The impossibility of securitization: European elites today
The current situation in Europe reveals a very important peculiarity of contemporary European politics as such. There are few doubts left that decline in major economic and social parameters in the coming months and maybe years will be of the scale that is normally supposed to trigger a government downfall, to say the least. The unexpectedly high support for the no-confidence vote on UK Prime Minister Johnson from his own Conservative Party has been just one of the many telling signs. Even if Western European countries fully shed any political responsibility in the Ukraine crisis and do as much as it is politically tenable to pacify Russia, they can hardly avert the upcoming crisis: the changes in global politics and economy since 2020 have been too profound for them to simply return to “business as usual”.
However, European politicians, at least in the mainstream, spectacularly shy away from openly admitting these prospects and recognizing that economic performance right now cannot be assessed by the standards of the "normal" times, because withdrawing "normal-time" responsibilities will require them to take over emergency ones. Though French President Macron and some European leaders have already claimed that this war will most possibly be long and will have a strong negative effect on the European economy, no one as of yet has frankly explained to Europeans what kind of problems they must be ready to face; there is very little debate on the emergency plans to be prepared for the possible consequences, either. And here we come to the point- European statesmen whose vision is fixed in the de-politicized, technocratic EU paradigm, are not capable of proper and consistent "securitization"- the process under which Thierry Balzacq understood changing the status of a certain political issue from a general one (resolved through electoral politics and routine policy-making) to the security one, which presupposes insulating it from public pressure and treating as a strategy-shaping problem. Having preached technocracy and consensus decision-making for a long time, the EU elites - and most national elites in Europe- seem to have lost the vision of politics as an arena of constant conflicts and emergencies. Even faced with the possibility of losing power, they cannot dare to move from the soothing vision of reality the technocratic paradigm offers.