis communautaire: la libre circulation des personnes, des services, des capitaux et des marchandises. Dans cette foulée, une nouvelle directive voit le jour en 1996 afin d’opérationnaliser la libre circulation des services: la directive sur le détachement de travailleurs. Depuis lors, cette directive dresse le cadre législatif dans lequel une entreprise peut détacher ses travailleurs, pour une période limitée, sur le territoire d’un État membre autre que l’État sur le territoire duquel ils travaillent habituellement (Parlement européen et Conseil 1996).


EYES ON EUROPE du détachement (limitation à 24 mois) et les règles entourant le travail détaché des intermédiaires. Le leitmotiv de cette réforme est “à travail égal, rémunération égale” (Commission européenne 2016). Cette révision a créé de nombreuses tensions entre les pays de l’Est et de l’Ouest. Certains ont même émis l’hypothèse qu’elle pourrait causer une rupture nette entre l’Est et l’Ouest de l’Europe. La volonté d’une réforme émise par les pays de l’Ouest provient du fait que ce sont eux les principaux receveurs de travailleurs détachés. Ces derniers voient d’un mauvais œil la concurrence déloyale que subissent leurs travailleurs locaux. En contrepartie, les pays de l’Est (Pologne, Hongrie, Croatie, etc…), pays qui détachent le plus s’en Europe, ont vu cette réforme comme une entrave à la liberté de circulation européenne. Rejoints par le Danemark, ils brandirent en 2016 un “carton jaune” à la Commission européenne qui permet à 1/3 des pays membres d’invoquer une atteinte au principe de subsidiarité, bloquant la réforme jusqu’en juillet. En juin 2017, après son élection, Emmanuel Macron officialise sa position sur la réforme de la directive de 1996. Il décide de ne pas adhérer au projet émis en 2016 par la Commission car cette dernière est jugée, selon lui, encore trop laxiste. Il veut un renforcement net de la directive de 1996 afin de lutter contre le dumping social et les zones grises qui permettent à certains de profiter des failles. Août 2017, il fait escale en Autriche, Roumanie et Bulgarie afin de les rallier à son projet “salaire égal pour un travail égal”. La Pologne et la Hongrie ne font pas partie de son itinéraire étant donné

qu’ils ont clairement déclaré ne pas être en faveur d’un durcissement de la directive de 1996. Pour eux, la volonté d’Emmanuel Macron pourrait détériorer la libre circulation des travailleurs au sein de l’Union européenne et les intérêts de tous les pays européens. Emmanuel Macron préfère donc s’attarder sur d’autres pays qui sont encore susceptibles de changer d’avis et de se rallier à sa cause. À la suite de ces trois jours, L’Autriche et la Bulgarie marquent leur soutien à Emmanuel Macron tandis que la République tchèque et Slovaquie sont pour une renégociation sans complètement adhérer à la volonté de fond macronienne.

Le conseil : une machine  à compromis En septembre, L’Estonie, qui détient la présidence du conseil européen, propose un compromis aux ministres européens de l’Emploi et des Affaires sociales. Ce compromis ne tient cependant pas en compte les propositions et la volonté d’Emmanuel Macron par rapport à un durcissement de la législation sur les travailleurs détachés. La proposition estonienne est moins protectrice, et reflète les préférences des pays d’Europe de l’Est. Contre toute attente, le 23 Octobre, les 28 ministres de l’Emploi et des affaires sociales des États membres arrivent à un compromis sur le texte estonien. Bien que la France voyait d’un très mauvais œil le texte mis en avant par l’Estonie, elle en ressort vainqueur avec la diminution de la période de détachement qui se limite à 12 mois (et 6 mois de prolongement après demande mo-

Crédits Hélène Decottigny Présidente

Marin Capelle Co-Rédacteur en chef

Matteo Guidi Vice-président

Simon Lavenne Graphiste et illustrateur

Blandine Malvaut Secrétaire Générale

Luisa Sigl Responsable de l’équipe relations publiques

Noel Daniel Vig Co-Rédacteur en chef

tivée par l’entreprise d’accueil) et non plus à 24 mois. Bien sûr, lors du vote, la Pologne, Hongrie, Lettonie et Lituanie ont une fois de plus montré leur désaccord par un vote négatif. En revanche, la Slovaquie, la République tchèque, la Bulgarie et la Roumanie ont voté en faveur du texte. Un sujet n’a cependant pas pu trouver de réponses et est resté sans arrangement : celui des ouvriers routiers. Ces ouvriers resteront soumis à la directive 1996 jusqu’à la mise en vigueur d’une directive spécifique touchant aux transporteurs routiers. L’application du texte final de la nouvelle directive mis sur table en octobre 2017 devra par contre attendre 2020 pour voir son application dans toute l’Europe. Et avant cela, le texte devra passer par un consensus politique entre le parlement et le Conseil européen d’ici la fin de l’été 2018.

Conclusion   Le sujet des travailleurs détachés est un dossier sensible. On aurait pu croire que ce dernier allait fragmenter en deux l’Europe. Nombreux le pensaient. Mais le vote d’octobre a clairement montré une Europe forte, soudée et ouverte aux compromis s’il le fallait. Le dernier chapitre de la saga sur les travailleurs détachés portera sur les routiers. La France devra faire face à l’Espagne et le Portugal. Ces derniers qui sont farouchement opposés à tout changement législatif concernant le sujet, changeront-ils de camp ? Affaire à suivre. •

Équipe relations publiques: Roxane Mégard Community Manager Zita Massing Community Manager Laura Rodriguez Stagiaire Jules Hüni Inês Quiaios Nadège González-Seguel


Ornella Herman et Jean-Stanislas Bareth sont étudiants en 3ème année de science politique à l’ULB

Équipe rédaction: Jean-Stanislas Bareth Ornella Herman Charlène Dupé Alexia Fafara Elodie Thevenin Robin Vanholme Marina Tsikintikou Thibault Koten Natalia Claasen Venelin Bochev Juliette Le Maguer

Mini-mag autumn 2017

Our autumn activities in a nutshell:   Can we relaunch the   European project without reforming the EU? It is a pleasure to announce the great success of our last conference “ Peut-on relancer le projet européen sans réformer l’Europe?” which took place on the 11th of October and was co-organized with Stand Up for Europe, Students for Europe and the Institute of European Studies (IEE). It was an honour to listen to the point of views of the Member of the European Parliament and co-chair of the Greens, and Philippe Lamberts and the French famous journalist on European Affairs Jean Quatremer.

The “Sing Europe” Concert   at Flagey On Wednesday, the 18th of October 2017, took place a free concert of European music: “Sing Europe” with Olla Vogala at Flagey. A drink before the concert invited to have an open citizens’ debate. The event was organised by the ‘European Citizen Platform’ (ECP) with the aim of bringing people together for a more united Europe based on a shared culture and future.

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Mini-mag autumn 2017