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Topics: Change Management, Leadership, Risk Management
Will European Union resist and remain unified after this succession of events, should we beware the risk for EU unity?
1 - Brexit : The UK has left the EU. (Fact)
2 - Corona virus Nightmare Could Be the End for Europe’s Border-less Dream? (Question)
3 - The lack of understanding and solidarity in the case of the pandemic among European countries may be the cause for the collapse of the European project? (Question)

According to the survey, commissioned by the European Council on Foreign Relations:
More than half of Europeans believe the EU is likely to collapse within a generation, despite support for the bloc hitting heights not recorded in more than a quarter of a century.
In France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Slovakia, Romania, Greece, the Czech Republic and Poland, a majority of people surveyed thought EU disintegration was a “realistic possibility” in the next 10 to 20 years.

These are excellent questions that hardly anyone will be able to answer, but it is advisable to have contingency plans for these risks, I doubt that most governments are prepared for this and will maintain an artificial cohesion if the fall apart happens at least as long as it is bearable.

Can these events hasten the break-up of the European Union?
What do you think as project managers used to deal with risk?
Do you believe that the governments are prepared to face this situation?
Are you prepared to the effects this can have in your projects?
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Dear Alexandre
Interesting your question
Thanks for sharing

I recently learned that Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece have a 70% share of Europe's debt.
The question is: "Would you be the guarantor of a person who does nothing to pay his debts"?

I believe that this is the topic that is on the table in Europe

Europe can break up or merge (states lose their sovereignty)
Dear Luis,

thanks for sharing your opinion. I understand your point, but in catastrophic times, is the obligation o the UE to help those who need.
Certainly the virus was not create by these countries, so in this times if there is no solidarity between members when will there be ?
We should remember that UE is not only a economic union, but also political(external), social and military.

Alexandre
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Mar 29, 2020 9:32 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Alexandre
Thank you for sharing your opinion with us

What about the EU countries closing their borders to each other?
Alexandre -

While I was born in Europe, after leaving at a young age I've only ever been a tourist there so I can't comment with any great knowledge on the important questions you raise.

However, I will ask, is this perhaps a case where there has been an expectation gap on what the EU's jurisdiction/mandate/vision was?

I'd draw the analogy to a PMO which was established as a new entity within a well established, functional silo-based organization. Different functional areas have different expectations for the PMO, and in times of crisis, the expectations gaps will increase the potential of frustration with the PMO and conflict with the entity.

Kiron
...
1 reply by Alexandre Costa
Mar 29, 2020 9:46 AM
Alexandre Costa
...
Kiron,

Tank you for sharing your thoughts, i understand completely your analogy, however there are cultural issues also in the equation and this is complicating the situation and the latest deficit-related crisis is still very much present in the memory of several countries in UE consequently is not helping either.

Alexandre
Yes, it is a little bit wobbly now.

The closure of borders is not 100%, goods (and lorries) still cross, key people still cross (we have about 1 million of elderly taken care by foreign nurses, who are replace every 2-3 months), Schengen is not cancelled. But we see lockdowns in cities, regions and, yes, also countries just to reduce the possibility to spread the virus.

The EU just announced to start negotiations for Albania and North Macedonia to join. The EU just gathered 15 other states to safe WTO from US sabotage.

Inter-country support for fighting the virus is increasing, but too slow. Germany took almost 100 Italians and French into its hospitals, Czech republic sent protective suits to Italy. The EU works on financial measures.

The overwhelming global feeling is 'we are in this together' and the worst is yet to come. I think there is a good chance to boost the EU.
...
1 reply by Alexandre Costa
Mar 29, 2020 9:41 AM
Alexandre Costa
...
Thomas,

Thank you for your optimistic opinion, i am not sure about how will this end in Europe. I agree with you that we are in this together, this is affecting all countries.
I have almost sure that the pandemic numbers in some locations of the world are under estimated, there are more infected persons that the official announcements (Africa, India and Brasil i am convinced that they have more cases because they do not have the resources to test the persons).This pandemic came to last.

Alexandre
Mar 29, 2020 7:44 AM
Replying to Alexandre Costa
...
Dear Luis,

thanks for sharing your opinion. I understand your point, but in catastrophic times, is the obligation o the UE to help those who need.
Certainly the virus was not create by these countries, so in this times if there is no solidarity between members when will there be ?
We should remember that UE is not only a economic union, but also political(external), social and military.

