“This will be a critical year for Europe. Elections in the pillars of the European Union — France and Germany — as well as potential elections in the third largest eurozone economy — Italy — will affect one another and threaten the very existence of the eurozone. As we have been writing for years, the European Union will eventually dissolve. The question for 2017 is to what degree these elections expedite its dissolution. Whether moderates or extremists claim victory in 2017, Europe will still be hurtling toward a breakup into regional blocs.”
“European divisions will present a golden opportunity for the Russians. Russia will be able to crack European unity on sanctions in 2017 and will have more room to consolidate influence in its borderlands. The Trump administration may also be more amenable to easing sanctions and to some cooperation in Syria as it tries to de-escalate the conflict with Moscow.”
“Come next spring, the number of people crossing over the Mediterranean will reach record levels,” said Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of Malta, the current Presidency of the Council of the EU. “The choice is trying to do something now, or meeting urgently in April, May… and try to do a deal then.”
“Muscat’s ominous warning echoed that of former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who said last October that Italy could not survive another year of mass immigration like 2016.” “Either we block the influx by 2017 or Italy will not handle another year like the past year,” Renzi announced on national television. “Right now we can manage it: winter is coming and sea conditions will worsen, but we have six months maximum,” Renzi said, insisting that urgent measures need to be taken to stop the migrants leaving their countries of origin.”
“More than 180,000 migrants succeeded in crossing the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa into Italy in 2016, while another 5,079 died or went missing during the journey.”
“The total number of migrants that reached Europe in 2016 ran to 363,348, with Italy receiving the largest share, followed closely by Greece.”
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