"Now is the winter of our discontent. Made glorious summer by this son of York,"
This comes from among the opening lines of William Shakespeare's play, Richard III. Unfortunately for the European Union the winter of discontent brings no obvious son of York. Put another way, no one is coming to save the E.U.'s day as it faces an increasing whirlwind of political crises.
Earlier this week we had the Italian government's overt insubordination against the E.U.'s budget rules. But on Friday, the E.U. sparked another showdown when its court of justice ordered Poland's conservative government to "immediately suspend" its reforms of the Polish Supreme Court. Warsaw is currently locked in a heated political fight with the Polish chief justice over its efforts to reduce the court's mandatory retirement age and, in the view of the chief justice, pack the court with sympathizers.
It's unlikely that the Polish government will give in here. That's partly because the government views its judicial reforms as a necessity. And its recalcitrance also takes root in the broader perception of many European governments that the E.U. is in no position to enforce its will.
Fixated on Brexit and avoiding new Brexit events from other E.U. nations, the E.U. just doesn't have the political volume to put out nationalist fires. Making matters worse, the two E.U. powerhouses France and Germany are divided on how to reform the E.U.
For the E.U., I suspect things are only going to get worse. Even the normally pleasant Swedish are now agitating against Brussels' authority. Albeit in different ways, the Netherlands and Hungary are doing the same.
Yet the E.U's central problem here is not the rise of nationalist skeptics in European parliaments, but its own delusion. Unable to recognize that they have claimed too much power without offering reciprocal accountability, the E.U. elites are pushing forward with arrogant centralization-of-power efforts that only foster greater public anger.
As I say, winter is coming. And for E.U. commission president Jean Claude-Juncker and company, it doesn't mean a ski holiday!