Alexandre
Dear Alexandre
Thank you for sharing your opinion with us

What about the EU countries closing their borders to each other?
Mar 29, 2020 9:17 AM
Replying to Thomas Walenta
...
Yes, it is a little bit wobbly now.

The closure of borders is not 100%, goods (and lorries) still cross, key people still cross (we have about 1 million of elderly taken care by foreign nurses, who are replace every 2-3 months), Schengen is not cancelled. But we see lockdowns in cities, regions and, yes, also countries just to reduce the possibility to spread the virus.

The EU just announced to start negotiations for Albania and North Macedonia to join. The EU just gathered 15 other states to safe WTO from US sabotage.

Inter-country support for fighting the virus is increasing, but too slow. Germany took almost 100 Italians and French into its hospitals, Czech republic sent protective suits to Italy. The EU works on financial measures.

The overwhelming global feeling is 'we are in this together' and the worst is yet to come. I think there is a good chance to boost the EU.
Thomas,

Thank you for your optimistic opinion, i am not sure about how will this end in Europe. I agree with you that we are in this together, this is affecting all countries.
I have almost sure that the pandemic numbers in some locations of the world are under estimated, there are more infected persons that the official announcements (Africa, India and Brasil i am convinced that they have more cases because they do not have the resources to test the persons).This pandemic came to last.

Alexandre
Mar 29, 2020 9:10 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Alexandre -

While I was born in Europe, after leaving at a young age I've only ever been a tourist there so I can't comment with any great knowledge on the important questions you raise.

However, I will ask, is this perhaps a case where there has been an expectation gap on what the EU's jurisdiction/mandate/vision was?

I'd draw the analogy to a PMO which was established as a new entity within a well established, functional silo-based organization. Different functional areas have different expectations for the PMO, and in times of crisis, the expectations gaps will increase the potential of frustration with the PMO and conflict with the entity.

Kiron
Kiron,

Tank you for sharing your thoughts, i understand completely your analogy, however there are cultural issues also in the equation and this is complicating the situation and the latest deficit-related crisis is still very much present in the memory of several countries in UE consequently is not helping either.

Alexandre
I found it that many good project managers believe that what has happened - it does not need to be investigated and determined if it needs to be fixed. Let's not find the culprit and fix it for the future, "oh, this company is too big too fail" or "why are you prodding the dragon, it will chop your head off". Everyone says "it's a sunk cost" or "it happened, why touching sensitive subjects" - on which I say that if you do not really take ownership for your firm, of the problems that you encounter and don't want to see or fix, then how can you take ownership for your project/product/team?

Apply the same principles to your country, whether you live in Germany, EU, US, or "Global-WTO world".
The best analogy is a parent-child analogy, wouldn't you take away your breathelizer and give it to save your child. If we are truly in this together, then let's send ALL our supplies where it is most needed, like China, Italy and now NY, USA.
It seems like people have been predicting the collapse of the EU for as long as I can remember.

It may yet happen, perhaps even within our lifetime, but I think it would take another driving factor which we haven't yet seen. There are simply too many economic benefits to the union, even if it's in need of reform. Besides, the current generation of Europeans have grown up in the system and see it as the norm.
...
1 reply by Alexandre Costa
Mar 30, 2020 12:37 PM
Alexandre Costa
...
Hi Wade,

It's interesting that you think that "the current generation of Europeans have grown up in the system and see it as the norm." . When one of the problems of the EU is the growth of nationalist parties that are in favour of EU break down, and that parties are mostly supported by young people.

Alexandre
Without diving too much into politics, we are now witnessing something similar to what occurred in 2008 during the financial crisis. Back then, the wealthy EU countries, led by Germany, rejected the idea of creating eurobonds which were intended to share the "pain" amongst the member states, benefiting more the less wealthy countries (the badly named pigs). The rejection to take this measure caused several pigs go bankrupt and having to be bailed out- at an interest - by ECB and IMF amongst others.

The situation is now somehow similar. And my question is: if the EU is not united in times of crises, then when?

In project management an example of this practice could be a PM that takes all the medals when the projects is performing well but throws team members under the bus when things start to fall apart.
...
1 reply by Alexandre Costa
Mar 30, 2020 12:40 PM
Alexandre Costa
...
Eduard,

Thanks for sharing your opinion. I think that's the main problem it's not a union it's a set of countries.

Alexandre
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