The European Union may not survive 15 years. Guy Hands, the prominent financier and founder of Terra Firma Capital Partners, believes that weak leadership, political extremism, populism and immigration will lead to the collapse of the EU.

“And I’m pretty sure if it doesn’t exist we’ll have wars in Europe. Whether they’re internal wars or wars between countries I don’t know, but as sure as night follows day, we’ll have wars. And that really scares me”, said the private equity investor at a conference in London on Tuesday.

In his breathtaking and painful account of the events that led to World War I, Christopher Clark, a Professor at Cambridge, demonstrates how, at the turn of the 20th Century, Europe sleepwalked into war. History is not bound to happen. The course of events that led to war was not unavoidable. Yet, at every turn, European leaders – absentmindedly – took decisions that led the continent closer to conflict.

On the 18th of September, Martin Schulz was supposed to deliver a speech on digitalization and the economy at a conference in Berlin, hosted by Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.

Instead of focusing on his core topic however, his highly emotional and anguished words resonated the same fears and threats. The European Union, he said,  is close to disintegration. “Never in my life”, he added,  “would I have thought it possible to witness the revival of national egoisms and tensions that we thought buried with the end of the war”.

Inadequate leadership has brought us to the brink and it only remains to be seen; is Europe to stroll, dormant and forgetful, into the horrendous chaos of war again?

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