Europe’s Identity Crisis
Europe is in the midst of an identity crisis — one that is coming to a head thanks to a rising fear of the “other,” namely Muslim immigrants and a flood of Syrian refugees.
For most countries in Europe, the tendency to “other” results from a fear of being overwhelmed by Islam both demographically and culturally. Most of these countries are in demographic decline and fear that Muslims will engulf their current residents and corrode Western values.
This fear reflects larger concerns about the decline of Europe and a loss of European self-assurance — a feeling that stands in contrast to the civilizational self-confidence and arrogance of Europe during the Imperial Age. The standard of living in Europe has declined, with the European Commission forecasting that by 2023, Europe’s standard of living will be only 60 percent of the United States’. At the same time, the continent is also grappling with the Greek financial crisis and a long-term challenge from Vladimir Putin’s Russia.