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6 May, 2016 11:32

United Europe ‘an illusion’: Top 3 EU politicians paint grim picture of bloc’s future

Three of the EU’s most senior politicians have painted a grim picture of the bloc saying the idea of a united European Union is “an illusion,” while it was also described as being a “fertile ground for populists.”

European Union President Donald Tusk, the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament were all scathing of government leaders across the EU, due to their inability to compromise and their preferences to look out of for personal interest.  

"In former times we were working together... we were in charge of a big piece of history. This has totally gone," AP reported Juncker, ex-PM of Luxembourg, as saying. He added that he believed that people living in the EU do not understand what the bloc is trying to do. 

The EU has been rocked by splits in how to deal with the large amounts of refugees looking to enter the continent. While some countries such as Germany and Sweden have welcomed migrants with open arms, others like Poland and Hungary have refused to accept refugees. 

This led Juncker to accuse certain EU countries, without naming any names, of being “part-time” members of the bloc.  

"We have full-time Europeans when it comes to taking and part-time Europeans when it comes to giving," he said, according to Reuters, adding that those countries were often the ones that received the largest handouts from the EU. 

The European Commission says it will look at fining countries that refuse to implement a quota plan for the distribution of refugees, which Brussels says will help to ease the pressure faced by frontline nations. 

The idea of imposing a fine of €250,000 ($289,659) per refugee received a furious reaction from Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto calling it “blackmail.”

Tusk, formerly prime minister of Poland, said it is vital that the threat posed by radicals looking to exploit the discontent of large scale migration into Europe is an urgent goal for Brussels to solve, while he added that it is imperative that countries re-establish “effective control of our external borders,” in order to "stop the radicals in their march for power." 

Despite his hopes, Tusk was downbeat in his hopes for continuity and unity in the EU. 

"Today we have to admit that this dream of one European state with one common interest, with one vision... one European nation, this was an illusion," Tusk said, according to AP. He also mentioned that the bloc is facing a "really risky and tricky" moment.

Schulz condemned the leaders of the various nations within the EU for a lack of leadership. 

"We have a lot of salesmen in the European Council and only a few statesmen," he said. 

The United Kingdom, the second-biggest economy behind Germany in the EU, is to hold a referendum on June 23 about whether to remain in the bloc.