Posted 117 days ago
Frankly, this does seem like it has been years in the making (since 2014 as the author's allude to). They are quite right that the "championing of human rights by Brussels has always rung hollow when it came to criticizing China," but I would go so far as saying most things Brussels has said have "rung hollow." Hungary and Poland are great examples, but also the austerity policies after the global financial crash in 2008 against Greece, Portugal, and Spain have hollowed out much trust in Europe as some sort of morale ruler of the world.
The rise of right wing parties throughout the union, with anti-immigration rhetoric and worse, signifies that Europe is moving away from some sort of imagined utopia envisioned after the world wars, and more towards an odd assortment of countries looking to advance themselves economically while pursuing vastly different politics. It's not odd that compromises like this appear, and the EU just wants a hand in the mix to build it's economy as politics seem to be falling apart.
As the authors say, they are pursuing the "primacy of economics," and I think that's the only real benefit of the EU these days.