Europe has by no means recovered from its crisis. The new wave of migrants from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East has worsened the economic forecast. The economies of the Eurozone, with a collective growth rate of under 1.5 percent in 2015, are almost stagnant. Gone are the days of the German economic miracle. Nowadays, nearly 4.5 million young persons under 25 are unemployed in the EU-28 — a staggering figure, to which Chancellor Merkel just added an extra million refugees. Particularly in the Mediterranean countries, youth unemployment is at very high levels: 47.9 percent in Greece, 47.7 percent in Spain and 39.8 percent in Italy.
Confronted with this bleak picture, politicians, journalists, religious leaders, and public intellectuals all search for an explanation. Why is the European dream failing so many young people? How long will the economic recovery last? Will the EU be able to cope with another massive crash of the financial international system?
Ayoub El-Khazzani, aged 25, failed to reach the trigger of his Kalashnikov aboard a train passing through Belgium en route to Paris last month, which enabled three Americans and a Briton to stop the radical Islamist from killing any of the train’s nearly 500 passengers. When the four were awarded the Legion d’Honneur in Paris, it had been nine months since the gruesome Charlie Hebdo killings in that city.
The Americans remember 9/11; we remember Madrid (2004), London (2005), Paris (2015), and many other outrages, and we were relieved not to have to add the high-speed Thalys train to the list. Innocents have met a violent death at the hands of a few fanatics, thousands have been maimed. Europeans have been feeling under siege even before the new waves of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and Eritrea began reaching us; the possibility of ISIS fighters being smuggled in among them has added to the sense of crisis.